For the record, he is quoted in an interview as saying there are 3,000 basic techniques, 16 variations on each, and then you make up others at need as the situation dictates, so "there are many thousands."
Lori Ann Hermano
1.How did O'Sensei record them? From the moment of attack til the end when uke is immobilized? Or per movement, ex: 3 moves til uke is down is counted as 3 techniques?
Well, no matter how he did it - it's still overwhelming!!!
No idea. I've never heard of any one else who has an authoritative one, either. I have made tables of basic attack/defense combinations with kamae, omote/ura, soto/uchi turn combinations that (very roughly) approach such numbers. It is a useful exercise to see how many you know or can imagine, and is a great way to work out odd possibilities to see where the movements can go in practice.
Lori Ann Hermano
2. Was there any event where they tried to do all these techniques? Say in a 3 or 4 month 1 year, 5 year intensive course? How many years will it take to experience all of it? -
3. Where can his manuscripts and illustrations be viewed?
Budo Renshu, his 1936(??) text is good. The Sugawara edition has illustrations sketched by a student with at least some indication of approval by him, although even for that the editing is disputed in some circles.
This is all somewhat beside the point, however. It is understandable that many people get caught up in it as a concrete form for organizing knowledge. The aikido is not really the collection of techniques, although they serve to help in learning it.
It's all really 50,000 variations on ikkyo
, the "one teaching," anyway.
Of course, no one agrees on exactly what that "one teaching" is, precisely, so you get 50,00 variations on that, as well.
The structured kihon waza are primarily there as foundation, or -- a better image -- a safety net to fall back on in practice when the aikido you are learning from them does not work out in its intended creative dynamic in the specific encounter. The attention to precision in performing them is not intended to be duplicated in every engagement but, mostly, into aid in developing the dynamic sensitivity that such precision entails.
The ultimate point of aikido is more the analogous high-wire and trapeze act, not the drop into the net.