I have been thinking about this a lot. I teach children, and I let them throw me all the time. Of course I could stop their technique, but I really want them to learn, so I go with it. If I started to believe that they were really throwing me, I would be in trouble. I think they know that I am letting them do it, but it gives them the right feeling. We can gradually increase the resistance. That's just one way of training, but it seems to be pretty popular and work well for most people.
I think there is a danger of confusing training exercises with real-life applications. We generally don't do real-life applications in the dojo because they are dangerous, so we do a lot of exercises to develop the skills that we would use in a real-life situation. If we deny, however, that these are training exercises (where we are exerting our will to simulate something or create certain training conditions), I think that can create a bad situation.
Incidentally, I would call standing in one place and letting someone try to throw you or move you an exercise as well. In real life, the mountain that cannot be moved makes a pretty great target for a knife attack.
Well standing in one place and demonstrating dynamic stability and the ability to absorb forces and neutralize them is essential to aiki. It is worth noting that it is so essential that most every high level art in the history of planet earth based their deeper teaching on it. Aikido used to as well, it's just all but gone from the art. The benefits of it are unknown to most modern adepts. This is evident in watching high ranking people move, even those supposedly out teaching internal movement. They wobble and buckle under load. The shear volume of those who don't get it –to include a staggering number of high ranking budoka-doesn't support any counter argument. It does nothing to change the deeper work that was a staple of the higher level arts that Aikido used to be a part of under Ueshiba.
Two of the concepts Ueshiba talked about; Heaven/earth/man and six direction training were grossly mistranslated as a random sequence of words lacking any known meaning to the translators. So six direction training which had been laid out in India, in China, and as early as 1451 in Japan and taught at places such as the Katori and Kashima shrines was always categorized as imbuing an adept with power. This teaching-itself a very deep and difficult endeavor with an established pedagogy was reduced to "stand in hanmi" by some of the same people who brought us modern aikido.
There is a reason to attain central stability and hence dynamic stability. It is from this stability that the body achieves in yo or (yin yang). It is the central support system that allows the body to be soft-yet strong. Thinking it has anything at all to do with “standing still” just demonstrates the incredible ignorance of the modern martial arts community to what is really going on.
Point of fact is that once this central stability is achieved-mores the point once the method to achieve it is built into the body-you actually move faster than a normal person in space, with no telegraphing movement. This is one of the reasons that the attributes of Heaven earth man and six direction training are never argued in person, but only on the net by an uneducated and inexperienced community of teachers. Simply put, in person those who do not understand it simply fail agains those who do. Virtually all of them.
As an aside I would mention that one of the staple principles of throwing is the push when pulled or turn when pushed
examples. And the model I am describing virtually eliminates the very idea, to the point that it simply doesn’t work on you. The secondary attribute I mentioned is the ability to make change in yourself that offers no telegraphing to an opponent. This has to do with the fact that the method used to connect the body to make these principles work has another benefit in that the body works in a highly efficient manner that doesn’t weight shift like normal folk. This results in rapid movement, weight transfers in and out of an opponent without your weight being applied or being “had” and incredible force in punching or kicking. Other benefits are ghosty, unreadable movements.
So in reality there really is no debate. Thinking someone can out argue you, or out talk you matters little. Very intelligent and well read “experts” in budo fall apart against it, MMA people are flummoxed trying to figure out what is happening to them. So any internet *dialogue* is the equivalent of trying to debate whether two and two equals four.
Suffice to say that Ueshiba was oft times quoting well established works-including Chinese classics, and was not the singular genius people think he was. I am not taking anything away from him here, but in fact appluading him, and just noting that he was yet another “great” using deeper level principles of the Asian arts that few know about or ever attain.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this, the debate over them has existed for centuries. Again a founder of a Japanese Koryu in 1451 uses the very same models Ueshiba was discussing:
“Once I understood the concepts of Heaven/earth/man and six direction method, (learned from esoteric training at Kashima and Katori shrine) my ken was unbeatable. No one could stop me.”
A modern martial artists not finding any of this useful is a stunning statement of their level of understanding of movement and the higher levels of Budo.