Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?
This gets back to the question of what ritual is. People get attached to particular ritual because of the meaning they've assigned to it, which comes from the context they learned it in. All those elements of proper attitude, intentional practice, shugyo and misogi--which are, of course, valuable in themselves--become associated with the ritual in which they are embedded. It's perfectly reasonable to ask, if you throw out the ritual, how do you ensure you maintain the qualities the ritual points you towards. And I think it's fair to say that if you *don't* maintain those qualities, you have a nice sport but not a martial art.