Instead of telling me why I'm wrong or how my view is invalid, I think folks would do better to simply offer their sense of things and move on. We cannot escape the mind's task of judging the world around us; it does that whether we're aware of it or not, but we can show each other that we respect the fact that we cannot see into each other's world, even if in fact we're 100% correct about our assumptions.
Matt, the problem here is that so many people read this site and gather ideas on which they build "understandings" about aikido and budo in general.
Is it really correct to allow utterly inexperienced "teachers" to put out goofy claims without challenge?
I thought Ellis Amdur's article on Watanabe Sensei, of aikikai, was a good example of pointing out baloney. And if it is okay (even vital) to address the serious error of someone on that level, why should we pretend that all "points of view" stated here are equal?
Graham loves to talk about "real" aikido and "spiritual" aikido day and night, but the one time he had the opportunity to get to the real root of the art, being in the same room with Gozo Shioda, neither he nor his teacher actually stepped onto the mat. From what Graham has written, they never even touched Shioda Sensei to shake his hand. So Graham never experienced the mysterious power described by Robert Mustard and Ellis Amdur in the "It Had to be Felt" thread. Instead, he is informed by contact with "plenty" of people doing "internal stuff." And even though he did meet Mark Freeman, who advised us that Graham is "no Dan Harden," Graham continues to pat himself on the back and play his crumhorn of superior knowledge and understanding, telling us he understands Ueshiba's way far better than any of us who trained with Ueshiba's direct students and uchi deshi.
This forum already serves as an international repository of knowledge of aikido and will, in the future, provide "historical" reference on the art.
It is important for current and future readers to see that people with much experience in aikido and other Japanese martial arts always call baloney on people who speak so confidently about aikido without ever having dipped more than a toe or two in the water.
You say, "we can show each other that we respect the fact that we cannot see into each other's world, even if in fact we're 100% correct about our assumptions," but we're not working with assumptions: Graham has opened his "world" wide and pushed it on us as "real" and "spiritual" and even as "aikido." We didn't go and seek him out to attack. He put on his rasta hat, filmed himself doing what he does and teaching what he teaches and invited comment. He might as well have put his foot in a fire-ant bed and asked what they thought of his hakama. He shouldn't then get upset by the intense response he gets from the ants.
I think of a guy very thoughtfully chewing up one of those plastic displays from the front window of a Japanese restaurant and pretending to appreciate the delicate pleasures of eating sushi.
Best to you.