I am curious, there is a lot of mindreading and interpretation to support one's own view about why and for what reasons Pranin and Ikeda have invited Ushiro into our training. But, have they told anyone themselves, in their words, in their thinking, exactly why and for what reasons they did?
Try here: https://bujindesign.com/seminar_revi...article_1.html
Seminar Review wrote:
Ikeda Sensei prefaced the talk by explaining why he invited Ushiro Sensei to be an instructor this year. He said that aikido will stagnate if it is not open to many different points of view, and that Ushiro Sensei's approach to karate provides a valuable approach to the study of aikido. He also reminded the students that Saotome Sensei has always promoted this idea. This point was supported a few minutes later, when Saotome Sensei made the light-hearted observation that he had been teaching karate and Ushiro Sensei had been teaching aikido, the point being that at the highest levels, there is little difference between the martial arts. Mr. Pranin pointed out that O Sensei studied other arts, as has Saotome Sensei, and suggested that students of aikido who avoid exposure to other arts are missing an important opportunity.
Ushiro Sensei related that he had never met Saotome Sensei before this week, and that he was very pleasantly surprised to learn how alike were their martial arts philosophies and practices. And when Mr. Pranin asked Ushiro Sensei what suggestions he might have that might help the students improve their aikido, he replied: "Things will change if you learn how to attack better. And that's pretty much it."
The reaction of the audience to this discussion was one of appreciation, fascination and thoughtfulness. (An audio replay of the entire discussion may be heard at http://www.aikidojournal.com/downloa...dia=radio&id=7
(Audio link seems dead, sadly.)
Also Ushiro himself here: https://bujindesign.com/seminar_revi...article_1.html
The overall issue was a disparity between the words that represent the ideal of aikido, "harmony" and "unification," and the technical aspect. This disparity was clearly evident in practice - specifically, the attacks were weak and not really attacks, and not only responded to the partner (nage) to accommodate or collude with them, but responded in such an extreme manner that they (uke) fell down or were thrown all by themselves.
I started in Saotome's lineage, with a lengthy tour through Saito's, and then returned. We, in our dojo, do not practice in the weakly compliant manner noted by Ushiro Sensei. Attacks are attacks and we correct bad attacks.
When I was training in San Diego, and in my deployments working solo during the first dust-up in Iraq, I began to see the exact same principle operating in both concentration and dissipation, I also saw that many people coming along in training do not always readily perceive that.
Ushiro and Saotome seem to have gone around the circle in opposite directions to come to much the same place. Ushiro's critical observation is on the lack of expression of the concentraion part of the principle, thus the serious risk of missing one half of the whole operating principle involved.