I think you are over intellectualising it. It is - the Way of Aiki. And aiki is what aiki is. You can't translate it - you have to I think you are over intellectualising it. It is - the Way of Aiki. And aiki is what aiki is. You can't translate it - you have to search for it and put it (aiki) into your Aikido techniques. Then, you have Aikido. If you put it into your Jujutsu techniques, then you have Aiki-jutsu. There is no reason why you could not put it into Judo either. Without aiki all you have is a bunch of waza. You may develop some aiki accidentally as you train, but if you recognise Aikido as the Way of Aiki, you will target it (aiki) and be more likely to succeed. And to those who ask, 'What is aiki?' ... it means they are 'off the track' for sure, and I could not easly answer as words are useless. But 'What is aiki?' is the only question they should be asking. Then, they are ready to seek.
I am now of the opinion that you could do Aikido for 50 years and simply, not be doing Aikido at all.
Yesterday in the morning class I now have returned to conduct I started off by saying that I was going to "share" my "vision" of Aikido with them.....I was not going to "give" them my "version" of Aikido. To me sharing is different than giving and having a vision of something is different that having a version.
To me waza is hooked to version and is only a tool to move past as a single focus. As a major focus waza ties one to the version being taught and slows the process of individual vision.
Aiki and what it opens up should be the focus after initially getting past waza. As my friend John has noted....the levels are waza, movement, internal training and Aiki.
I agree with Rupert....and what he sez fits with Johns progression. Most start with waza and never leave it. Add in some movement that is necessary to make the waza work in the training area...............
Of course this has all been discussed many times here........with each of us remaining on the side of the discussion that we have always taken.
I am ok with that. 40 years on I am still trying to polish my vision of Aikido......