Re: Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
I should also toss something else out... Mark, in rereading your posts I get the feeling you are looking to see if there is a connection with these things (as in aiki as IS) back into koryu arts. I think there is little doubt that aspects of IS go way back. Of what I've seen from Takamura ha Shindo Yoshin Ryu via Toby Threadgill seems to have a strong underlying component of much the same stuff. And to add the observation that there have always been "exceptional" martial artists throughout history. I would think there have long been those who've keyed into aspects of these things in various ways and to various extents. I am not at all surprised to see bits and pieces of the Sumo stomp done as a solo exercise. A lot of movements I've seen Toby do on more than one occasion are quite reminiscent of some really subtle grounding, connection, frame sort of body training. And yes, these are things people can "sorta" do without even remotely "getting" the deeper subtle things. Which leaves a guy like me, not part of the ryu, wondering how much more there really is there that I'll never learn. (As an aside I keep trying to figure out a way to arrange my life so I could devote the time to be able to commit with a clear conscience to training with his group out here -- but life is a bitch some times). Anyway, the point being that I don't think it is terribly controversial to say that aspects of IS existed and exists today in some Koryu. How it is taught, understood, and passed along is a completely different question, however.
As another example, well, T. Kuroda and some of his work is just so obviously well grounded and powerful in my eyes. I can't believe anyone would think he doesn't have a lot of this stuff. And by all accounts his students are exceptional as well, so he doesn't seem to have much trouble passing it along.
But... Aikido is a big world. Exactly what made it blossom and grow with K Ueshiba also in part precipitated the split of Tohei and others. Heck, our group subsequently split off from Tohei after a decade or two to focus on "ki development" even though our sensei was the Chief Lecturer of Ki Development and the Chief Instructor of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido of the Ki Society Western USA. So not everyone was as focused on the same aspects of the very large thing Aikido became. Or maybe more accurately the weighting of the multiple priorities within aikido varies quite a bit. I guess my point is that speaking of Aikido as one art strikes me as incredibly oversimplified. There are aiki-bunnies and fire-breathing dragons out there in the world of Aikido. And quite frankly each group has its own "raison d'etre". More power to 'em all!