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O Sensei spent a great deal of his time in early and later life not in the dojo -- but on his farm. George Ledyard Sensei has attributed this to a desire to be more connected to nature as part of O Sensei's overall spiritual journey. http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/gledyard/2004_06.html
I think that this overlooks a less mystical and far more practical contribution of farming to the development of kokyu power as a physical sensibility. My critique is not a fault lying in the training or curriculum of any lineage, but is a systemic condition of the cirsumstance in which they find themselves teaching. The critique is common to all aikido training -- in Japan Europe or the United States, i.e.-- wherever aikido is typically practiced -- which is in cities. Almost none of their students do agricultural labor, and very few do any significant routine physical labor at all.
This may seem trivial so to some of you. I assure you it is not. Saotome Shihan and Ikeda Shihan both find a strong commonality in Ushiro Sensei's Okinawan karate budo with that of Aikido. The only direct connection between Kenji Ushiro Sensei -- a master of Okinawan karate -- and O Sensei is in fact the common element of farming. Okinawan arts are famously derived from the tools and movements common to the farmers of Okinawa, who were were prohibited from possessing ordinary weapons.
If I am correct, then this, in itself, explains the complaint by so many that the "basic" or kokyu skills of bod