My thanks to Mark and Corky for bringing up this topic for discussion. I have been attempting to expand my aikido practice slowly over time to include other aikido styles and viewpoints, but have run into some difficulty when I try to incorporates these differences into my home dojo, especially when I am tasked with occasionally teaching a class. I am told to only teach our style when I teach, which, to be fair, is only right. We have a responsibility to our students to teach in our home style, preparing them for their respective tests and allowing them to properly mingle at seminars with their peers from similar dojos in our association.
My question is, at what point can such outside ideas, with sometimes radical differences in approaches, be incorporated into an existing dojo curriculum, without endangering the "purity" of that dojo's teachings? Do we need to set up an "Aiki Lab", as suggested, where advanced practitioners (who know enough not to confuse these new approaches with their currently accepted curriculum) can come together and try to incorporates these new ideas and approaches into their individual training?
Have others run into this? If so, what was the outcome?
finally someone has hit the nail firmly on the head, this is exactly the question I am facing in this moment.
I have moved to a new city, having left my old class behind to go and travel. I could easily set up a class here under my long term teacher. I would be expected to teach as I did before, respecting the purity of his method. This approach I respect and I know he would not sanction the radical stuff that I experienced in the LA Lab.
I think you may be right in that we may have to set up our own 'Labs' to explore any different or radical approach. I'm not sure that it should be limited to advanced practitioners though. It would depend on whether the students want the more traditional approach as well. I met a student at Corky's place who had not experienced 'normal' aikido and she seemed to be progressing really well. In fact her non exposure to technique based practice was probably working in her favour.
In the end I may well end up doing both as you suggest and see where that takes me. Until I do I will not know the answer. I guess that some dojo heads are more open to incorporating new ideas. For those of us who are curious to walk and learn from the less conventional path, perhaps we have to let go of the safety net of the familiar support and go it alone for better or worse. New lands are not discovered by those who stay at home.
Good luck to you and your training Jim,