Re: Is two Days a week enough?
So, no, I didn't read every message in this thread in detail. At some point it became repetitive and redundant.
Still, I get the gist of the ideas presented here. A gestalt, if you will. And I have some opinions of my own:
Ledyard Sensei: In one of your early posts in the thread you made the point about all major Aikidoka having at some point in their training gone through a period of super-intense (my description) training. I think this is key. That bit of above-average - even for themselves - training affects the way they train ever after. Even more casual training they do later is intensified by that period.
Several people have made the point that some training can be done outside the dojo. I agree. But only if you are actually prepared to do that training. That preparation doesn't happen by magic. See my above comments regarding Ledyard Sensei's point.
From my own personal experience: I had to stop going to the dojo for several years. I fell prey to the Silicon Valley Work Ethic. Consider all the criticisms Ledyard Sensei has about the American obsession with work and amplify it a few times, that covers it. But when I went back to Aikido I found I had somehow improved considerably over those years. Huh?
1) This improvement was in no way comparable to what would have happened had I been able to continue training over those years.
2) Early in my training there was a very intense, five-days-a-week stretch that lasted for two and half years.
3) I continued to perform a lot of the exercises I had learned and studied on my own as much as I could.
Then I went and did another three years of five-days-a-week training. And guess what...
...I improved even faster. Now I'm back to having other time commitments and I'm sure I'm not improving the way I'd like to.
The point here, I think, is that you can make some progress in individual training. I think, in fact, it's a requirement. Part of the commitment. But there is some training that requires a teacher and training partners. It's certainly possible to overtrain, but short periods of very intense training will make you better.
The biggest concern with individual training is the person who goes through the motions and doesn't really understand what he or she is working at. You can't train yourself without the training to know how to train and the commitment to actually do it.