Great points gentlemen.
What prompted me to ask this question is that I like my aikido practice and lineage but I can see both the benefit and risk of abandoning this path (momentarily?) in favour of focusing solely on IT. I asked Mark Murray something similar on another thread and he currently only does IT. Dan Harden ventured out of the TMA restrictions to focus solely on IT (or Aiki as I guess he calls it but I don't want this to turn into a "=IT=Aiki?" debate. Plus he's trying out aiki applications in martial contexts).
These are indeed exciting times with IT now being publicly and explicitly taught, but IT has such an allure for it's incredible outcome, the path of IT could become a path in itself. At least I can see that potentially happening. Having only secondary exposure to the Aunkai teachings, for instance, from what I gather, Aunkai doesn't teach one what to do with the accumulated IS/IP from IT. IOW it's not a martial art but an IP foundation building practice for training a martial body. (Please Rob or anyone, correct me if I'm wrong here.) What I'm trying to say is that IT as a sole focus of practice is fine as it is, but to me, and I guess to most, IT is a way towards a different end. Not a goal in itself.
Don't think of it, necessarily, as a path. Can it become one, yeah. Does it have to, no. Let's say that at a certain point, oh, maybe 5 years of training Internal Skills, you build your body to a certain skill level. So, what do you want to do with it? It's *you*, not some application, some tool in a toolbox, some technique. What do *you* want to do? There's Ueshiba's way of using aiki, there's Shioda's way of using aiki, Tomiki's, Shirata's, Tohei's, Ueshiba Kisshomaru's, etc, etc, etc. How will you apply your IS?
Back to regular aikido training ... if IT isn't there, what do you do? If you find IT to build aiki and it isn't meshing with your aikido training, what do you do? It would be a great world if the aikido training did mesh with IT. I think some are changing that exact training paradigm, like the latest round of videos of Bill Gleason. Excellent videos, IMO. But, back to my point. I left to concentrate 100% on building IS, but never to leave aikido permanently. At some point, when I'm more comfortable with being able to move in a dynamic manner, I'll revisit aikido training. Not as I'd done before ... but similar to the manner of Ueshiba or some of his students.