Re: training in the long haul
Japan culture point People may be interested to know that in Japan, there does not seem to be the same gym culture that we have in the US (or, I assume, in Europe). Popular work-outs in Japan seem to be tied to activity. For example, a boxer-cise class... or martial arts.
Periodization I would guess that a major issue facing a martial arts supplementary training regimen is that the cycle of training is very different from modern athletics. The goal of modern athletics is to maximize performance for a narrow demographic (young people) in a narrow time frame (end of season championships). Enter the concept of periodization. For Michael Phelps, the four years between Olympics are not a weekly grind of swimming and weight lifting. The timeframe is broken up with periods of more or less dry land work, more or fewer meters swum in the pool, more or less intensity. It's all a four-year-long plan designed to get his speed to peak in a narrow two-week window at the end of the four years.
Aikido is very different. There is no "peak performance window," not even any timeframe goals excepting testing.
Gendai budo like judo that are practiced as a competitive sport are somewhere in between aikido and Olympic swimming. I think this is why judo has supplementary training. My guess is that people who and places where judo practice more as a sport have more supplementary training than places where judo is practiced as a "martial art."
If the goal or concept of a supplementary training program in aikido is to improve performance, what we know from physiology, kinesiology, etc should lead us into some sort of periodization scheme (even without a competition looming), which would change dojo culture completely...
Imagine a dojo where the sensei said, "from September to December, I want everyone to cut back on their mat hours and spend more time with free weights." Never!!!
Imagine a dojo that was so close-knit that students could coordinate their schedules to follow any periodized program at all. Never!!! (Except in Yoshinkan kenshusei/senshusei training, where the students train all together every day, over a one-year period, with a common set of monthly goals.)
On the other hand, if the goal or concept of supplementary training in aikido is injury prevention, then something completely different should be conceived with a systemic training program that includes things like beginners' instruction in how not to injure people and a way of teaching techniques that relies on something other than trial and error for student progress. My guess is that because of the types of injuries common to aikido, performance-oriented training like weights is less useful than improving focus, resolve, and partner-awareness. (Again, this sounds a little like Yoshinkan aikido... what can I say?)