1. Would need a pic, can't recall exactly what you're describing.
2. I recall vids of Tohei in more recent years doing more Ueshiba like push demos. In our particular style (Ki society related off-shoot), we do them to the chest, hips, shoulders, etc, with varying degrees of force. All with the intention of allowing you to feel and ground that force and you're expected to be able to remain stable while taking more and more force as you advance.
3. I think he considered weapons a part of HIS Aikido and not exactly something that everyone needed in order to do Aikido, so he didn't really pass them on. My feeling is that they were something he used more as an extension or expression of what he was able to do rather than integral to building his ability.
4. frequency and intensity maybe? If you agree with much of what Ellis Amdur suggests in HIPS, that many of the students who got "it", did so by taking ukemi from him often, then it's likely that it's just a matter of frequency and intensity. Kind of like attending Gasshuku. It's almost impossible to improve in that week because of the intensity and amount of constant training involved. Imagine having that day in, day out, for years from the best of the best.
Of course there's also the possiblity of them learning things from him that simply haven't been passed on or things that they learned and weren't really aware that they learned it. Things they did, as a result of being around him, that they didn't see as training and didn't do once they were away from him. Maybe that's why the few who seemed to have it never seemed to get more of it once he was gone?
5. I think this is just a by-product of society these days. You don't really get challengers much anymore and I think most people are comfortable with what their Aikido is within the context of their own training. They don't feel the need to test it. Often those that do are still comfortable doing so within the dojo.
1. See Tim Griffiths' post. He found a picture.
2. There's quite a bit of variation in push tests.
Compare the light pushes here:
with a stronger push here:
Compare those with how long Tohei trained and could withstand pushes.
Starting around 0:40.
In 10 years, shouldn't one be able to withstand pushes such as Tohei could? As Ueshiba could?
3. If Takeda and Ueshiba considered weapons worth training, why don't we have similar skilled people? After 20 to 40 years of training (well more than Ueshiba had when he was considered very good), there's really just two possibilities: Ueshiba was an exception or no one is training the way Ueshiba trained. Now, considering Takeda created a few men of exceptional martial abilities and that those men went on to create students of exceptional martial abilities, it would seem the former is a stretch to believe. The latter seems more likely.
Which leads us back to aikido's weapons work. If the training that Ueshiba received from Takeda to make him a great martial artist is missing, then that quality would also be missing from the weapons. Where do you find weapons training that shows using both hands? What quality of skill is needed to accomplish that? Who in aikido trains in this manner (where either hand is used)?
4. Actually, I believe the opposite. I don't think any number of years training as uke will ever get you to the skill level of Ueshiba. IMO, no amount of frequency or intensity as uke will gain you the skills.
And just how much hands on time did Ueshiba have with Takeda? Overall, not really that much. Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, etc?
5. Ueshiba taught men of all walks of life. He was tested by them, not just formally, but informally also. Does anyone think that when Tomiki met Ueshiba, if Ueshiba couldn't throw Tomiki 60 different ways by grasping his hand that Tomiki would have studied with Ueshiba? If Tenryu could have pushed Ueshiba over, do you think Tenryu would have studied with Ueshiba? When Ueshiba gave the demonstration in Manchuria and Ohba attacked earnestly, do you think anyone would have looked highly upon Ueshiba if he had done poorly? Why did very high ranking kendo people think highly of Ueshiba? Did they just swoon at his reputation or did they physically test his mettle in some manner?
At the end of the day, people from karate, judo, and kendo thought very highly of Ueshiba's martial skill. Compare that with today ... where people from judo, karate, and kendo laugh at aikido. Let alone the MMA world ...