Peter A Goldsbury
Was this a misprint, or did you modify your thinking as you were writing (I sometimes do this)?
Exactly, I had something in mind... it came out differently in the end and I didn't go back and adjust my intro. Duh...
I have found the lack of concern about martial effectiveness I have seen creep in to Aikido to be disturbing. I really do not think that "application" is the central issue at all. But I do think that the martial paradigm is important because it is the way you get immediate feedback about your level of understanding. I can't see how one develops the attitude of "shin ken shobu" without putting some attention on the martial aspect. Although I do believe that the point of Aikido is basically trans-formative, it was always said by the Founder to be a Budo. I really think it either loses its power to transform or the transformation is of a quite different nature when you lose the martial aspect.
I have my own thoughts about the way things should be and am busy going my way and putting these ideas to the test. I am 56 this year and I had to tell my students that they are basically my guinea pigs in that if I am wrong about being able to do things better than much of what I have experienced before, they are stuck because I won't have time for a second try. I can't say that this is a very scientific experiment... for one thing there really isn't a good control group. I don't find the same number of people who want to make the commitment that many of us made to our training as we had back in the seventies and eighties. So although I think I am on the right track instructionally, it remains unclear which of my students will be able to go the distance and train enough to really get deep into the art even with my more systematic presentation of the principles I have been working on. These folks have serious jobs, relationships, kids, etc It's a different time... They are way ahead of where I was at the same point in time, it's just unclear who will keep up the pace over the next decade or so. I feel good about the process so far but if I am wrong its a done deal... there's no do-overs on this.