Re: Saito Sensei 1964 22 kata?
I agree with you completely.
It is interesting to see how the forms evolved. I really believe that the older forms of the Aiki weapons - as seen here and also as seen in Sensei's old books - have very many important points.
Sensei's movements to me seemed to become more and more natural as he got older. It's interesting seeing the older deep stances for instance, and I believe that it is important to go through a phase where you train in these stances also ( we did this a lot under Tomita Sensei in the 70s and 80s). But when you see footage of O-Sensei, even the old Aiki Budo film, he was almost always in a natural, upright body position. To me, Sensei's form looked more like O-Sensei's form when Sensei became older - in the 1980s and on. But at the same time, when looking at the tai jutsu from 1964 - very much is just the way he taught us in his later years. Very consistent - nice! And as another person posted on this thread: even though he didn't do Iwama aikido, the techniques look very much like what they do in their dojo.
An interesting point is the clear initiation of uke (Sensei) when doing shomen uchi techniques. As you may recall he quoted O-Sensei " Aite no ki wo yobidasu" (calling out the ki of your partner). He also said in the old days that O-Sensei would say "Ware wa kogeki" (I attack) when teaching the shomen uchi forms in kihon. This seems to have become much less prevalent in many dojos today. I noticed when Doshu Sensei taught shomen uchi techniques in the morning class in Hombu, he would initiate once and then the second time he would let uke initiate, but coming in while uke still was doing furikaburi with the hand. He didn't say anything about this while teaching, but it seemed to me that he was fairly consistent with this. Interesting!