I've had a few days to recover from the Jet lag, coach seating (oy my shoulders and knees!), and the shock of returning to cold Japan from sunny warm Kailua. (Oh cooing doves, how I miss thee). I handed out the omiyage to friends and co-workers, caught up on a few meetings at work, getting back in the groove of things. It's also taken me this long to begin to collect my thoughts on the experience and the working model of IP and Aiki as taught at the seminar. Now a little personal background. For about, ohh just now 23 years or so I have been training in Aikido. For 19 of those years I have been an Iwama style guy. During that time I've devoted quite a large chunk of my life to the art, at one point I quit my job to become an uchi deshi with a high ranking instructor. I've turned down opportunites for promotion at work in order to keep up my training schedule at the old dojo. I've taken ukemi from a bunch of the big boys. I was once violently assaulted on the street and successfully defended myself against my attacker using solely Aikido (kokyu ho of all things, guy never saw it coming). And once, yes, I did walk four miles uphill in the snow just to get to the dojo. Well, maybe it was three and a half miles, but you get the point. I'm kind of an Iwamaniac.
So, now to the nitty gritty. Given all that, what did I think of the seminar and this whole IP deal? Well... as I've explained, I've been training for 23 years or so. I'm 41 now. So, for more than half of my life I've been doing this art and for just under half I've been in Iwama style exclusively.
Honest opinion: I learned more about Aikido this past weekend than I have in all of my 23 years of practice. Being given access to this training model is simply transcendental. There is no other way to say it, this is Takemusu Aikido. And, it DOES NOT negate that which I already know, it does not negate the legacy of Saito Sensei and my years in the Iwama tradition, in fact it illuminates all of it in such a way as to show us how we should be training. This is the power we've been seeking for years but could never achieve, no matter how hard we pushed ourselves in training or how much sciatic nerve crushing ukemi we took. IP is everything we got into Aikido for in the first place, it can be supremely soft and just stunningly devastating in the same moment. To put it another way, "This. F***ing. Rules!"
To open this up into a broader topic for discussion that is a bit more removed from the personalities/events involved and engender more comments... I would say that particular snippet of your musings I find very significant, and I would like to dissect it a bit.
So the question is, if the content of IP/aiki work is so distinct from what your aikido training focused upon, then what things, more specifically, within your aikido training had you been spending most of your time on and why do you feel they did not impart to you what this material did, in a weekend, no less?
So, more or less, as a theme: what can you say about aikido, as it is, that is not built upon nor expedient for the instilling of IP/aiki that you saw?