I think aikiweb is a wonderful resource and I applaud Jun for all his efforts. That said aikiweb is not (in my opinion) representative of the whole aikido community and the thoughts and opinions expressed here hopefully are not taken to be the general feeling of the aikido or martial arts community for that matter. I say this because of a concern that people new to aikido might think otherwise if this is a primary resource for them.
I for one have not heard that aikido is the ‘laughing stock' of the martial arts. Rather I hear from some that certain practitioners or even groups don't appear to be martially effective. But I hear that about a lot of arts and combat sports.
I also don't share the opinion that aikido is seeing a lack of interest. Looking at my own dojo, we have seen significant growth and sustained interest. And the fact the most of our members are former/current military and athletes speaks volumes as to the honest training that goes on here.
It does boil down to having access to good information and being able to absorb that info. Maybe I've been fortunate to have good teachers that stressed principles over style. So the whole discussion on aikido not having ‘aiki/ip' or being martial is quite foreign to me.
Again, everyone has an opinion. And surely I've seen/felt what I thought was not very good aikido but I won't indict the whole of aikido. It's especially intriguing to me when I feel one of these new aiki disciples who are being held up as examples of what aikido should be. The ones I've felt quite honestly have not been very impressive. I didn't experience any disruption to my body or earth shattering enlightenment. All I left with was the feeling of ‘why did I spend my money on this?' But I do think it's good to get out and feel what others are doing so as not to be in a bubble or self-delusional. I have just come away with the attitude that I'll do what feels right for me and let others do what they do.
I was refering to fighting effectiveness and light touch or no touch throws, in aikido as well as taiji where, under stress; people cannot deliver. And ...that....is a laughing stock in every martial venue I have ever seen or read, including most teachers in aikido in the many threads covering it as is evident and provable, here.
If you would like to find threads here where aikido people applaud that, I would love to see it. If you have examples of Taiji or aikido people (the two arts that seem to push this stuff the most) doing this type of work on outsiders who are fully engaged to stop them and it worked, I would love to see that as well. Otherwise the critique stands on its own merit.
I say it again.
No one is arguing cooperative practice....we... all do it to one degree or another in every art I know of.
It is the statements of effectiveness that cannot withstand scrutiny that is being addressed. Emotion should not be an issue.