Aikido and Weapons: The Connection
I regard recognizing that the techniques, tactics, and strategy of aikido are designed to be used in a weapons context as one of the most important realizations one can make about aikido.
Although Iwama style aikido has its flaws, I believe having an Iwama background made it easier for me to understand this connection. Another factor was my interest in boxing, Muay Thai, and mma, which provided a contrast (amongst other things). And of course, my general inquisitive and logical nature.
Once you embrace this idea, and begin to see just how deep the connection is, the potential for so many practices that truly develop the skills of aikido is released. While in theory these practices are always available, the weapons context allows one to apply the principles of the art while using the recognizable techniques without confusion.
The funny thing is that this idea is not original, and it's really quite obvious. In retrospect, I can't believe it took me over 3 years of daily practice for it to begin to sink in.
Reading the comments in some recent threads shows that this is a worthwhile topic for discussion.
What impact does our understanding of the martial context of aikido have on our practices?
If we do not understand the martial context of our art, how can we genuinely develop the specific skills of that art?
If we accept the intimate relationship between aikido and weapons, what are the implications for a modern practitioner? (Think: Will aikido work in the cage?; But I don't carry weapons; I practice aikido to experience harmony of movement; etc.)