Re: How small is your aikido
Thank you Mary, for your candor and your interest. I will attempt to respond in the spirit of your curiosity regarding large movements in general. I believe that any history I may have with anyone over the decades of my involvement in aikido are immaterial and irrelevant to our conversation.
The Aikikai, or Hombu style of Aikido has always favored large, even exaggerated movements, to allow its members to observe the demonstrated technique in detail, while, hopefully, allowing the uke to follow nage's lead safely and without mishap to either party. Yet, even within the Aikikai family, there have always been differences in substance as well as style, and perhaps this is where our talk may lead us. Martial integrity has always been directly linked to speed, efficiency, and judicious economy of movement. The idea has always been to execute the technique, and not the uke, although as you are well aware, lines are quite often blurred. I like to use the equation of NH/SH. NH refers to the commitment for No Harm to be visited on anyone practicing honestly and diligently on the mat. It means that each instructor and student are accountable to maintain the highest standards of protocol possible. Yet, all of this occurs in SH, where Shit Happens. It is our collective responsibility to minimize the deleterious impact of SH, which focusing on the welcome benefits of NH.
Back to my initial comment. It is my opinion that, with all safety and genuineness issues being appropriately addressed, ultimate skill and proficiency will be best demonstrated with a minimum of movement, and a maximum of correct posture, ma ai, tai sabaki and zanshin principles being applied. For me, Misunari Kanai came quite close to such a standard.
As far as Yoshimitsu Yamada's style of Aikido is concerned, I have always admired the fact that his movements were easy to follow, comprehend, and, at some level, to incorporate. His track record of developing excellent instructors and aiki athletes is second to none. As far as how he wants to proceed from here, that is strictly up to him, his goals, and his health. I wish him the best.
Again, thank you for allowing me to respond to your kind and thoughtful explanation.