Oh, agreed -- I think trying to do "O Sensei's aikido" is a fruitless endeavor, because we don't really know what that is. So, you can take the academic/scholarly approach and do a lot of research, which isn't necessarily a bad thing in and of itself -- Donn Draeger comes to mind. On the other hand, I never got the sense that Draeger's purpose was to find some fountainhead of Asian martial arts in order to be able to practice it -- he just wanted to investigate the history of martial arts styles in Asia.
On the other hand, when you talk about putting feet to the fire, doesn't that raise the question of just what the "fire" is?
Ok, so in that case the "fire" is defined by those who are making the claims? That makes sense.
Is your beef that Japanese clothing is incompatible with spiritual understanding? Or (as I suspect) is it that putting on Japanese clothing does not create spiritual understanding?
I pretty much agree with all of that, Mary. I think many people have a tendency to mimic the movement and dress of teachers they like, but lack the power therein.
I don't have a beef with budo or budo clothing; there just isn't much to say about the travesty of some people's actions; turning in circles with wooden weapon replicas (and handling them as if they were an alien thing) while dressed in a pair of cullottes; while claming a spiritual and martial understanding of some sort.
A friend of mine calls it "dressing up and playing cowboys and indians" on any other day (and she wears them-as do I- in another art). We're alll geeks!