My interest lies not so much in your dojo or Gleason Sensei per se (though I admit I'm curious). It's just that part of this ‘silent revolution' imparts the choices people are making/need to make/needed to make when IT became such a profound aspect of their budo pursuits. Gleason Sensei's choice seems to be having two distinct types of classes (though of course in reality they feed eachother). Others, like myself, are currently working almost exclusively on IT, but my goal is to find some balance during class. Whether that means starting with IT exercises and then work on waza I have yet to find out. Since I have my own dojo and we are only with five people it's not so much of a problem. It's something on my mind with the future in mind when new trainees come and enter expecting aikido, not those gruelsome, tedious, no-instant-succes type of drills. I can really see how Tokimune Takeda said his people didn't want to do that stuff.
Maybe that's just the nature of the IT beast. I dunno. In this day and age, with all the possibilities to exchange thoughts with people around the globe, there's no harm in exploring ways in which people are looking for solutions to deal with this, is there?
Thanks for sharing.
I am not the OP, and also, I don't do aikido waza any more. In truth, I am now just a poor pathetic grappler.
But it is grappling empowered by body connection, so some observations on how that integration has played out:
If you are not limited to a predetermined set of waza and are actually inventing your technique on a regular basis so as to highlight body connection you are building at bottom, it becomes pretty impossible for others to do said technique well at all if they are not also practicing said body connection.
The relationship is tremendously synergistic. The more extreme and demanding said applied situations are of body connection, the more they point out flaws in your connectivity you need to work on. Without these applied benchmarks, one can and will, with probably almost 100% certainty, be repeating the same flaws over and over in solo work, because one is not aware they are flaws.
The other trap is that if some particular benchmark is relied upon too much, it becomes easy to train to the test, rather than develop the ability to do the test as a consequence of improved general ability. Or similar trap, picking only the benchmarks that highlight the microcosm you feel satisfied with. Variety, variety, variety.
After a point, trying to do solo work with others becomes decidedly non-solo, and there ain't much point if even your teacher can't spot the flaws anymore from the outside. Class-time is for finding flaws, either by observation of someone better, or by experimenting in above applied benchmarks. Solo work is mostly best done at home, solo, and then you come back and train with others to find out what the result of that was, rinse, lather, repeat.
So, for my 2c, to only do solo work is a mistake and to do no solo work is a mistake. To do a small fixed set of solo work and a small fixed set of waza to utilize it is also a mistake. More or less, that is why I have found aikido training such as it is most commonly found to be incompatible with my progression and explored other avenues. YMMV.