Without this, No Aikido
What is mandatory for Aikido? What is it that we simply cannot do without? What thing or aspect, if it is absent, forces us to be unable to say, "We do Aikido?"
We can debate about technique, but if we our technique is void of "aiki" (i.e. harmonizing yin and yang, blending, non-resistance, utilizing opposing energies for own purposes, etc.), or if we outright say that we seek not to harmonize yin and yang, not to blend, not to employ non-resistance, not to utilize opposing energies for own purposes, etc., can we still say we are doing Aikido? I would say, "no." What do you all think?
Equally, can we not be concerned about Aikido's spiritual elements? Again, we can debate over what "spirit" might mean, and/or we can debate over the primacy and/or the percentage of training time that we should commit to spiritual matters vs. martial matters, or we can even debate over the position that there is no "vs." about it, etc. However, can we still say we do Aikido when we neither possess nor opt to seek to possess a cultivated state wherein we see a union of all things, where we understand that the spirit of Man as his/her most valuable aspect, where we experience a brotherhood of Man, where there is some sense of the Divine and/or some Great Center to everything and everyone? Can we still be doing Aikido when we have no relationship between our hope, our faith, ourselves, and some sort of moral experience that we are suppose to share socially? Again, I would say, "no." What do you all think?
If I were to press the issue and ask myself what then is one doing in such cases, I would answer the following: In the first case, one merely attempting to fight and/or defend themselves crudely -- where their chances for victory are greatly dependent upon them being stronger than their opponent and/or lucky. In the second case, I would say one is just practicing the same thing as in the first case. I say this because I feel that Osensei had a reason, a very good one, a very practical one, for equating the tactical application of aiki with the spiritual exploration of aiki. What do you all think? What do you get when you leave out these things, if you want to say that it would not be Aikido?