Re: 5+ years with "IP/IT/IS"
Mark did say he was interested in going to a BJJ or judo place, to check on things.
Demetrio, competetive practice aside, what progress would you expect to be described within the cooperative context? Would you agree that the maximum observable progress is something like what Mark, Greg and Jaemin described-- being hard to throw, not having balance taken, etc? I mean it's not like someone is going to say I could never do ikkyo before but since I met Dan now I can ikkyo all day long.
I just mean because in aikido you are generally not stopped from succeeding. In aikido, you can even ikkyo with one finger only-- as long as that is what sensei showed, most of your attempts will work, with or without IP.
Anyway I agree that a more free environment is the real testing ground. Though at some point, you should be able to go to an aikido dojo and have your own internal feedback as to how "well" you are doing, even if it is not something to talk about here (I was able to stay connected through 90% of the movements today, or that kind of thing).