George S. Ledyard
It's a simple fact that the folks who have the most to say on this subject are not Aikido folks, although Mike has an Aikido background. This is one of the problems, I think. It is folks from outside our art who have the most to say on the issue. While the subject is definitely pertinent, it is much cleaner to have the discussions in which the primary source of information is from outside the art take place under this heading. That way we can skip all of the "what are your credentials in Aikido that you are telling us what we should and should not be doing?" nonsense.
The whole point of these discussions is that Aikido as an art has largely lost the exercises which develop the kind of internal power the Founder and many of the old time deshi had. Putting the discussions here lets the Aikido folks who want to know a place to share the ideas and those who don't want to know can be happy talking the art in other ways. It just leaves people less upset this way.
I am glad the seminar went well... wish I could have gone but I was teaching elsewhere the same weekend. To much I want to do and too little time to do it...
FWIW, I agree with all of the above completely. However it does leave one area out. The folks in aikido who have made special effort to have internal strength placed squarely at the heart of the aikido that they do. Can't think of anything more irritating than being told you've lost something you haven't
Of course what then happens is that the guys from outside come along and say you're not doing this, I reply, actually yes I am and it gets assumed that I can't possibly be talking sense as, after all "aikido has lost this". Lots of arguments as a result.... so I'd be careful abut blanket statements such as aikido has declined and lost internal strength. Makes me want to re-hash the old phrase 'aikido works, yours doesn't but aikido does'.... Aikido has internal strength, yours doesn't, aikido does.
In any case, there are a few things Mike S has said lately that are really interesting so if you get a chance to go see him I imagine it'd be really worthwhile.
Just my 2pence