Jorge Garcia wrote:
I would counter that Ueshiba trained with his many students and developed himself in that fashion. Instructors like Yamada sensei who left the Hombu after 6 or 7 years to become instructors have vastly improved their skills in the last 40 years. They did so because they were professional nages doing techniques to many different people. To me that's a group.
Takeda, of course, also trained groups, but never seriously - and he seemed to do OK. In any case, individual instruction was much more common than group instruction in many ryuha for hundreds of years, and they seemed to do OK as well, which would seem to obviate any requirement
for group lessons in order to progress.
There's no question that training with a variety of people is going to be of benefit. Whether or not that training is best conducted in the context of a group lesson is much more problematic. Takeda promoted some 30 or so people to kyoju dairi, so he obviously trained with a variety of students - but he trained with them, for the most part, one at a time.
Now, even if you accept that Yamada (for example) was still a "student" for those years of leading practice, the question should really be which would have benefitted him more - 40 years of leading group practices, or 40 years of one-on-one instruction with Morihei Ueshiba (since the original question was which method was of greater benefit).