Well, there needs to be a complicity in the sense that all are working towards mutual improvement AND a genuine method for testibility that has everything to do with "Does it work??" from as objective a measure as possible, rather than "Am I letting this work right now?".
I think the disconnect in many modern forms of practice is that these lines blur into one sort of thing that doesn't really accomplish the goals of either of the above two facets of the overall training paradigm. So then "work for harmony" becomes, "do what the senior/sensei says and don't question it or you're in trouble!".
Add the idea of training Ki/Kokyu from an Internal Strength perspective - and it's an additional rub because there are plenty that refuse to accept that their 30+ years time in doesn't automatically translate into this skillset that uses the same or similar terminology at points. Factor in that people feel plenty comfortable speaking to how aikido would "work" in an MMA perspective without having actually spent any time credibly trying it out
-- why would you expect this thing to be any different, especially when it (IT/IS) by all rights should
be the foundation of AIKI-do practice.
The smart ones are working like hell to rewire, retrain and catch up if they genuinely want the skills (in MMA, IS, Shodo, or whatever). The less than benevolent ones are keeping their methods and lineage secret so they can be THE SENSEI, while the ones that really sacrifice everything for their arts and their students are dragging everyone along on their journey, so that their students have the possibility to stand on their shoulders and someday reach higher up the mountain.
And everything in-between.
As keeps getting mentioned, these sure are interesting times. And I'm just limited to hearing the scuttlebutt here and their about what different mainstream peeps are up to. I'm sure it's much more interesting closer to the centers.
Jon, you asked where's the ego? I think ego (and at times various levels of access to knowledge, willful/unwillful ignorance AND we can't forget the need to pay the rent) has it's share of blame for watering down of martial practices all over. I can see where it gets to a point where the people that really want to bang and train recuse themselves from trying to wade through the differences of budo as genuine training for life versus a collection of role-players chasing delusions of relevance.
I've heard different conceptions mentioning that the growth of MMA owes its popularity to people wanting to do what they see on TV. I know just as many ex-athletes, law enforcement and military types, when they finally want to walk into a dojo, have someone speaking to them on conditioning, warrior mindset and combative intent -- that clearly has no credibility on any of these things. So, it's a mixed bag all over, no doubt.
An honestly, I don't think this is much of a digression away from the flow or original topic of the thread.
Although I am digressing away from the flow of the thread, I cannot help but read underneath the posts a current that we need our movers and shakers to get their heads together and figure out how better to learn and train.
I have attended too many seminars where failed technique is met with, "you're doing it wrong," or "you're energy is bad," or "stop fighting me..." I am [rarely] pleasantly surpised with "WTF? how did you do that?" or "I need to see how I cannot accomodate that variation..." Similar to an earlier post, I think there is something to be said for the spirit of aikido when failure is met with "it's you, not me."
Where is our fighting spirit that drives us to spar with the MMA fighter? or spar with the karate person? or learn how to defend against other arts? Where is our ego when we choose to omit training that exceeds our skills for the vanity of not being able to teach it?