Talking point #1
What on this earth would cause almost 100% of the people going in one direction (many of whom have invested significant portions of their lives to it)....to entirely change direction?
I think that is a compelling talking point.
1. It is irrefutable. Too many credible teachers were present in all those rooms.
2. It means that one must accept the claims that are associated with them:
- There is a historical pedagogy outside of Aikido
- A historical pedagogy within Aikido.
- Direct terminology containing the same concepts across cultures and eras
- Those concepts are known for producing power
- There is a means to demonstrate the understanding of the above along with clear demonstrations of that power.
- That the teachers in the art (in whole or in part) either don't know this, can't show this or can't teach this.
I remember talking with someone who (as best I can recall) described people they knew who had a relatively advanced understanding of "internals," but who didn't or couldn't apply them in a martial context. The implication I got was that there may be many people who know the content on its own, but that there are fewer people who can apply it very well in a highly demanding setting.
So the stuff is or can be relatively tough to learn on its own (at the very least in terms of the consistency of training required); add the demands of "fisticuffs" and it becomes even tougher. Finding folks who have a strong understanding of both is probably fairly rare. When people are found, I would guess they tend to stand out.
That being said, there's always a "yeah but" that can come to mind; people are great at thinking of creative solutions (it's a major reason we soft-skinned humans with no real natural weapons are more or less the top of the food chain): "Maybe those people were just blown away by a better fighter who had a cool way of describing his system; etc." In the realm of ideas, it's not irrefutable. The operant mechanisms are invisible, even though "we" (some, more than others) can point to places people like me can start looking to build a solid understanding. Ultimately for me it comes down to a whole bunch of "maybes" with one or two certainties: can I learn something useful? And once again it seems to point to the basic idea of constant training; when I have the opportunity to train with someone who might have something to teach me, how open-minded am I going to be? In person, whatever
it might be is almost moot so long as I'm learning (and having fun