Thin slice? No kidding?
By the same token of those who wonder how much Aikido I am explosed to, by the same token that O'Sensei would investigate and research other schools of martial arts, so do I.
I am not the horse with blinders who travels the same road everyday, but I am the traveler who has traveled many roads and now retires to his home learning Aikido, seeing the comparisons of other things that are in Aikido or could make learning Aikido even more interesting.
Thin slice, huh? Maybe the fact that I can see the simularities to other MA's and variations from other MA's allows me to look from a mountain top rather than from a rooftop? Then again, once you have been to the mountaintop, the view from the rooftop looks just about as good, and isn't as far to travel, is it?
Let us reflect upon the view of looking at the world from one view, verses looking at the one view from around the world? The first one should be the old mans reflection of later years, while the latter should be the young mans reflection of the early years. Of course, finding how martial arts connect, disconnect or how they compliment one another is up to you to find in your own search.
If you are stuck in one particular school of thought, then indeed I am not a thick slice of your type of life. I see reasons for defense, for movements, for offensive movements in practice, and reasons for distractions or pain before executing techniques. When I see higher dan ranks teaching many of the basic techniques I have found in other types of practice and modifying them to become Aikido techniques, guess what? I tend to speak up.
So, although my slice of life is different from yours, and it incorporates different priorities, I do believe too many of you are blinded by your goal oriented rise in the dan ranks of Aikido to actually take a look at the big wide world.
Sure, we bring many different things into the sphere of harmony of Aikido, but what they were or where they came from are just as important as changing them into a safer practice or widening the pillars of Aikido.
Why do you think O'Sensei changed the direction of practice after WWII?
It wasn't just because of the restrictions of the Allied Nations in Japan, but it had to do with the very focus of his countrymen who needed to save the old ways but find the peace within themselves to make a better nation that would not fight and kill in the old ways.
Besides, Aikido was not the single minded practice of one single style, it was a synthesis of more than one style of MA.
So ... how can the continued existence of Aikido be a static single minded purity?
It can not. It must change and grow.
To change and grow, we must introduce new things, try new ways, and test these things with time and trial.
So, excuse me if I become miffed at having to respond for a different slice of Aikido, I am just following my instinct to change and grow.
Enough ranting ... consider how to expand or understand other things we can yet expand Aikido to ...
I look forward to your thoughts.