"IMHO, yes in the old days many people came to Aikido from other arts. It had a more martial foundation. Later influenced by Omoto thought, Aikido became more spiritual. Some schools of Aikido emphasis the first, some the later. Development implies a goal or direction. So it depends on what you study for whether you personally are skipping a stage or not." -Quote from Lynn Seiser
Very succint Lynn. About 50% of my students come from other martial arts (usually many years of experience). IMHO, "ki-driven", soft aikido, can be as or more effective as the hard stuff. I think it is all IN & Yo, you have to find balance in what you are doing. None of us are O'Sensei. None of us have had his life. So for us to follow the development path of his art is a foolish waste of time. Repeating history is kind of like re-inventing the wheel. Why waste the time. O'Sensei put all aikidoka in the drivers' seat. We are the ones that need to further the art.
But, I digress.
In our schools we are looking for the waza that has the least physical strength, the most ki, and is extremely effective in real situations.
My point is:
All new students start by trying to use physical strength to effect technique. We try to move them through that stage quickly so they can develop more sensitive technique.
The stages are the same.....we just try to lead students through the stages so they don't spend a lifetime trying to find what O'Sensei already spent a lifetime to put in front of us.