welcome back! what happened anyway? i scanned the forum yesterday but didn't notice anything pertaining to the downtime.
anyway, i posted up a few clips the other day pertaining to some moving step spinning hands stuff for those interested.
does aikido have any type of explicit footwork drills like what's in the first clip or does most of that type of training appear in the techniques themselves?
Very interesting. I was taught a solo musubi connection drill where you stick your wrists together and rotate them around one another alternately while keeping a "sticky" connection that has much the same feel as the "spinning hands" in the video. It shows how to express pressure while changing movement up to down or vice versa (or left to right or right to left) Irimi-tenkan ("enter -turn") principle, I would call it.
And yes, the aiki taiso are of this kind of body movement training (not 'footwork,' exactly, IMO). http://omlc.ogi.edu/aikido/dojo/aikitaiso.html
. But the techniques, which are set-piece affairs, are designed for a related purpose -- the difference (IMO) being that the aiki taiso show correct generic principles of movement and the footwork in techniques when done incorrectly reveals errors in applying those principles in the movement of the body.
The correction lies not in the foot work per se (who fights thinking about his feet?) but in correcting the use of the wrong principle of movement that caused the problem -- by going back and working on the aiki taiso until one feels how it applies. Rinse, repeat. Once the principles are correct techniques begin to blur into a continuum of expression depending on the precise interaction at connection.
This is a nice presentation of several typical aiki taiso: http://www.bodymindandmodem.com/KiEx/KiEx.html