Ted Ehara wrote:
When we take your list of names that are described as following the founder's spiritual practice, we need to eliminate everyone who is not devoted to Omotokyo. This is not to discount any other spiritual practice, but to acknowledge O Sensei's devotion to this particular Shinto sect.
From this shorter list we need to see who has followed the core of the founder's practice of learning directly from a kami and/or other spiritual persona. To my knowledge no one has made such a public declaration. Additionally I have not heard of one person on the short list, who has been possessed by a kami and/or other spiritual persona.
First of all, I have no interest in splitting hairs about the differences between Omotokyo and more orthodox Shinto practice of the type pursued by someone like Hikitsuchi Sensei. It is the spirit of what O-sensei had in mind for Aikido, not the letter so to speak...
Second, the issue of being possed by a kami or other spiritual persona... it is the height of ridiculousness to say that one must use an identical descrptive set of references if one is to pursue some sort of Spiritual Path via Aikido. I believe that there are many alternatives available that would have been quite acceptable to the Founder and the wouldn't have had to be identical to his. The Omotokyo / Shinto set of references were his particular way of thinking about the world, he never imposed that set of views on his students.
If O-Sensei had expected that every student duplicate his spiritual practice he would have insisted that they do so and he clearly didn't do that. I think that it was his expectation that his students pursue a type of Aikido that was beyond mere physical practice and many of the deshi failed to do this... But I see no evidence whatever that he tried to make his students duplicate his practices; rather he modeled a form of Aikido, in his art and in his life, for them to see. He expected them to find their own process in all of this.
Thirdly, no one is talking about another Founder... when I talk about reinventing Aikido, my stated intention is to get back to an Aikido that has more of the Founder in it, both in terms of the technique itself and in terms of the art having an active spiritual, transformative aspect. I don't see that as "greedy" myself but if others do, then I will admit that I am very greedy indeed.