Brion Toss wrote:
Here's an analogy:
I work in a large old wooden building. It was built in the 1930's, and in its life it has housed a bowling alley, movie theater, truck repair facility, fire hall, guitar maker, cabinetmaker, and currently is host to a sail loft, rigging loft, and a shop that builds and repairs wooden boats. In the course of accommodating all of these pursuits, the building has had to adapt, with walls being moved, floors put in and taken out, wiring rerouted, etc. But it has always been recognizably the same building, not just from how it looks from the outside, but how it feels inside (this from people who were here when it was new). There is something about its character that persists, no matter how much people mess with it.
Your analogy coincides with my belief that Aikido moves outwardly from the student rather than being fed into the student. Each student, therefore leaves his or her indelible imprint on the art and through it all the art remains recognizable as Aikido. Since I believe that the study of Aikido is a student's process of self discovery and that the process is different for each practitioner, my conclusion is that there is no 'right' or 'wrong' Aikido; there's simply Aikido. The instructor provides the scaffold of basic principles and each student, through dedicated training, then adds to the edifice. As O-Sensei stated, Aikido is an art that encompasses all and embraces everything.