Re: What Is Your Frame Of Reference For Understanding Aikido?
My frame of reference is the martial paradigm. In addition to the technical information we have from aikido, I also often find many other arts contribute instructional information relevant to aikido. In experience, I have found more good aikido from people with martial backgrounds than without; so for now, I believe the martial paradigm and subsequent education is the better direction for me.
That said, I want to clarify that "martial" is simply a reference to the origin of an educational system. I read a couple posts that danced around the elephant in the room; badly doing martial arts does not make martial arts bad. I think aikido is infested with people who walk the fine line of non-functional aikido and crappy jujutsu. We validate these people's aikido when we allow that behavior to persist.
Dan talked about simply expecting a competent aikido person to effect technique. Not just technique on a colluding uke or on a fellow dojo-mate, anyone. I believe this is a reasonable expectation. As stewards of aikido, I believe we are expected to discern between functional and non-functional aikido and apply constant pressure to increase competency.
I also believe that there is a form to aikido. I think we have moved away from the correct form in practice and adopted a "do your own thing" perspective. I thing there is some truth in stating that aikido techniques no longer contain aiki. I think a followup question to the statement is did the forms have aiki at some earlier point in time?
Personally, I believe that aikido is in the process of recreating itself to bring back some of what was removed. From a martial perspective I believe I may be able to access references and information to help me re-create some of the aiki stuff that was lost.