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 ...
1. no clue on that one
2. I think most people just don't get the value in it AND/OR don't have anyone who can explain what it's all about, what they should feel or what they should be doing with what they feel.
It's something I plan to ask our sensei at summer camp this year. He trained with O'sensei and Tohei sensei and was one of Tohei's shihan when he split. He's also studied just about everything under the sun. I recall years ago at summer camp, we had gone down to the lake to do some misogi and he had us doing some push hands and such. He would come along and demo posture and things and have you push on him, really dig into him, and he was like a rock. I don't recall anyone else having that! Having had a chance to feel some of what people are doing today I'm looking forward to asking him lots of questions.
As someone else said, a lot of the principles in IS are similar to what I'm used to, but the practice is quite different. I'm interested to see how much of that difference is our failing for not paying better attention or if that's just a limitation of the Tohei's methods in general.
3. Again, I can't say the either Takeda or Ueshiba felt that weapons were integral to what they were teaching. Nobody, in either DR or Aikido seems to have gotten any consistant weapons training from either Takeda or Ueshiba. Heck, Ueshiba supposed even banned weapons practice at hombu for a period. Would have have done that if he thought it were all that important to what he was doing?
Maybe it's just one of those things that they both left out there for those who wanted it to find themselves? If not then honestly I think both had serious faillings as teachers. Despite the teaching system being what it was in those days, how could you feel something was all that important and not at least impart that message, if not actual instruction, with any real consistency?
4. This is really the big mystery in all of aikido. I mean we see that some people got SOME of what he had, even if it was only a sliver. How is it that they got that sliver, but never really developed it beyond that? You'd have to think they knew they had something more than just technique and if they were shown specific exercises to develop it, they would have stuck with it and became powerhouses like Ueshiba himself and not just faint shadows.
Oh and as for frequency and intensity I didn't mean that just from an ukemi standpoint. Those guys trained ALL the time. THey were getting probably 8+ hours of time with Ueshiba alone each day, much less what they were doing together after he left.
5. Well I think people just don't care. They're content to do Aikido for Aikido's sake and aren't particularly concerned with its efficacy. Some people feel that since O'sensei was tested and we're doing his Aikido, then what we're doing has been tested and that's good enough. Early on in my training I was content with the fact that my sensei's Aikido had been tested many many times and at the time that was good enough for me. He had the background to tell me if what I was doing was good enough. Beyond that it was up to me to train at a certain level to ensure that. When the time came and it was tested, it did work for me. Now, I'm not fool enough to believe that those experiences are universal, but I also know where I am in this world and where I am not. Too many people these days feel that MMA is the hallmark for what is effective and what isn't and I don't agree. Not everyone who paints seeks to be Rembrandt, but that doesn't cheapen what they're doing. As long as you're honest with yourself about your goals, it doesn't really matter. Now, the people who aren't honest with themselves, that's an entirely different story..