Re: What comes after Aikido?
Very interesting thread. I'm not the voice of experience, but this thread reminds me of the cliche "failing to prepare is preparing to fail."
I would expect that if your training is solely comprised of kata, you'd be suprised by a situation where your technique fails, and it might catch you off guard. However, if you've incorporated randori in your training, maybe you'll have been in situations where your technique failed multiple times, and be better prepared to improvise?
Our sensei rotates us through 3 levels of training, roughly:
1) kata (the foundation)
2) randori w/ mild resistance (the application)
3) randori w/ full resistance (the reality check)
For level 3, uke wears boxing gloves and nage wears head gear and a mouth piece. =)
I really like this multi-level approach, because I think it helps me find out what I know, and more importantly, what I think I know, but really don't. =)
My sensei learned this approach from Meritt Stevens Shihan, who taught Aikido and self defense to the department of corrections officers in Ohio. I'm guessing that other dojo's have similar approaches?