Charles Hill wrote:
Thank you for your excellent article. In it, you say that O`Sensei took various pieces to form his own style. You also say that various Aikido teacher`s weapons systems emphasize different things and have different feels. Do you think that we, as students, should do as O`Sensei did and look for bits and pieces? Or do you think we should chose one style, at least for a good length of time, and focus on it before exploring other systems?
Frankly, I don't know. There are a number of weapons systems out there which were developed from within the Aikido umbrella. If you think of yourself primarily as an Aikidoka, as I do, then one or more of those systems may be enough.
On the other hand, if you want to really be a swordsman, it would be a good idea to do a real sword style like Katori Shinto Ryu or Kashima Ryu. There just aren't very many legitimate places to do this however.
I would rather do my own thing with a weapon, where at least I know that that is what I am doing, than get stuck training with some charlatan and spend a bunch of years learning garbage. While I have taken elements from the classical systems I studied briefly and have also incorprated ideas from various videos I have in my collection, I still use Saotome Sensei's sword forms as the basis for my practice but there is quite a bit of drift as I discover various things for myself and adjust my technique accordingly.