honestly, recently i haven't been inspired at all, i've pretty much given up on aikido being any sort of practical self defence. It works in theory but to actually use it in real life its pretty much pointless. After i became a 1st kyu in Nov. i really started to think about exactly what was going on with the techniques we do and how we do them, and i really see a massive problem with it.
Ok heres the deal with Aikido as i see it these days:
I've been doing Yoshinkan Aikido for the last 4.5 years now. Aikido in general, as an art, can be devastating, the problem is it is nearly impossible to pull off in a real fight against someone who knows another martial art or in general really. Unless you are a GOD with your timing, the odds of you catching someone are very slim. There are like a handful of people in the history of Aikido who were ever that good. It also depends on the style of Aikido as well, i've trained some Aikikai and I actually had some guy try to "ki" me to the ground with 2 fingers....it was the most pathetic thing i have ever seen and some people DO give Aikido a bad name.
It is definitely largely theoretical tho because most of the stuff you do on a regular basis is based on very specific forms of attacks with no real variation on how that attack is delivered. 99% of people practicing Aikido have no idea how to throw a punch nor what to do against someone who is actually good at something else. What happens when the Muay Thai kickboxer throws a hard leg kick to your lead leg in basic stance, grabs you behind the head in the clinch or even throws a jab out and snaps it back instead of following through like we are "supposed" to do in aikido? or the grappler who shoots in at your legs and you end up on the ground? as aikidoka we are screwed. Why? because we are never exposed to these situations.
Reason being is that no one trains the way Aikido is supposed to be practiced i.e. with someone fully committing to an attack. Back in the day they could, because there was the whole "uchi deshi" idea where basically all you do is Aikido all day every day and so you got the timing and skill required to do things properly.
That being said no one WANTS to throw a real punch at someone who knows what they are doing because the harder you throw the harder you *get* thrown, so most people just take the easy way out. Its a big problem with Aikido and it is one that anyone who practices the art these days and isnt completely blind should admit to. Problem is everyone has to get up and go to work the next day and no one wants to get injured.
Its great as an activity, but to sit here and debate aikido as a meaningful martial art technique wise, i think, is a joke. All the principles are there and work, but the application is not. Although Ueshiba sensei's idea of "no competition" sounds nice, in reality it is a MASSIVE blow to the effectiveness of the art since it takes the sense of urgency out of what you are doing. And even if someone is to commit to an attack, who the hell is going to run at you head down and grab your wrist in real life, then follow you around in a nice circle to complete the nice tenkan (ni) technique? Or even better, is going to come up to you, grab your wrist and then stand there waiting for you to do an irimi (ichi) technique???
Sorry this was along post, but yes, not very inspired these days.