Re: Kata and Aikido
from a not-so-far advanced aikido student and a complete karate beginner's point of view, katas are DIFFICULT.
As a beginner you do not understand what the moves are good for if there is no second person against whom you are defending yourself. You just helplessly try to adjust your movements a bit more to the right, left, turn in an angle of 270° instead of 240°, but you don't have a clue what that's good for until you do it with a partner.
We have the 31 kata in aikido, and in our dojo we also do an adaptation in 21 steps. After 5 years of aikido I did the 31 first time with a partner, and it was only then that I got a bit of understanding how exactly I should perform these moves. Last Friday I did (in karate) Heian Shodan for the first time with a partner, and again this helped greatly for understanding what is really the point of these movements.
Obviously the teachers tell us that all kata movements are meant as a defence against some attacks, but until one sees and experiences it, this remains purely theoretical. Then you would need a partner who knows all the attacks necessary for the partnered kata...
I don't write all this in order to say, no, please let's don't do kata in aikido, but I think IF we do them, then our learning would greatly be enhanced by doing them not only alone, but from time to time also with a partner. And this is, in my experience, often not systematically done.
All the best,