Re: back to basics, punch
I wish aikido dojo had makiwara. then i'd know the the committment to budo or the martial is serious, instead of merely "clinging" to the focused view of the art.
I still marvel at how predictable and scripted so much of aikido "attacks" appear.
I used to think my kicks were my best 'weapons' then i sparred with fit MMA players who can take a kick and come in to grapple, but the hard face punches kept them at bay (until i got too tired).
having a strong fluid/mobile stance while punching is good budo. they're plenty in karate that can not seem to punch well even after many years.