Dennis Hooker wrote:
Then of course there is the possibility that Ueshiba created something new. Something that transcends the traditional or conventional. He was not a Japanese conformist in the usual sense after all. So many people suppose he lost something after the war. They conjecture his Aikido was by some means or measure less than it was in his earlier years. I believe he was an innovator and a creative genius not a shadow of some crusty old badger that liked to hurt people as some would have us believe.
Dennis, I'm very much in agreement with you on that, but as a martial art, his later form "taught" much less than the earlier form. He
was able to do amazing things with grace and skill, but I don't think he continued to teach what enabled him to attain that grace and skill. Of course, there really was no way to recreate the environment that he knew when he was creating aikido and without that environment of real fighting masters with fighting attitudes all over the place--real sharp samurai by the thousands--you could no longer develop the kind of art he had developed.
One reason he did make such a huge change in his teaching was that he recognized the futility of fighting the atomic bomb. Many aikidoists get discouraged at the recognition of BJJ. Others get depressed at thinking they might have to face a soldier in body armor and helmet, carrying a knife, pistol and rifle as well as RPGs, night vision and laser sights.
Recognizing that even the strongest man will encounter something much stronger than himself must force a reevaluation of the purpose for training. We have to realize that no one and no method is undefeatable, yet we mustn't lose the value of practicality in training. So we must never cease to question what we're doing and why.
Best to you.