Peter, I really thank you once again for your efforts on our behalf.
I remember reading (I believe from G.Shioda's autobiography) about a "test" that Ueshiba gave him. The description of this "test" is quite interesting, in that it did not focus on the forms of waza, but rather, on the response to I believe grabs and pushes. There seemed to be a focus on the kinds of things Akuzawa, Dan H., and Mike S. speak of. There was also a weapons portion, but that is not of as much interest here. I wonder...do you recall the "test" I am speaking of? I don't have my resources handy, but I will try to find the quote soon.
Ron (I miss being thrown by you...time for a refresher???
My source is the Japanese text of Aikido Shugyou
. The section is on pp. 208-210. It is interesting for looking at the extent to which O Sensei was actually testing whether Shioda Sensei understood what he had shown him.
For the first part both Shioda and O Sensei had bokken. O Sensei ordered Shioda to "Doko kara demo kinasai" "Come from whatever direction you like". What happened is worth quoting in full, with a very rough translation:
"I thought to go forward with uchi, but with Sensei there were no suki at all. When I suddenly aimed the sword tip at Sensei, my hands and feet seemed as if bound with ropes and I could not move in any direction. For I was being 'pushed' with KI-power."
They then move on to taijutsu.
"Then the taijutsu examination took place. I was to attack Sensei, who was unarmed, freely.
I faced Sensei and looked for an opening. This situation was quite different from when we used the bokken. I had an abundance/surplus of kokoro.
'There's an opening!', I thought. I had seen a place where I could attack, and thought to land a blow to the jaw from below. At the moment I was to lauch the attack, Sensei said 'OK!' and stopped me. Then,
'That was very good,' he said and bowed slightly.
'Your sword still needs improvement, but if your taijutsu can be like this, it will be good. You can have 9th dan. But from now on train harder with the sword."