The reason I called it a "match" is because that is what it was called in essence by the American... "Herman is still skeptical about how aikido will do in a rough and tumble. His instructor (assumably Tohei) agrees to operate on the principle of gentleness..."
What is the next intention after "I'm skeptical" that would lead to what you saw on video besides, "prove it to me" or "let me prove it to you?" It was a testing, not a real attack with real aikido. It started with respectful bowing for gosh sakes. What kind of real conflict starts with your assailant bowing to you? Really Graham? someone agreeing to take on someone looking for a match isn't agreeing to a match?
Nor was it training. At least I've never seen aikido training that looks like that. I think you really have to stretch to consider what they were doing was NOT a test, a match, a contest meant to show both participants who had the better method for dealing in "rough and tumble."
But if you guys are accurate in your assertion that this was not a match or competition, and what was shown during that part of the video was really aikido, and not someone trying to prove aikido is ineffective against "rough and tumble" with the other participant trying to prove it is, then please tell me that your own aikido looks like that in your dojo.
If not, can you tell me why it doesn't?
Well I'm sure in the days of samurai in that age of their budo it was imperitive to bow first (and not lose face) and also a match in those days, in that environment, would have to be seen in it's context rather than modern day context when using the word. The result of such a thing would be death. Persons of that ilk, which I call the real fundamental martial attitude, boy do they respect. The attitude wouldn't be much different to the old English gentleman, take ten paces, turn, fire.
Ueshiba for instance trained to kill before the war as did those doing that kind of martial art. It was to kill, not to contest or test or play. That type of mindset also is a kind of no competition mindset too for it is only a do or die mindset. Thus their harsh training was do well or get hurt badly.
So Aikido technique wise and indeed and especially mindset wise did indeed have it's roots re: daito ryu etc., especially the sword work and thus swordsman or weapon man attitude.
So when someone wanting conflict full of bravado and mouth and any other disrespectful thing challenges I myself am not interested. To me they are not worthy and in fact are too cowardly to be honest. Show me someone who bows so to speak or gives immovable respect and I'll show you someone I see as more than worthy.
You are right in one respect therefor that it was not a real match. I would say it was much more real to the American guy for he was trying his best but as you say yourself Tohei was just showing a little, a principle of gentleness.....that's all. That principle of gentleness was part of his Aikido was it not? Just that small part was enough to satisfy and also give the American something to think about was it not? He thus got an answer to his question didn't he? Plus a little bonus of course at the end, one finger wasn't it? So it was a little demo of a small part of the art answering a question.
The fault as I see it is once again people. The fact he asked for how it would do in a rough and tumble doesn't mean the person agreeing is then going to enter into a rough and tumble. No, he entered and kept to a few certain principles only. Thus one was doing rough and tumble while the other was doing something he didn't understand.
Can you not see that asking how Aikido would do in a rough and tumble is like asking how would no competition do in a competition? That was the demo. Yet the real demo of course was via Ueshiba himself, as I recall I was amazed when he seemed to drag the guy like he was a weightless rag doll.
As far as seeing Aikido training looking like that I've seen plenty and I'm sure you have too if you think about it. It usually happens after training when people are experimenting it also happens when someone is testing theirself against let's say an experienced wrestler or judoka and both are let's say for arguments sake about second dan level or less. So things 'looking' the same I've seen plenty. So once again you are right for it wasn't what would be called training.
So back to life and principles. Rather than getting stuck in the view of if you agree to partake when someone wants a match or competition means you have entered into a match or competition look at it this way. What about just agreeing, unbeknown to the other, to have some fun.
I once used to go play a board game called Risk on a friday night. Boy were they all into competition and outwitting and all the usual. They just couldn't work me out. I didn't care for I knew what I was doing, I was having fun just playing. It freaked them out really because they couldn't see how I was having fun and not caring as to whether I won or lost. So it's a choice. I could play that game to win or to enjoy.
So that's an introduction to the concept of game. A match is a game, a contest is a game. The opponent is thus playing a game. Why play his game? When you do you have entered the contest. When you don't you haven't. I demonstrated this point to a boxer last year. I told him when he asked a similar question re: if he used boxing. I said if I competed with him he would win every time. I even showed him. Of course I had no chance. I then sparred with him wher I did what would really be called keeping ma-ai but mixed with mirroring everything he did. It was a no contest. No winner, no loser. Then I did a demo of Aikido. Again no contest but this time others would consider I was the winner.
I did not enter his game, his competition, his considered match.
Have you not ever experienced doing similar and being met with a response of 'yeah but you use Ki, or you used that stuff you do or similar? In other words "you didn't play by the rules!" Thus, enter those rules and you are indeed in a competition, a match. That's a different game.
So as I see it potentially there is a state of no competition, a state of continuous winning. Thus there is a state also of no match no matter what the other is doing or how it's perceived by anyone watching.
Now I don't know your view on what I am about to say but I will give you my view anyway.
The state of continuous winning is similar but not the same as beneficent intention and universal love. For me it is part of 'true' aikido (as we all like to call it) but is purely the expression of active non resistance. To make it even harder to grasp is the fact that all aspects including beneficent intention and love are also non resistive. Thus all is potentially divine.
To put it succinctly your way of Aikido or the main core of it that you talk about and demo I would equate with a fan. The pure non resistance I speak of is more a life giving sword. So most times when watching Ueshiba I see a sword dance and later in life more fan. However I never see competition.)
Give me a couple more lifetimes and I'll come and show you