This "argument" is now like beating the blood out of a fossilized dead horse....
it feels good to be back in the fray
My statement that Michael clipped to start this thread, was pretty inelegantly put and I probably should have qualified as my own experience, rather than sounding like a generalisation applied to everyone.
I have happily taught my own students that which I have learnt from my teacher. I have been comfortable with the fact that much of what we do in aikido is 'stylised', the attacks are there to demonstrate and practice principles. They don't have to be totally realistic, just realistic enough to understand the point. Training with beginners is completely 'unreal', it has to be, how would they learn if it wasn't so. As we improve it can get more realistic, but aikido in and of itself is a collaboration between training partners, each style having its own particular norms. We all abide by the rules that we are taught by our own teacher/dojo.
In our case the primary goal is to achieve co-ordination of mind and body, which can then be applied to daily life. My own teacher long ago gave up teaching aikido as a 'self defence', preferring the training to be geared towards living a happier more congruent life.
I've never really been interested in the question/argument of whether aikido will work in a 'real' situation as both times I have been in imminent danger of getting my head kicked in, I used communication to resolve the situation (winning without fighting, maybe?).
I'm sure that when you first touched hands with DH, you had will have had a moment of questioning all that you knew, I know I did. The same thing happened with Corky.. I agree with you that although philosophy is interesting, it is with hands on, that one really finds out what reality is.
Anyway, thanks for your input, good to see you again