Having conversations about aikido is like asking for a headache (as in, oh, my head hurts from thinking about that).
So, I thought I'd pass the headache on that occurred while thinking about this stuff.
Thanks to Stan & others, it's known that Ueshiba taught Daito ryu before the war. And that some prewar students received scrolls in Daito ryu. It's been said that Shioda and the Yoshinkan look more like a Daito ryu school than an aikido school.
According to Saito, Ueshiba's techniques were similar when he trained with him and what was recorded in the 1938 Budo book.
I'm told that the Daito ryu schools all have a different syllabus, although some elements remain common.
If the Daito ryu schools are different just like aikido schools can be different and yet still be doing aikido ...
If Ueshiba was teaching the same things after the war as he was pre-war, at least around 1938 ...
If the name aikido wasn't directly chosen by Ueshiba, but was just acknowledged from the Society ...
If Ueshiba's son, Kisshomaru changed the art after the war for his own purposes ...
If the main influence on Ueshiba in regards to technical knowledge of martial arts was Daito ryu ...
Then we come to the headache. What if Ueshiba never stopped practicing Daito ryu? What if he, like all the other students of Takeda, adopted his own version of Daito ryu? Did Ueshiba ever really leave Daito ryu?
Maybe what Kisshomaru created was truly aikido? The peaceful, blending, harmonizing martial art that most of us know. While the father was still doing what he had learned all along -- Daito ryu.
Ueshiba taught the Asahi group in Osaka up until 1936.
Takeda arrived in 36 and stated that Since Ueshiba had taught them all the basics of Daito ryu
he would continue their lessons from that point on (actually Ueshiba ran away)
I really can't see any wiggle room here. He was handing out scrolls-though curiously not to the Asahi group) in Daito ryu,
and teaching a syllabus so clearly defined as Daito ryu
that Takeda himself acknowledged it. Then you have the Noma dojo record as well.
I contend, and as you all know I have always contended, that he never stopped doing Daito ryu aiki his entire life. He changed the use of his connections to create a cast-off projection instead of the more violent seizing of an opponent. And he let them roll away instead of wrapping them up for the kill. That said the power he used to do so was non other than Daito ryu aiki.
In fact I think the "legend, in many ways obfuscated his greatest innovation. Koryu jujutsu has some great stuff in it but the results are pretty much the same in wrapping up or dropping close-in for a weapon kill or stomp. Daito ryu even more so- due to it aiki. Ueshiba with a long history of violent jujutsu in his hands, which was greatly enhanced through Daito ryu aiki, made a phenomenal discovery and innovation. That he could handle violence, and cast it away instead of being violent in return.
And all that said. I believe Marks questions are interesting.
The question of what was being taught really expands out past Ueshiba to what was being disseminated
If Ueshiba was teaching Daito ryu up until 37 or 38 and handing out scrolls, (Takeda recognized and called it Daito ryu). If all his deshi were calling it Daito ryu, (even two of his students considered themselves students of Takeda).
Then what were those deshi teaching?
You see it really does expand outward. Were they all somehow transformed as well by the kami? Did Ueshiba's Satori now expand outward and envelope and wash away all of their years and hard work inculcating a body method in a flash?
Somehow I doubt it. Their scrolls were never given back and they were all given dan ranks after the formal creation of Aikido in the 40’s. However, they were indelibly marked, as Daito ryu men. They- like their teacher before them- had never studied anything else in depth. They replaced their menjo with dans, replaced the capturing aiki with cast aways, and replaced the hell dojo with more cooperative training, and helped found a new movement.
The world sees Daito ryu aiki in Ueshiba for the first time and is amazed. Ueshiba, for reasons lost to history takes the glory for his vision, but doesn't say much on how he got there. His deshi, for some equally curious reasons all their own- never tell anyone about training with him for years in Daito ryu or about the existence of Daito ryu scrolls. They go along to get along.
Then... Along comes a Journalist and History buff called Stan Pranin. Stan gets a bug to investigate this barely mentioned Takeda guy. Whoops..can o' worms, goes and meets Tokimune, sees the eimoroku of Takeda with 20 years of training by Ueshiba. He sees actual Daito ryu for the first time, -being a great student of the obvious- he starts asking pointed questions of all of Ueshiba's deshi.
All of a sudden a new history is written.