Aikido is a modern martial art with very deep traditional roots. The syllabus is organized in a very straight-forward manner. Body positions, alignment, attacks, and techniques.
Progressing through the ranks involves learning and demonstrating understanding of these four aspects of Aikido.
Instruction / Focus
Traditional Aikido follows a standard process of instruction. The instructor (Sensei) will demonstrate a technique or technique component (such as posture, movement, etc) often with a training partner (Uke). After demonstrating the lesson several times the instructor will ask if there are any questions, then the class will break up in pairs to practice what was shown.
The goal is to copy as closely as possible the movements and emphasis that the instructor demonstrated. At the end of the session the instructor will point out any areas that he feels need to be re-emphasized.
Basically the method is - Demonstrate, Practice, Correct
Traditional Aikido instruction is intended to teach the standard techniques and fundamentals involved in a comprehensive understanding of the syllabus.
Attacks are traditional as are responses. Classes work through the various situations defined in the syllabus. When considering the 'why' of a given technique the answer is more about alignment with the demonstrated form than practical self defense applications.
Traditional practice leads to a deep understanding of the fundamentals of Aikido.
Traditional Aikido teaches discipline, self control, anger management, flexibility and other valuable skills.