Jason Tonks wrote:
It is a great shame that this question even needs to be asked. Having spoken to my Sensei who trained under Kenshiro Abbe Sensei, Nakazono Sensei and Tadashi Abbe in the 1950's, there was no question of martial effectiveness. These early pioneers of Aikido were hard training, spirited martial artists. Tadashi Abbe who introduced Aikido to France was known as one of the most fearsome teachers to emerge from the early Uchi Deshis of O Sensei. My point is that unfortunately over the years things become watered down and people don't want the hard training that the previous generations went through. True Budo develops the spirit, through hard constant training. If you aren't training with the correct martial spirit then you aren't doing Aikido, simple as that.
My sensei also trained something like 10 years under Tadashi Abbe and I must agree with you that it seemed to be somewhat different... So, our teacher always try to keep, in his class, the "martial spirit" that he had under Abbe. And this spirit must be there, no matter if you trained in a technique that is "effective" or only for "learning"... We always have to see the openings for possible atemi, even if we don't to it... We must never turn our back to our partner, always attack/defend as if it was the last time (and chance) in your life, etc... Even the warm up can be "martial" if done with the right spirit...
So, to answer the poll, I think that yes, our training is done with some martial spirit. Which do not mean that we pass our time asking ourselves if a specific technique is "martially effective" or not, since for us "martiallity" is more a set of mind and doing things in a particular spirit than doing a technique correctly... It's the intent and the spirit you put in your technique that make it martial, not the way you physically do the technique and if it's effective in the street or not...