Thanks for your comments.Unfortunately Aikido has for some people a quasi mystical element.All this stuff about love /harmony/ making oneself blend with the universal etc
I have it on good authority that O Sensei was a man who could get quite agitated on certain occasions .In this particular mode his hair on the back of his neck bristled.
Certainly some of the Shihan I have worked with have the ability to really damage you big time.However having the ability to sort somebody out , does not mean you have to exercise that ability.Rather than use the Iron Fist use the Buddha Heart.
Severe training[Shugyo] nowadays is pretty rare.Some classes do not focus on the Martial aspects of Aikido. This is ok if thats what the teacher /students want. Each person has to choose their own path.But the Path surely must be based on sound principles.If not the Art gets diluted and before long Aikido is no more . We must try and preserve the values of Aikido for the future generations.
You are I are in total agreement. My teacher was one of O'Sensei's direct students so I know what you are talking about in regards to training at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo with O'Sensei. The Buddha Heart does not truly exist in a real conflict without a true Iron First. The attacker is pre-consciously aware of this and responds accordingly.
Shugyo can be severe in honesty and spirit without physical brutality. I am okay with people choosing their own paths. If they try and sell that path as representative of some martial tradition when it is little more that a shared delusional space, they are not only fooling themselves but potentially endangering their students with a psychotically false sense of security. Graham represents what a lot of Tai Chi had devolved into. The real stuff is fantastic in it's martial reality. The "new age" stuff is simply empty. Graham should not talk about his stuff as having no martial integrity, based upon an idealistic philosophy that sinks in the "waters of reality."