Originally posted by Edward
I don't know Jim nor his teachers, but having seen his website, I have no doubt that they belong to the hard side of aikido since they are originated in Tomiki style. But again, this is only an impression, and I could be wrong.
In my experience, aikido practitioners that have reached a relatively high level of practice (yondan sometimes but more often higher grades) often have access to the full range of the paradoxical qualities known as "hard" and "soft."
Proper posture and movement along with a high degree of sensitivity for distance, timing, and connection give these senior people the ability to produce technique that is soft and hard at the same time.
Soft touch with energy flowing like water coupled with the correct distance can make the energy felt by the uke to be also soft ... or hard like running full tilt into a rock wall.
Uke can feel like a cloud just surrounded and "seduced" him into falling down gently. Or...the uke may feel like thunder and lightning just exploded inside them and the world they trust tilts away and then they feel like celebrating still being alive as they get up.
None of this needs to rely on pain to cause it to happen. Pain and injuries can and may result over the course of time in anyone's practice. However, as I understand aikido, pain isn't necessary to cause uke to lose control of their center and intent. It can be an option (anywhere along the entire scale of lethal force) depending on the need in a practical defensive situation.
You don't have to hurt uke to control them. Lock their system up so that they instantly understand that if they even think about moving, they'll hurt themselves. As stated above, if necessary you can always go further along the scale of lethal force.
Part of our technical "signature" within Jiyushinkai is trying to give as little information (feedback) to the uke as possible while having total control over the uke's structure through proper engineering, not pain control.
Sorry for the length of this post, but some may find it interesting. Part of our lineage is from Tomiki Sensei's system. There are also large influences from other teachers.