When we opened the new dojo in Allentown, I sat down to try to write a short description of what distinguishes Kinokawa Aikido. I wanted to avoid pretentiously explaining “what makes it better,” because starting down that path will instantly close off the minds of certain readers. Instead, I wanted to lay out the hallmarks of Kinokawa so that readers could get a sense of the style at a glance.
There is a bit more at Aikido on the dojo’s web site. But here is the part about honesty:
A second hallmark of Kinokawa Aikido is that is honest — in the sense of being interested in honestly exploring Aikido as a high intensity [physical and mental], combat effective, applicable to your daily life, sort of practice. In fairness, practitioners of hard type martial arts will generally not consider any sort of Aikido as combat effective or workable in a real world scenario. (Obviously, we disagree with such a prejudged assessment.) But setting aside the judgement (does Aikido work, or not, in real application?), it is the goal of honestly exploring those concepts, within the framework of Aikido, which is a critical feature of Kinokawa.
…and here are some similar thoughts from Tom Collings, from Responding to Aggression – Part 2:
… The rule of thumb in military and police training, established through exhaustive battlefield and police critical incident research is: “if it takes long to learn, it probably won’t work under stress.” Yet, as black belt martial artists we take great pride in the techniques that took us many years to master, and it would be unthinkable at the dojo to teach only what is easily learned. Who would that impress? The other rule is: “practice what you will need to perform.” That means our training must very closely match what we will confront.
Do those of us in the aiki arts really believe that assaults commonly occur by someone running up reaching for our wrist, or striking at us from above their head as if holding a sword? I guess we do because we devote most of our valuable training time to these scenarios. If it is obvious that modern day assaults are very different from these classical style attacks why do we not modify our curriculum more in line with what we will actually confront?