In the last year I started training again in Aikido after a several year break which involved one year of some very relaxed Cheng Hsin sessions. After that I just could not practice Aikido anymore or anything else. I am 4th kuy.
I find Aikido very very limiting (and limited) in comparison to Cheng Hsin but there is no teacher around me and I have no partner to practice. I am keeping on with my Aikido but realise its many many weaknesses.
Many people have written about the issues with Aikido and I believe that in general if one does not have a couple of dans, they are really not effective.
I am interested in learning how to become more effective in a martial art / self development sense by using only Aikido, if this is possible, but also considering the option of learning another system to complement Aikido's "holes".
It is a real pity to see people with a shodan, that have to rely on force (a lot of it) in order to go through with a technique. Anyway I am a bit sad about this degradation of the art, but we have to work with what we have.
I see the following problems :
1) No real sparing, no real feedback. (Foundational problem)
2) No real atemi. (Degraded Aikido)
3) The whole system works from the outside in, not from the inside out.(i.e. one need many years of practice in order to grasp the basics) (Foundational problem)
For now, I am focusing on n2, which is the horrible use of atemi in the dojo. It is one of the things that the founder of the art was insisting be done properly. In all of the dojos i've been it is a joke.
Since I am only 4th kuy I am wondering if some more experienced aikidokas can share their experience regarding the training of atemi. Do they train? How? Do they teach it? How? It is not just for fun that people in boxing, twd, karate, kickboxing etc, learn to hit. The "hits" must be practiced. No?
In any case since no one has ever taught me how to do a proper atemi, I decided that I need to train that elsewhere. For this reason I am considering taking additional boxing classes or another striking (hard) martial art.
I know there are always mixed views on this but I am mainly interested in hearing what the aikido purists have to say about that. Especially what they would recommend, if there is something, to do inside the framework of Aikido.
All the best.