Raul Rodrigo wrote:
Would you care to venture a theory as to why he did not create a core group of deshi?
This is a hard question and I think it does not admit of a general answer.
I do not believe that Arikawa Sensei felt that he had any kind of mission to tramsmit a legacy to future generations. I think that he believed that people would see him for what he was and either make the effort to train like he did, or not.
For Doshu in the Hombu, the paramount preoccupation is creating a legacy: a core of principles and ways of doing basic techniques that will be the way O Sensei's original legacy has been preserved and bequeathed to future generations. This is what is meant by 'iemoto'.
With Kisshomaru and Tohei, who were at the top of the pyramid, the need to create a legacy was clearly paramount. They just disagreed on which elements to emphasize. For those who were lower down, the need was not so pressing.
There are a number of deshis who have not published any manuals or videos and these deshis generally do not have an extensive following outside Japan. I am thinking of Kisaburo Osawa, Seigo Yamaguchi and Sadateru Arikawa and also younger deshi like Watanabe and Masuda. The exceptions are Tada and Sugano, who have lived and trained overseas, but who have not published anything. Tada Sensei has been famously writing a book on ikkyou for the past decade or so and we all know he will never publish it. Of course, Tada Sensei has a core of deshi, but his method of training is so unique that nobody, in my opinion, has succeeded in absorbing the total of Tada's aikido in his own training. The deshi who tried the most was Masatomi Ikeda and he is no longer practising aikido.
I once asked Tada Sensei about the arrangements he had made for people to preserve his knowledge after he had died. He bluntly answered that this was not possible. His aikido was his aikido and it was up to his disciples to take what they could and create their own aikido. This was how O Sensei had taught. If this is the case, the future is quite bleak.
So in the Hombu, Doshu's aikido is quite bland, so to speak, and he once told me that it was his duty to inherit, preserve and transmit a living heritage. Other people could tramsmit the icing, but he had a duty to transmit the cake, as rich in fruit as he was capable of transmitting.
Actually, my next Aikiweb column will be a discussion of the issues of transmission, inheritance and emulation in aikido. It was too late for the February columns, but will appear in March. Arikawa Sensei will be a good example of the issues involved. So, I hope you will come back with issues and questions later.