In addition to aikido kata . . . how about the issue of moving from stand-up to groundwork? There are a similar set of challenges, I think.
I'll get flak for calling them the "second generation," but like you I think it is valuable--and important--to talk and to work with guys like these, who will be the test of whether the teaching of the "pioneers" (and I'll get flak for that too
) like Dan, Ark and Mike is getting through and taking root. Allen, Chris, Bill and Rob, all in their own ways, stepped out of their previous training paradigms and took a chance. Courage, and the desire to improve.
Heartwarming stuff. Now it's back to the Hallmark Channel.
To be fair, aikido has its own world. For the most part, groundwork isn't a big chunk of that world. But, given IT and aiki, I think anyone who wants to apply their "aiki...do" to groundwork would have an easier time of it. As you said, a similar set of challenges.
I like "Second Generation". I'll use that, if you don't mind. Or maybe "First Generation Students".
Wonder if "Grandmaster Soke Dai Oh-Sensei" is taken for the "pioneers". LOL!
Back to serious. Yeah, I think highly of all of them, even some that choose to remain unmentioned.