Re: Aikido and Budo
The dojo and shrine in Iwama are the birthplace of Aikido as we know it. It was there that Morihei Ueshiba O-sensei synthesized and perfected his martial art (budo) from his many studies of other martial arts and religions.
His longest time student in Iwama was my teacher, Morihiro Saito-sensei (23 years living and training with O-sensei). He passed on to us the essence of Aikido as he learned it from O-sensei as "Takemusu Aiki".
Takemusu Aiki can be translated as "the union with the spirit of the universe which gives creation to a martial art". The "take" in "takemusu" is the same Chinese character (kanji) as the "bu" in "budo".
I trained with Yamada-sensei in the 60s and respect him very much. However, I regret that he and others no longer consider Aikido to be budo.
Saito-sensei constantly lamented that Aikido around the world was degenerating into a system of light exercise. This is fine for people who want this rather than the hard knocks and pain that go with real Aikido training. Maybe they should call it "Aiki-taiso" (exercise based on Aikido), because it is not O-sensei's Takemusu Aiki which is budo in its purest form.
Watering down Aikido into something soft certainly makes it appeal to many more people than real training, which attracts only a small number of unique and dedicated individuals. But regrettably Yamada-sensei is right when he says that soft "Aikido" training is not budo.