Fluidity or robotics
I took some time to think about the different ways that Aikido is presented in Yoshinkan and in the general USAF exposure I have been training in.
Most of the advanced students or teachers, show a quick fluidity of motion while insisting that the students use the sharp stacato motion of what we use to call robotic motion. This type of motion is also found in military training and drills, sharp crisp, well defined, never varying motions.
On the other hand, most of the USAF teachers group their motions and actions within a set area while asking the students to follow and maximize their efforts with practice within this range of motion.
Both are supposed to lead to fluidity to transitional flow.
Yoshinkan reminds me of many karate schools where the separation of each motion is practiced again and again until it is learned in military precision.
The only problem with that is ... it creates a terible mindset to finish the motion even if it is overcome by a superior force? Or training in military fashion will later make transitional flow more difficult.
There are positive aspects also, as it does help the student, early on, to practice with good habits of balance, movement, and execution of technique, but on the other hand it does make a victim of the student once their balance is taken as they have a hard time recovering either physically or mentally.
I guess the answer is to take a bit of both types depending on how the student progresses or takes in the lessons.
I have seen the student who has been trained in the Yoshinkan style be dynamic and structuraly sound, but when taken into someone's else's circle of power become helpless.
I have seen USAF students who practice for years, but they never understand rooting, or the individual movements of simple stances or footwork?
My studies conclude that although Gozo Shioda taught his students in a military precision fashion, he was of the old school of martial arts that gave him fluidity and transitional flow, not the robotic mechanical action seen by breaking down movements.
I think we should have that option for the clarity of what we are working toward, but not lock training into absolutes. The hard and the soft movements are the transitional flow of change, not just the magic of students who have practiced for many years.
Maybe it is the combination of seeing different styles, differnent martial arts being taught different ways, but I must say that the curriculum of all Aikido should be broadened to include hard and soft styles of training, along with a few insights as to why certain physical movements in Aikido are located near particular soft spots (pressure point area) that allow for easier manipulation.
If you do Ikkyo, first movement, by rolling along the pressure points of the wrist and elbow, the opponent is much less able to resist than if you use physical force.
As for the training curriculum, that is merely a matter of beginning with hard style, verses soft style training. In the end, the students will train in both versions if they wish to advance in training.