Re: Working on aiki in traditional aikido class
Actually, to go strictly back to the subject of the thread, I don't think one CAN work on aiki in a traditional aikido class except perhaps for oneself.
Traditional aikido classes are not really structured for real learning, IMO, they are places to play and experiment with knowledge and skills gained from direct hand-on coaching and practice.
I'm personally not a fan of the traditional aikido class and I was breaking out of it before I changed directions. IMO, they are too fast paced, with not enough CLEAR explanation or real transmission of 'how stuff works', not enough repetition (4 times, right left, then switch roles, really!?!), and most people are not really doing what the leader was demonstrating in the first place even if/when it was good stuff (I can no longer bring myself to call them an instructor or teacher without seeing something more).
I know lots of people who are trying or have tried to break out of that mold, but I know lots more who get their panties in a bundle if you do. I don't think they'd care for the way I train today because I can't/dont' count how many repetitions we do before changing roles, and we are constantly working on learning on how to simulate fast movement while moving a slowly as we are currently capable.
So.. if it isn't clear, my thought is that you shouldn't even try to incorporate aiki into a traditional aikido class.. if aiki is what is important to you, change how you train and forget about a tradition that is hardly old enough to be truly 'time honored'.