Its kind of funny. When i read the article, I believe the one where Sensei Tohei talks about receiving 10th Dan...could be another...he basically made a comment that he was the 'only one that got it'.
This was when he talked about his experience how everyone else received their 9th dans 'secretly' and then upon coming back to Japan OSensei sheepishly tried to offer him 10th dan after he saw Tohei wasnt upset.
Now the information may be form different interviews, but he appeared to be confident that Osensei knew he was the one that got what was going on.
Funny about the whole 'ki' bit being what people talk of why there was a split with Tohei, for a couple of reasons from what I have gathered.
1) Apparently Osensei taught one thing and showed another...(the relaxed state as Tohei put it.)
So, ki was/is an integral part of the teaching.
2) Tohei was offered to teach his ki bit at hombu after they saw that it took off at the Olympic stadium? (may not be the right location.) Of course he said it was 'to late'.
None the less, the interviews out there with Tohei are quite revealing in numerous ways.
Tohei was top notch but his idea that he was the only one that got it shows him as his own best fan. You know how many of the deshi thought that they were the only ones who got it?
The rank thing was always "iffy" in that O-Sensei somewhat functioned separately from the official organization. He was apt to simply hand a rank out orally, without consultation with the Aikikai folks. Later that teacher would present himself at the doors asking for his certificate... I'm sure it was a nightmare for the folks trying to set standards and give out official ranks.
There were plenty of folks who "got it" from a technical angle, fewer who really understood O-Sensei's take on the techniques as they related to spiritual principles. Tohei had his own take on things, not necessarily identical to the Founder's. I think Hikitsuchi, Abe, and Sunadomari probably were closer in intent to the Founder.
Anyway, I pretty much decided Tohei was out there a bit ego-wise when he was selling the "Ki Stones" back in the 80's; sort of the Aikido version of the "pet rock".
This doesn't detract from his Aikido ability nor does it put him in a class by himself as far as having a pretty strong sense of his importance. The deshi, in general, weren't lacking in the self image category.