Everybody should just ignore David Skaggs to keep the discussion going.
Very good point!
Keiths idea of shades of grey
is more akin to how I think of these things. I like to think of it as this type of work "informs people about their aikido."
I agree that you couldn't likely find anyone who would claim their way is the only way. I do think there are ways that are more directly related and usable than others to Aikido. Hell, I have been writing about how the softness of DR is more akin to taiji than Aikido™ since aikido mailing list days, Aikido-ka always seemed either too stiff, or they noodled. Once you understand what is really supposed to be going on though you find there is an underlying logic; IP/aiki, that is inescapable. The comedy being it has indeed escaped most MA people. Back then, I had no idea that noodling, and the external evasion of force syndrome, was so prevelent in taiji as well.
And to address Aiki directly: Ueshiba obviously considered "the way of aiki"
as fluid and changing, and never as a brand name or fixed practice, hence my calling it Aikido™. Since he, like Takeda, never repeated techniques and did solo training, I would even wonder if they were much interested at all in what became of the "brand" as demonstrated through waza.
As my signature line suggests from one of Ueshiba's peers:
"Aiki requires an enormous amount of solo training. Only amateurs think that techniques are enough. They understand nothing." Sagawa
We have to understand that many cannot see beyond the brand, as even that
body of work is daunting enough when looking at it from the bottom up. There is no way they are going to see the universality of aiki much less understand how the "way of aiki"
is a superior and more encompassing pursuit than a collection of movement drills, waza, connection exercises, what have you. So there will not be a freedom from form at that stage of progress, and possibly even a level of resistance to that way of thinking.
hence my opting to teach the more informed group among them, the teachers. I love Gleasons Comment: 'This is like graduate school for teachers. You really can't expect everyone to understand."
This is yet another reason for NAMT as a forum. People who cannot see the universality of IP/aiki cannot help but to see it as a separate entity an assignment of sorts only related to individual arts that is only partially related. It's the old "This comes from that, that comes from the other and this is mine."
mentality. I've met any number of men who actually pride themselves on their understanding of things that way. Like tools in a box they pick and choose the use, and don't see the toolbox
that houses everything.