James Kelly wrote:
Sorry, didn't mean to put the path up the mountain cliché in your mouth, but I have to ask, what are the principles that are common to all martial arts? As far is I understand it, the whole big deal about aikido is that O Sensei changed the principles of traditional bujutsu.
A principle is something that is true in every case and instance, otherwise it isn't a principle. Some principles that I can list, among many others, would be triangulation (the two points on the ground where another leg would be if we had them..think of a tripod or a table), down, up, power paradox (power, not strength, comes from proper body alignment, structure, and relaxation rather than from muscle strength and tension), secondary pressure, indirect pressure, how gravity works, void (uke can not fight where uke is not), I can go on and on here.
The point is that there are common threads which link all martial arts together and make the infinite amount of techniques work. If you can learn and study the comparatively small number of principles and physiokinetics instead of techniques then you have a much better foundation to build upon and no matter what art you study, you are pretty much doing the same thing (I say pretty much because obviously every art goes about applying these principles in different ways).
Catch my drift?
I don't think Ueshiba went up on a mountain and reinvented the wheel, so to speak. He just put a different spin on what was already there. He said it himself. He didn't invent Aikido or even discover it. He simply utilized what was already there and pointed it out to other people. It didn't hurt that he was quite good at it though.
So, in that sense, every martial art is already united.