Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?
As a new poster, i just wanted to float this as my opinion and would appreciate some thoughts.
I have trained for over a decade within the UK, with a number of instructors and federations, as well as completing research over , and from my perspective, i do not believe O'Senseis Aikido is being practiced.
Controversial statement, yes.
It is my opinion that today, a composite Aiki-Budo-Jutsu is being taught.
From the initial students of O'Sensei, Aikido was disseminated around the world, with each instructor placing their own interpretation of O'Senseis teachings, with the exception perhaps of M. Saito.
In my opinion, the only people i have visually seen do Aikido in what i perceive as O'Senseis art is S. Arikawa, K. Tohei and Kanshu Sunadomari (and perhaps G. Shioda). The abilities of these gentlemen from what i have observed goes beyond the physical and into the metaphysical.
Aikido is a difficult art to learn, and as O'Sensei stated repeatedly to M. Saito, hard, solid training (Kotai) should be taught up to at least 3rd Dan.
In my experience, there is nowhere within the UK that trains this way. Most clubs train fast, they move before any contact is made, so apply techniques based on momentum and arm movements. There is no body art, and Aikido is supposed to be a Tai Jitsu.
It has been stated that the first Doshu "changed" the techniques of his father, O'Sensei, and if this is the case, and this is now followed and perpetuated throughout the world, with the style of training today, are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?
I watch instructors of some repute like C. Tissier, who demonstrate a magnificent and flowing "Art", but the realistic application of his techniques are questionable. I.e. Can they really be done on a 25 stone neanderthal?
If it is the case we are not doing O'Senseis Aikido, should we even call it Aikido, or something else?
A lot of fellow Aikidoka talk about "hard" training with teachers such as K. Chiba, but is this really Aikido, or a Ju-Jitsu? I have watched this style of instruction and training many times with hard and fast movements, but isnt Aikido supposed to be soft and effortless? Can we therefore call this Aikido?
The definition of Aikido i repeatedly hear is creating harmony with the universal. But if movements are hard and fast, where is the harmony?
For me watching K. Sunadomari in some of his demonstrations shows a serene almost placid but lethal form. Is this the true Aikido, and is what we do today our poor interpretation of O'Sensies art.
From my perspective, i would like to train to try and achieve the high echelons of S. Arikawa, K. Tohei and Kanshu Sunadomari, but how do we get there if the art has changed?
Would appreciate any thoughts.