Peter A Goldsbury
Well, for a start, there was a context to the first quote (which you shortened anyway), which you did not include.
The entire sentence goes:
"In terms of training I see aikido as a much more general 'waza-related' art. I would include in waza everything being done by Akuzawa Sensei, Ushiro Kenji Sensei, Dan Harden and Mike Sigman, insofar as it directly relates to aikido. It is no longer 'sensei' related, at least for me."
The context was a discussion with George Ledyard on what I called 'orthodox Aikikai ideology', especially orthodox Aikikai ideology that finds its expression in the imitation of some particular Aikikai shihan. So, the training I aim at is 'much more generally "waza-related"', in the sense that it includes more than what is espoused by the orthodox ideology (which is that training consists exclusively in techniques, as shown in the current Aikikai textbooks).
As I stated, I think there is a problem of vocabulary. For example, Kenji Ushiro has a complex progression from kata (型), through to kata (形), involving certain types of waza (技). Again, Ueshiba stated that there were no waza in his art, but gives 166 of them in Budo Renshu. Given that waza has a wider meaning than 'techniques', I would include, for example, the training in body skills that Akuzawa Sensei does.
If you still insist that what you are doing is not waza, that's fine by me. My mistake.
Thank you for explaining that Peter. I see what you meant. I also see our possible differences in usage of terms and goals and it helps me understand your references better.
My point of reference for defining Ueshiba and Takeda who both stated the art was formless all ties in with Larry's translation I mentioned earlier.
Framed in a more simplistic model, I believe they were interested much less in what their own specific intentions to "do" any one thing were- But rather they were watching / witnessing / experiencing what was "happening" when their trained unified bodies met- or interacted with anything or anyone. Thus, all the talk about Takemasu and spontaneous birthplace of aiki, the art being formless and based on defense all make sense within that framework.
Said another way, lets imagine or assume they were openly trying to invent an art. This incredible body skill they had developed was so overwhelming when matched with normal people that when normal people touched them all sorts of control mechanisms came to the fore. People grabbed them, they moved, and weird effects occurred causing people's bodies to get magnetically drawn in, controlled, motivated like magic, tossed, locked thrown, etc..
People started writing down, and trying to copy these effects.
These effects became the goal or model
The model was mimicked
The mimic became the diverse, seldom repeated, "techniques."
Hence the explanation for the dichotomy of Ueshiba looking at his guys and saying "the art" has no techniques and is formless and the guys saying "What do you call all that ....stuff?"
Because their bodies were not developed and trained as well, they-could not cause those effects so they "did" techniques. And he was talking miles over their heads.
Of course everyone gets favorite techniques and learns a repetoire of this or that and they share and build on them. but that's not the main point.
I would look at waza more in line with recorded rules of road. Lets take a body part as an example. When forces act on a shoulder, the shoulder does certain things, Lets call it learning the shoulder or as my teacher said the "wisdom of the shoulder." When someone grabs you, hits you, tries to throw you, and you move, it causes certain effects in the shoulder for anatomical reasons that are known. However, the way they react to you and your newly trained body is not the same as the way they react to some new guy who tries to copy the effect he just witnessed. But for you, you see and notice what your teacher told you about "the straights" all acting that way when you do this or that -is true- that "hey they all do that!" So while you are not really focused on doing something to the guy..it happens in a manner you are used to feeling and seeing- yet that effect is never your own goal. In the fullness of time you get increasingly used to your movements causing this stuff to happen. Yet..when you play with Judoka somehow they throw different, you play with X Y or Z art they act different. You? You're just still moving the way your connected body moves.
Again this increasingly enhanced body becomes the birthplace of all techniques without you thinking much of doing them.
Now, with no training of the mind / body connections- all of those poetic and colorful terms like piercing the heavens, the divine cross of aiki, aiki in yo ho, heaven earth man...have little to no meaning and people then have no clue as to what this all means.
Everything becomes mimic or technique based.
IME What I just said and just described is the logic behind the evolution of Ueshiba and "his" Aikido and the reason many didn't understand what they were seeing and feeling.
Today, the whole mindset of this type of training is opposite of most peoples experience, they don't have the body for it so they cannot "find" it. Hence technique based.training under one teacher or another.