I've been kinda loitering through these posts for a while. I think the part that I find most annoying is the use of the words like "strong skilled attacks are never emphasized". Have you ever heard the expression "never say never"? Good lord, there are literally thousands of Aikido dojo in the US. Many different styles. Many different sensei with just as many different ideas. One distinctive feature of aikido in my experience is that there is a huge variety of practice ranging from fluffy aikibunny shooting ki balls stuff to firebreathing aikidragons tearing up ligaments. It may come as a shock to you but some out there do train at intense levels. No, you're not going to see it in beginning or intermediate classes where it is practiced but once you're well trained you will find it as some places. No, not everywhere, but some of us do push up the intensity to 11 and try to work to failure. You're not exactly the first person who has decided to push their own boundaries. Don't cha think maybe the problem isn't with Aikido as much as it is simply about different approaches and different goals? Not everyone wants to go there. Fine. More power to them. I like to push my own limits of my skills. And I've had the bruises and injuries to prove it. But that's just how I approach it. No better, no worse, just different. Aikido is vastly too diverse and vastly too far ranging to make such simplistic generalizations.
And the irony here is that I somewhat agree with the sentiment a bit. I think O-sensei had a level of prosaic intensity to back up his more poetic tendancies. The same is true of some of his deshi. And I think the same is still true today with some. I *personally* don't enjoy the more "aiki-bunny" styles but I fully understand its just because that's not for me. I enjoyed Judo. I enjoyed wrestling. I enjoyed busting stuff up in karate until I managed to hurt my hands badly. Now that I'm in my 40's I still enjoy intense practice, but I also appreciate the grace and elegance of well done aikido. I agree that it must have a substantial base upon which to rest. So all that said... I'm not exactly one of the aiki-bunny kinda guys (one of my sensei called me Anakin one day if that's any hint). But I do strongly and whole heartedly reject these sorts of absolute pronouncements. And the idea that one way is the only "correct" way. It just depends on how you want to get where you're going...
If you find the aikido you've taken to be empty or lacking the intensity you want, for god's sake leave and find someone more to your liking. But unless you've hit every style out there and trained with every sensei teaching it is pretty shallow and short sighted to make such sweeping generalizations.
Okay, I feel better now. Back to the regularly scheduled whining.
"Aikido Masters Volume 1, Shioda Sensei said today's Aikido was dimensionless, empty of content and nothing more than an imitation of the real thing."
"Really Something to think about" Someone of his stature saying that, wow! Not my words, but someone with Aikido authority. I think I will listen to Sensei Shioda.