Re: Article: Ellis Amdur, "The Use of Weapons in Aikido Training"
In some sense, I feel that the ethos that was granted to some of the earlier practitioners is being challenged in the newer generations. When pressed, I think we have a difficult time differentiating our weapons work from weapons-based arts. When further pressed, I think we have a difficult time proving our weapons work holds up against "non-aikido" attacks. So we're all about combat unless we fight someone that knows something, then it's a teaching tool.
We have dropped our weapons component for while after researching the role of weapons in aikido and how our weapons work translates into other systems. Mostly, I concluded that we [aikido] don't know what we are; there is a schizophrenia to our collective opinion on weapons in aikido that lead me to abstain from taking on any one perspective. There are individuals and dojos which break this assumption and I don't take issue with those exceptions. Nor do I think this is necessarily a bad thing to have to revisit what we do and why.
I think that generally, we are caught between putting up and shutting up. I think most of what we do with weapons is not "aiki", nor is it functional weapons work. We know it's not aiki, but we kinda hope to bluff our way through functional... until someone shows up and says, "Really? I play swords, too." Because of this perspective, I keep pretty close to a few people I think are doing good work and I shut up.
I think there are people who practice using weapons. I am not sure why we need to say that we do that also. In as much as someone doing weapons should be able to work out with us and say, "well, you got something going on that I can't figure out."