If we take the time to actually listen to what Hikistuchi Sensei says O-Sensei saiid, over and over, that the work of Aikido, the way of Aiki is about understanding how to connect with the divine and being in that place the waza is something other than movement, other than self defense, other than competition... etc. Given this is what the founder said was the substance of his art form isn't it delusion to think that for even a moment that without a complete and true connection with the divine, THERE IS NO AIKI.
Well, perhaps only partially right with "THERE IS NO AIKI".
As to aiki ... with Ueshiba, as we've all said many times before, he had two main people who influenced him: Takeda and Deguchi. Now, Takeda gave Ueshiba Daito ryu aiki. Deguchi's influence gave Ueshiba a spiritual outlook. In essence, you can, and IMO should, look at Ueshiba from both perspectives.
He never stopped doing both. There wasn't one without the other. So, your "THERE IS NO AIKI" in connection with the divine isn't exactly true. There most certainly was aiki in Ueshiba even without the divine spirituality that he espoused. He showed it all the time by having people push on him, etc.
You might want to disagree with that, but it's not really open to debate. It's Daito ryu aiki and Ueshiba had it until he died. He never stopped doing that. And he built his spirituality with that body skill.
So, more to the point, I can agree that without Ueshiba's spiritual component, there isn't the vision of Ueshiba's aikido. And if you want to name that as "aiki", sure, why not? It'll get kind of confusing when we talk about Daito ryu aiki, but it isn't like that won't happen anyway.
The example O-Sensei set was clearly verbalized in the video of Hikistuchi Sensei. He said it over and over, "...to absolutely connect oneself to the divine. I might be surprised, but I have to ask as I am wondering... Is Dan teaching that? If not, is he even speaking about it? If not, is he even wondering about that? If not, who is? It leads me to wonder something else, something that perhaps we should discuss in a new thread should someone care to start it, "Based upon O-Sensei's model of Aiki as illustrated in his many writings, interviews and videos, is something missing in Dan's model of Aiki?
Best in training to you and all?
I'm learning aiki filtered down through a Daito ryu lineage. It has the same components that Ueshiba is said to have done and shown. Is there anything missing? Maybe. Maybe not. And maybe I'm learning more than what Ueshiba showed most of the time. Ask me in some years when I've progressed some. I can say that there's more of Ueshiba's aiki to be learned here than anywhere else I've trained. And unlike what you keep harping on, Shaun, none of us have said that this is all there is to Ueshiba's aikido. Yet you keep making that mistake.
So, how about the flip side, Shaun? Can *you
* do what Ueshiba is shown doing on video and written about? Can you withstand a push to the chest? Can you sit on the mat and have people push on your head and not be pushed over? Can you do all the Daito ryu aiki tricks that Ueshiba did? IF not, then no matter how much you train in the spiritual, "THERE IS NO AIKI". No Daito ryu aiki and without that, no overall aiki. There is only half a shell without that base of Daito ryu aiki.
As I've said before, Ueshiba had *both*
components. Not one, not the other. Both. Unless you train both, you won't be anywhere near Ueshiba's aikido. And like I said before, I really do hope that your training is covering that half of Ueshiba's aikido. It means that not all is lost. And if you do have Daito ryu aiki, let us know because I'm sure a lot of people will be interested. You would be in a singular position to have both parts: spiritual and physical. How many out there are like that? I'd imagine very, very few.