So you are talking about separating the heart of Aikido - aiki - and making a waza out of it that you can train apart from the history, traditions, organizations, philosophy, spiritual goals, and cultural underpinnings of Aikido.
I think that would be a fine thing for a motivated individual to devote him or herself to. I don't think of it as a problem for "the art" as you put it earlier though. In fact I am not sure why you would want to continue to use terms such as aiki
if you are going to be rid of all of that stuff.
I am of the opinion that what you come up with will be no easier or faster a path to skill than any traditional form of Aikido, and without the trappings, you might get fewer people interested in it. Maybe these aren't concerns.
I am also strongly of the opinion that it wouldn't be much of a disruptor in the marketplace of MMA technologies. If you are going into a ring where you must grapple or beat your opponent into submission, BJJ and Muay Thai will still be the go-to systems.
But it sure would be something if I were wrong! I dare you!
For better or worse, the heart of Aikido - aiki - is a set of skills that is independent of history, traditions, organizations, philosophy, spiritual goals, and cultural underpinnings of Aikido. If you have one without the other, is it Aikido? I don't think so, even myself, you need both, to have the art that, as the legacy of Morihei Ueshiba, his son, others like Tohei, Shioda, etc., is known as Aikido. Aiki without the wrapping is just aiki, aikido without aiki is just martial dance class. Aiki is the glue that holds all the wrapping together, gives it life and purpose. I can show up to the dojo, wear my gi and hakama, bow nicely, say all the right things, know all the right history, pay respects to all the right people, move my arms to and fro like such and such, but if there is no aiki in it, what am I doing? Just jujitsu with philosophical trappings.
And, eh, neither I nor, I believe, Jon (apologize for putting words in your mouth, Jon
), or, hell, even the people we are learning from *cough*
, are claiming to be inventing or innovating or coming up with anything as pertains to aiki. Aiki, the skill set, is old hat. It's just being shown to us, and it was shown to others before, and others before even that. It's just taken many of us forever to find it and learn it in or after our Aikido careers.
Why use the term aiki? Because that is what it is! It is a distinct thing I had never encountered before in palpable form - that is to say, it can be isolated and trained without going so far as using anything that can be construed as recognizable techniques be it throws or locks or atemi. It was conveniently labeled aiki in that form I encountered it - so hence, aiki is aiki. No preexisting name for it within the totality of my experience would do it justice, so, it is aiki!
Aiki as a distinct skill set is not only a potential disruptor for MMA, it is a potential shot in the arm for Aikido. Not aiki as applied in Aikido, but aiki as a distinct teachable entity, so that we can pull it out and verify, when doing Aikido, where is our aiki? How good at it are we? Are we really using it well to best effect to achieve all the trappings that the art of Aikido demands?
MMA sport careers last the blink of an eye, there's a certain age when you have to get in and get out by, be in good fighting condition, etc. and, so, yeah, I don't see MMA guys achieving high levels of skill with aiki, let alone Aikido, in the span of that time. It doesn't mean they still can't get some short term benefits from it, but it is a long road. But after that, when they're just in it to do MMA as budo? The sky is the limit.
As far as things like BJJ or Muay Thai? Aiki does not replace these any more than it replaces Aikido as a way of application. I do BJJ, judo, boxing, some Aikido still, getting into stick work, etc. and aiki does not replace any of these for teaching me how to not get the crap beat out of me, but it gives me a profound new way of interpreting them, however. Aiki will not make you into a fighter, it will just make you a better fighter.