Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku
Ellis and Dan,
I take what you are saying and understand all that, but (and I point this out gently) neither of you have much experience in DR schools.
All I can say is that when Tokimune's dojo in Hokaido released tapes showing the complete Hiden Mokuroku we were able to watch them and see one familiar technique after another; there's that one, and look there's the next one, and that one etc. etc. It must be pointed out that our two branches would have diverged prior to any creation by Tokimune of his own mokuroku. And didn't he learn most of his basics from his mother BTW. Did she just wing it as well?
Similar experience with Roppokai/Kodokai.
I am willing to think in terms of positing that "this group are the basic techniques" and there is only a general order, but I see far more building of more complex upon the more simple to dismiss a relatively consistent DR curriculum from Takeda out of hand.
It is true that DR curriculum seem to enumerate a wide variety of what would be termed henka or oya waza in a more traditional koryu. The interesting thing is that this approach tends to focus attention on the receptions which would be where the "aiki" would be applied as well as many variations (straight wrist/bent wrist, straight arm/curved arm, large movement to smaller movement, etc.) that seem to walk a practitioner through gross technical jujutsu into subtle jujutsu and beyond to what might be posited as an "aiki" jutsu performance.
That may be a longer road than necessary, but can we be sure? I don't know. Can you "aiki" someone without having internalized the grosser pathways of jujutsu waza? Maybe. It might well be a different animal though.
This is strangely analogous to the koryu I practice. A previous head did not think that modern people had a sufficient grasp of the idea of kata moving to henka and inserted a beginning section that illustrated through experience the process while installing beginning self defense skills more directly applicable to modern conditions.
I think there could very well be a method to Takeda's madness. Is it the best method? Don't know.
Maybe Takeda was a genius who could look at a student and evaluating their level give them the next piece of the puzzle. Well, in the absence of the genius himself, the best we can do is follow what has been preserved of the steps he gave others.