When I read what others write about the founder, I wonder if they are writing about Morihei Ueshiba. Your viewpoint is almost totally foreign to the way I understand him to be.
George S. Ledyard wrote:
It is the spirit of what O-sensei had in mind for Aikido, not the letter so to speak...
George S. Ledyard wrote:
...rather he modeled a form of Aikido, in his art and in his life, for them to see.
O Sensei had nothing in mind for Aikido and he did not model a form of Aikido. I fail to see how you can make those assumptions.
Many people believe that O Sensei was a Wizard of Oz who thought up and created aikido. Somehow students have always ignored "the man behind the curtain" pulling levers and pushing the buttons of various techniques. Perhaps if you looked closely at his art, you could find what he was pursuing. This is an false belief.
The founder did not create
aikido, he discovered
it. And the reason he discovered it was because of the gods. He never calls himself a god or even a demi-god. He does call himself a servant of the gods, because it is through him that the gods are able to deliver aikido techniques to mankind.
Because these techniques came from the gods, he had to discover what this aikido thing was all about, just like the rest of us. You constantly read about this in his writings and in conversations he had with those around him.
Perhaps you don't believe in the gods (kami). But you might believe in the Tengu like the samurai Yoshitsune. Today poets and musicians call upon their Muse for inspiration. People have always credited achievements to spiritual beings. O Sensei appears to be no different.
I certainly don't fault anyone for not doing the shamanistic practices that the founder did. To my way of thinking that type of spiritual practice is not something that you chose, but something that chooses you. Living in a modern society, it would be hard to develop the type of character that is needed for that spiritual path.
The one thing I do fault are people who try to use the founder as a focus for a charismatic cult. Of course, since the person "knows" what Morihei Ueshiba concept of Aikido is, you need to buy their book, DVD, CD, go to their seminar, attend their style/school, etc., etc. This is not aikido. This is marketing.
Another thing that focusing on Ueshiba's concept of aikido does, is to lose the individual. If we spend our time chasing after the spirit of the founder, then we can't effectively discover what we have to offer. All of us from the highest ranked instructor to the first day student, has something to offer. If we are responsible, we will discover that gift and share it with others. Like Morihei Ueshiba did.