You bring up some things that remind me of my dojo.
About a year ago a couple of Aikido practitioners - (2nd kyu) - left.
They started their own thing doing Russian knives what not.
Now I cant speak for them as to why they left - well I talked to one and can - they felt that Aikido took them as far as it could go and was somewhat outdated for todays world. (in technique.)
I believe this along with Sensei hearing about people talking about mixed martial arts, etc. inspired him to try and show how aikido could work practically in some of todays situations...whether it be kicks, etc.
Truth being, Aikido is something that takes some getting used to in order to effectively do this. Im not saying it cant be done in a shorter time period like in kick boxing training...but as many people mention, the 'live aspect' is what helps. But in the same token, with Aikido you can do some damage if uke is not up to par (that be me...hehe), etc.
So it really boils down to the persons temperament if they have the patience and willingness to try to round out their skills this way. (not that Aikido is the only way to go about doing this.)
But you point out something valid.
You have to be true to yourself and your goals...if its not authentic you will, as a teacher, loose both sides of the class.
On the other hand, if you are open enough as a teacher, it could be that you can add an extra class per week for advanced students.
Now that wont address the fact that these are beginners wanting to feel like they can kick some butt...it should be more of a motivation that there is more and to stick it out. After all in the beginning stage they are asking to get hurt with this...cover the basics, as you said, until you got it.
Thats something Im still ironing out after a year in Aikido and would like to more finalize it so that I can go on with some of the ideas I have for Aikido and mixing it with something like Thai boxing.
Anyway, the best to you...and as you put it..."a content Aikidoka".
Best to you.
Thanks for your replies dalen7. It's probably a mixture of things, the problem is always that you can't keep everyone happy. There are people who would be more likely to stay if that class was tougher, faster and if we focussed more on 'street application', but that would lose us some gentler members who like that fact they can do a martial art where they're not feeling like they could get hurt at any moment. I have noticed a slight lilt in the direction of 'real application' training recently, so sensei's probably thinking along the lines you mentioned.
Other aikidoka definitely have that idea. At another dojo I visited, after class some of the students got together for a secret don't-tell-sensei "experiment" with more realistic attacks. There was a lot of energetic round house kicks to the face, knees to the groin etc. Was great fun to see! (and no one got hurt!)
I've had a think and am less bothered about it now, I'll just chill out, keep training and eventually we'll all creep up the grades. The ones who stay, stay and the ones who don't, well, don't! When I think of it in terms of doing aikido for 20+ years, that there's not loads of sempai for me to pester right this very minute isn't a big deal.
Besides, there's no such thing as 'too much of the basics'
*A content aikidoka*