So much information here!
Some good - some not.
Ai-Ki-Do...By definition Aikido is fixed. (shock horror blasphemy) Harmonise the man using the principles of the Tao to create a manifestation of Ki via a form.
Not exactly my words but those of the longest practicing European Aikidoka. (started in 1952 I believe).
Aikido is what it is. 10,000 forms but each one striving to achieve the above.
To find this we repetitively practice the same moves to perfect them and when everything is in place we can achieve the mythical goal of Aikido anf have a form that contains Ki. Well maybe not all of us...
When I say everything in place I mean; (on a basic level)
Kamai...call it positional relationship
Tai sabaki...Body movement
Kokyoho Rokyuho...Blending or harmonising
These are the bases of Aikido regardless of the form. You can have a great ikkyo with real power. But if you apply it by standing directly in front of uke your Kamai is bad and your gonna get hit. So not good Aiki.
If you apply the same without irimi to destroy ukes posture chances are a reverse elbow is on its way.
I describe it like the ingrdients of a cake (don't laugh ...I do)...Miss out the sugar and it just won't taste right.
So there is good and bad Aikido but the fault is not in the art but in its presentation...There are different ways to achieve and practice the forms to develop these bases above which will vary - everyone is unique with differnt physiques and personalities but the essence of Aikido cannot change.
I smile a bit at all the talk of O'Sensei changing Aikido. It cannot change.
Sure, He refined his teaching style..He will have matured with age. Sure he practiced 'harder' when he was younger...because he WAS younger!
But that doesn't mean everyone else has to practice like an old man...A point that was largely missed by those who choose to copy rather than understand the art.
On a philosophical level I remember being told to counter hard attacks with softer enveloping moves and visa-versa.
I don't for a second think this applies just to Aikido either.
Aikido is soft when it needs to be and hard when it needs to be...