Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?
I believe aikido is a tool that unifies yourself to the world around you in all of your endeavors. However, we are not doing O'Sensei's aikido. But wasn't that his intention?
1. I believe the socio-political, physical, and training conditions surrounding the Founder's fighting education are almost [if not] impossible to re-create. The educational curriculum to which O'Sensei was exposed does not exist in aikido (if it even exists in entirety any longer).
2. I believe the aikido O'sensei wished to give the world was devoid of the requirements of combat and fighting science so that citizens could participate in training without the need for more severe training methods. Not less martial, only devoid of the severe combat training required to development necessary fighting skills considered prerequisite to aikido training.
3. As a religious man, O'Sensei used his faith as the paradigm in which to transmit his teaching to others later in his life. That does not mean aikido is religious or spiritual (in the Western sense).
I believe the aikido O'Sensei wanted to share still exists, although not mainstream. Put it next to the polar bears and spotted owls on the endangered list. In deconstructing some of the aikido history and urban knowledge, this topic rates high on the list of things that need to be re-evaluated. I advocate this type of dialogue is confusing to many practitioners because it requires a significant educational pre-requisite to reduce the risk of mis-interpreting the issue. I analogize these progressive arguments to that of teaching math. Calculus exists, but to a middle school child calculus is beyond his comprehension. In progressive education paradigms we place math before algebra, algebra before calculus and so on. Aikido does not recognize that some concepts are beyond comprehension at early stages in training. And as adults, we'll be da%#ed if someone is gonna tell us we don't know what we are doing...even if we don't.
Many modern shihan have translated into a new educational paradigm the aikido they learned from O'Sensei. Still more modern leaders are now translating their learning into a better educational paradigm. We keep centering our entire educational development [evaluation] around the accomplishments of an anomaly delivering a broken curriculum using a Eastern religious paradigm.
Some of the aikido leaders I enjoy focus on these points. These leaders understand that aikido needs a [better] learning structure. They alter their teaching paradigm to deliver better content in a logical order and they seek to reduce the need for severe training to preserve the body.