I did not attend the 2008 All-Japan Demonstration. I judged that attending was not worth the money or the time--correctly as it seems.
I watched the video and was rather stunned
. Mr Takeda was a student of Yamaguchi Seigo Sensei--I think this is one of the main reasons why he is regarded as such an inspiring aikido shihan. Like Yasuno, Tissier, Endo, he is one of the deshi who have 'mastered' Yamaguchi Sensei's aikido. However, I am certain that Yamaguchi Sensei would never have given a demonstration in which he causes several ukes to fall over merely by raising his arm. I may be wrong, but I do not think that O Sensei ever did this, either. I know about the controversial 'jo trick', but his deshi were actually holding on to the jo: they were not several feet away when they fell over.
You should know that I have repeatedly discussed the content of the All-Japan Demonstration with Doshu and each time I have been told that I 'misunderstand' the point of the demonstration. It is not meant to have any 'teaching' function; rather, it is a 'gathering of Japanese aikido tribes and a celebration of their dominant myths' (these are my terms, not Doshu's).
So, in my opinion, the demonstration is intended to celebrate the history of aikido in Japan and also to reinforce certain types of group consciousness about aikido in Japan. It is not really intended for 'foreign' consumption (the foreign participants that participate are presented rather like unusual exhibits at a Japanese aikido zoo)
; rather it is designed to celebrate and reinforce the aikido kokutai
, under the benevolent rule of Doshu
As an example, you trained in Iwama for many years. How often did you practice with Isoyama Sensei, especially his classic kata-guruma? On the videos Saito Sensei always did this in reverse. However, until a few years ago, before Isoyama Sensei became 'erai' and gave speeches at the demonstration, he always appeared at the All-Japan Demonstration, with chosen uke, and did the required waza. I know his favored uke and he trained severely, in order to take 'good' ukemi. He can no longer take ukemi because his body cannot take the punishment
Nowadays, the top shihans at the All-Japan Demonstration always use young 'pure' university students to take ukemi (except for the shihans from the Hombu's teaching department). Why? They are young and flexible and are taught to have no clue whatever about blocking a technique from a shihan
. The whole purpose of their aikido life is to take 'prefect' ukemi
Finally, you expressed surprise at the presence of smilies in a previous post of mine. So I have edited this post and made up up for earlier defects
As always, best wishes,
PS. I will probably not use smilies again for another ten years or so.