Good points. Based on what I've been told in my schooling, all other things being equal, there is no substitute for good teaching. Emulation is a much quicker road than innovation. Like you say, time will tell. "Greatness" seems like it might require something different, but whatever the case, it seems clear the explicit teaching of these practices gets the foot in the door quicker.
A quick question regarding ukemi:
Does being moved around by people exhibiting aiki have a similar effect as the spiraling of the solo exercises? If we can develop the body by moving in certain ways, can we be developed by others moving our body in those same ways?
I don't follow the ukemi model, or trying to make a four legged animal -with-uke or any of that. It makes me slow. Instead I move me and they are late in responding and trying to cathc up.
The results from training that way are different in various people's responses; an Aiki person jumping around (DR, Aikido) a judo guy changing position, to an MMA guy doing God knows what in response. In light of that...why oh why, would I give a rip about "the response."
Ueshiba was spot on that it was never....ever...about uke. "The mystery of aiki is revealed? In spiral energy."
It is in you, changing you, to create In /yo. In light of that- the answer to the second past of your question is, yes! Spiral energy nuetralizes everything. The fun part is what comes after!!
Love me/ hate me whatever.....I am consistent. From before the internet on Aikido list till now. And I still think the vast majority in these arts have almost completely missed it. Full speed in the wrong direction....away from Ueshiba's model. I agree with Ellis that we cannot truly recreate Takeda and Ueshiba. That being said... good grief we have a lot of evidence as to what they were pointing too. And on a scale of 1-10, I see our way as a hell of a lost closer to 10 then the present practices in the aiki arts.