Re: Aikido and Weapons: The Connection
"After all, why do those forms exist if they must be adapted beyond recognition or dispatched outright in a "real fight"?"
--I think this is an important point to ponder. I think some people have an idea that aikido techniques are actual fighting techniques that should be applicable to attackers outside the dojo in the same form that they appear within the dojo, but I'm not so sure that's true. Maybe ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo, et al are simply forms that help us to condition our bodies into well-connected units capable of force reception/generation and kuzushi. Once this connected body is forged and the internal principles embodied, the forms themselves might become somewhat unimportant. Perhaps our goal in training should not be to "do ikkyo" to anyone, but rather to instantly unbalance anyone at (or even before?) the moment of contact, to be able to deliver devastating strikes without sacrificing our own balance, to become progressively more difficult to throw or lock.
For a fairly tortured analogy, think of Ushiro Sensei. I believe I've heard him say more than once that the secret of his stuff can be found in the Sanchin Kata. However, I strongly doubt that when confronted by attackers on the mean streets of Out There, he's going to immediately start performing the kata.
There may be more available within the forms of this art than simple waza.