Re: What's With All the Pushing?
Yes, I would also agree with Stefan and George: The training context that makes a taboo at exposing the structural inferiority of said pushing is definitely playing a role here in its continuing acceptance.
All kinds of things, however, can still show to the keen eye that the "emperor is not wearing any clothes" outside of the taboo. These things all being related to size is why I chose to focus on size, and and because I don't see that aforementioned taboo leaving Japan any time soon. Let's face it, Hombu Dojo has seduced too many folks into buying into their cultural capital. There are too many investors not ready to begin a new economy for fear of losing all the capital they have amassed or are trying to amass.
For my point, for example, if you were to train in an environment where the majority of the time you are the smallest person on the mat by 50-100 lbs, regardless of the taboo not to challenge/expose, and you as nage pushed like we are seeing, you would get those "awkward" moments when the new 6'4", 280 lbs, uncoordinated, and totally stiff newbie, would cause such a pushing nage to be the one that goes flying backwards - even if it's just a little. This would all happen "innocently," and thus that uke would not be open to the charge of "you're just being a jerk."
The more of these behemoths you face, the more and more it would happen. All occurrences remaining innocent. You have a class filled with them, and you got it happening several times a class! The majority of your lecture portions of class then take the shape of, "You are too stiff! You need to blend with Nage! You need to let your balance go. Nage and Uke are supposed to work together. Listen, this is where you fall down." Yikes! Talk about regression and de-evolution.
When you combine that with the fact that a lot of these gentle giants are there on the mat NOT to practice a cultural art but rather to learn how to throw folks out of bars when they need to be thrown out or how to place a pair of cuffs on folks that are drunk and resisting or that are trying to take their duty weapon from them, well... Regardless of the taboo, which again has no chance of diminishing in Japan until an overall political and social revolution occurs (yeah right!), were one to pile up enough of these awkward innocent moments, nage with integrity would start looking for new architectures, and students of nage's that wouldn't start looking for new architectures would start looking for new teachers as a result of their own integrity.
Please note, I'm not at all saying that bigger folks can't learn Aikido. They can, and as a smaller person, I have to say I love watching good big nage practice good Aikido. It's absolutely beautiful to me! But as they will tell you themselves, it sure takes a lot of discipline and self-integrity for them to relearn how to use their body the Aikido way. They are to be totally admired in that accomplishment.
I'm referring solely to the subtle pressures that given training environments apply to the art as it shapes a given expression of the art. In that sense, I think seeing a smaller nage throw and/or NEVER bounce off of a bigger uke, or a bigger nage throw a smaller nage without utilizing their size in gross and/or mundane ways, is where folks should be looking toward regarding what they choose to emulate.