There can no doubt also that a little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing.
The more recent obsession with an excess of “taking ukemi,” only one way of testing efficaciousness, in this case that of kuzushi only, seems to have swamped the other benefits of Aikido training.
Another thing all but forgotten, in the wake of nonsensical excuse making philosophies, is the hard fact that the progenitors of Aikido, including the Founder himself, the main focus was on that of surviving extreme violence, above all else.
If one trains honestly on this basis, the fringe benefits are many. Dishonestly practiced these remain a mere wish which will remain unrequited and out of reach.
Practice focusing on precision, within natural limits, without invoking extreme action can trigger natural healing restoration from conditions which otherwise tend to cause the decay of mind and body sometimes referred to as ageing.
I would go as far as to suggest, that it may, over time, to some extent, influence stem cell behaviour in a beneficial way. If even in the least, but not insignificant measure.
The number of people who do not train fully as combat, but rather as a partner yoga/dance without ukemi, despite injuries, ill health and disease and show remarkable levels of recovery would indicate that the worth of Aikido, whilst superlative as combat once properly understood, in fact goes beyond this.
Many have so restored themselves as a result that over time, they became able to eventually embrace a more fuller and complete level of training.
This impressive array of recoveries and personal transformations, speaks for itself. Considered “anecdotal” only because no sufficient research has been mounted, the relevant individuals need no convincing.
Aikido is an art for healing body, mind, psyche and society. It also teaches to convert your disadvantages into advantage and maximize human potential.
Still, Aikido is more than “self-defence.” It is also an intense yoga that triggers many potentials other bodywork only does in part. Aikido’s interactional bodywork such is play fighting among friends, which when consistently practised, can contain a rather complete spectrum of physical training possibilities including; elements of free movement, can be aerobic and cardiovascular as well as anaerobic, incorporates some elements of resistance training (isotonic and isometric) and constantly deals with variable and unexpected dynamics each movement (kinetics and isokinetics), includes retro-gravity negative resistance, plyometic exercise and as well as developing muscle synergy, flexibility and muscle tone, speed of body to eye co-ordination, equilibrium and adaptivity. This must have physical health benefits. But importantly, we also work with the body-mind connection or chi/ki and thereby rediscover our innate potentials over time.
At whatever level or intensity you can practice, Aikido contributes to making a human being whole.