Re: "The Strongest Technique in Aikido"
Compliant training or not, we are not simply talking about developing the physical skills necessary to dispatch an attacker. That is an issue that almost all other martial arts address, many of them much better than aikido. The question is whether and how aikido teaches people how to befriend a (real) attacker.
How does training with someone in a dojo environment long enough to become friends with them teach people how to do this? How is this different from making friends with people who do any other activity, and specifically how would it be different from other arts like judo, BJJ, or kendo? Wouldn°«t these arts also teach people how to °»become friends with the one who attacked you" if someone trained in them long enough to become friends with other dojo members?
If someone claimed that BJJ teaches people how to submit a single unarmed attacker in a grappling situation, then there wouldn°«t be much debate, since this is what the training is obviously designed to do and does quite well. But if someone claimed that the strongest technique in BJJ is to disarm an opponent with a live sword using only your bare hands, most people would rightly be skeptical. The training does not reflect that.
My experience in having trained in aikido for many years, and with dozens of different teachers, is that the claim that the strongest technique in aikido is how to become friends with one's attacker is not supported by the training I have encountered in the large US aikido organizations, nor is the ability to perform this °»technique°… manifest amongst either the leaders or membership of these organization. Many of them cannot even get along on a friendly basis with people are who not attacking them.
The only claim about (aikikai) aikido that I would say could be substantiated by the actual training is that it teaches people how to perform impressive-looking, flowing techniques on a compliant partner. Although I think the concept of befriending an attacker does have a place in aikido training, I do not see it being taught or demonstrated in the art that is called "aikido" today. Simply claiming that it is the strongest technique means nothing unless you can also do it and teach others how to do it.