Re: Aiki vs useless waza ?
I have seen all sorts. Here are some of my observations - of course - every case is different. I have seen no structure - Ki aikido in the UK (just what I saw). Teachers were great, students struggled becuase they had no structure. Yoshinkan - too much structure, not enough flow - and when they flow, they are flowing through their rigid structure, if you know what I mean. I did Yoshinkan for awhile and really liked it - it improved my structure. But you can have too much of a good thing. Well - there you have opposite ends of the spectrum. Another extreme is to simply stay in one school. Each school typically has one view. Many teachers have one good quirk and it is done/taught to death. You need to get about and look around further afield. So what do I think?
1 I think students should be taught all the waza until they know all the waza. If you can't get through that in a couple of years then something is wrong.
2 At the same time, lots of kokyu-ho and kokyu-nage.
3 Also, the notion of aiki should be taught right from the start. Thing is, no one knows what it is, so, all you get is waza forever. However, at least, if you do #1 and #2 you will be ready for #3 when you find the right teacher.
One idea - aiki-age is done well by lots of people. Tori riases his arm and moves uke. That's it. You need to research this and be able to do it from any position and any direction, not just 'up'. 99% of people just do it 'up' because it is called aiki-age (= aiki-up). But to be able to do it well you need to figure out why it works. Then, it will become a principle you own.