Most of the participants in the seminar were from Tai Chi background. Early on Dan said that he isn't interested in Aikido that much and his focus is now on MMA. Except for this and a negative remarks about hanmi, he was much less diplomatic there than on this thread, Aikido wasn't mentioned. Some of the things shown contradicted my knowledge (Iwama lineage), some of it was orthogonal to it.
Ultimately, looking at the videos of the the Founder, Saito or Shioda, I don't see them do anything similar to what Dan was doing.
I have a question/theory for you Mark.
If I was to define "Modern Aikido" as the Aikido that came out of the Hombu dojo after the war, would it be true that most/all of Aikido people who consistently train with Dan or invite him to their clubs, trace their lineage to that "Modern Aikido"?
Well....all down to personal experiences really. I'm one of those people who's had Dan to their club. I'll suggest that he is a 'colourful larger than life' personality....and thank god for that, It would be such a boring world if we were all the same. He spoke as he found things...yes he wasn't trying to be diplomatic....just open and true to his experiences. Not really here to talk about personalities though....as Dan consistently says - Its not about him - its about the work.
I never heard Dan say negative things about the founder - instead many times he refered to his amazing skills.
What he consistently argued is that these skills pre-date Ueshiba. I've no issue with that.
He did put up an arguement against traditional hanmi.....supported by reasoned justification. I had no issue with it and certainly won't be getting my knickers in a twist over it.
In the whole he argues for Aiki 'within me, before thee and me' ...aiki power generated and manipulated by a carefully trained body. He provides a structure for training that body and in time that structure can then be deployed freely to waza.....to give practice that has power instead of an empty form.
Perhaps one lesson isn't enough to appreciate what Dan has to offer....but for me there was an instance connection with the teachings of my Aikido inspiration. Perhaps videos aren't always the best source of information..not really interested in debating it either as I'm just happy to focus on my own training.
For what its worth and because of the question on 'modern Aikido'....much of my training was with Pierre Chassang...student of Tadashi abe in 1952/3 and 1961.
Also student of Matsuharu Nakazano & Masamichi Noro and from 1965 student of Nobuyoshi Tamura Shihan.
Is this modern Aikido or not? I have no interest in the labelling of others really but I do know Pierres opinion..
Pierre very much argues againt what he saw as 'modern Aikido'....often refering to conversations with Master Arikawa where modern 'aikido' was referred to as Budo Sportif...and not considered the real deal.
For Pierre, Aikido was sourced in the hara, was linked to the concept of 'heaven earth man', was built around man being a cross and involved reprogramming the brain to respond with Aiki.
Even down to some of Dans walking exercises...Pierre told us of lessons in his past where they just walked up and down the mat - training to move from centre.
Finally. Spiral energy and spiral movement. These were the cornerstone of practice with Pierre.
I definitely haven't done hm full justice in those few words - but I don't see these as similar to what Dan is doing - I see them as exactly in line with the work..
Dan just 'mines' in to a new level, its the same work only even deeper. Once people get over the shock that Dan can actually show and teach this stuff, and stop being insulted on behalf of their instructors then people will realise that theres no real conflict here - just a gateway to a resource that can only improve the Aikido that we all practice.
So while Dans stuff is already in Aikido....he's uncovering things and making obvious previously hidden things that I just didn't get. So when people here are saying about Dans stuff 'we are already doing that'....Its like a sunday morning jogger claiming to have equivalent skills to Usain Bolt !
Anyway - As a caveat I'll say my work with Dan is only just starting - 18 months in after 20 years of Aikido and 8 of jujitsu. Already significant progress for me and am very happy that I've found someone that can help me that will hopefully be around for many years to come. I'll also say that I rarely post these days....there is so much chaff here and most people are so fixed in their ideas that they just aren't prepared to listen.
But FWIW...this is the experience and thoughts of just 1 peson that has hosted Dan.
PS. @Joe Curran - No Dan didn't meet Mike although he met a few of his instructors as well as me. Mike was hobnobbing in Singapore with his wife who was Fencing in some international competition.