Mike Sigman wrote:
Secondly, there are viable reasons for limiting information in the way that O-Sensei and others (in many different arts) have done.
Regardless, maybe the real point to make is that "stealing a technique" actually is a poor term in the sense that it implies you can get something by subterfuge, etc., without having to work so hard. The counterpoint I'd make is that even if you "steal it", you're going to be in for a lot of work to perfect it.
Why would it be necessary to limit the information? Why not simply explain clearly the direction that the student should be working towards? If you could "steal" it, it almost seems pointless to hide or limit the information to begin with. What viable reasons could possibly exist that would warrant such subterfuge? After all, it might take someone twice as long to figure it out, if they have to steal it first. I believe this is the point George is making.
Whilst "stealing" might connotate a fraudulent, felonious or clandestine act, I think it is generally understood in the sense of gleaning something in an unobtrusive manner, by means of gradual and imperceptible appropriation - merely by being more vigilant in the way we observe, listen and intuit - which I believe is (an integral) part of the training itself. I believe it is what gave Ueshiba his uncanny and seemingly extra-sensory abilities. I also believe that the sort of 24/7 vigilance required by the uchideshi to Sensei's every needs is part of this development approach.
This goes back to what was said earlier about teachers only being able to convey a fraction of their knowledge. I believe that "stealing" or allow the student to steal, is a far more expedient means of conveying subtlety of meaning without overly lengthy explanations.
I like to think that most people generally aren't martially challenged... but clearly some need more explanation (or hands-on demonstration for the visual-kinesthetics), than others.