It seems like some folks have decided that since I find joy in seeing someone do freestyle knowing that every single technique they are doing may not be effective if they did not have an aikido uke, that some how we don't teach real Aikido.
So here is my question....is every single technique that every single student does in your dojo guaranteed to be martially effective every time they throw?
Well chacun à son gout as we say in France.
That being said, there is difference with pedagogic tools and martial effectiveness.
The idea being the martial side is to make it as hard as it is humanly possible for your opponent to get away from the technique.
No matter how good and how careful, you are cock ups are going to happens.
Since we are all have to go to work the morning after….
As well I think that the "soft stuff" is usually very good to decompose and made apparent bits of the technique. So there is martial value there, even if only in pure pedagogic form and not practical form.
For example to put ki/good bio-mechanics in evidence, you need to get rid of every thing else so by definition that will not be martial any more.
Is that still aikido, yes it is but the parallels can be drawn to almost anything from medieval fencing to horse riding.
I see aikido more along the line of make it work then make it flow (To paraphrase one Sensei)