I'll ask an important question here ... Who said "those guys trained for like 8 hours every day to get what they had"? And follow up with, What research backs up that sentence?
There are a lot of things that modern aikido people have taken for granted for way too long. It's ingrained in them. In trying to get outside my own box, I ask a lot of questions. I test theories and ideas. I track down what research I can.
The quotes below are in regards to the Kobukan Dojo training.
So, I ask people who said they trained 8 hours a day? And if they did, with whom? How? In what manner?
Personally, I think it's a myth that they all trained 8 hours a day. And given Ueshiba's teaching style, what exactly were they getting? American instructors break everything down, go over it, explain it, and do their best to help a student "get it". Ueshiba did not.
Well we're not dealing with absolutes here, but Shioda specifically referenced the typical day as an pre-war uchideshi as being something around 14 hours long (5:30-7:30 I think, without having it here in front of me). I recall similar remarks from others in a variety of aikidojournal interviews. They trained a LOT and of course it wasn't all direct training under Ueshiba, but that doesn't matter. Shioda himself did a lot of paying attention then a lot of figuring things out on his own too, which is still training. I don't really care what the mass of those students were doing, just the ones that really got it.
Ueshiba himself, while he may not have spent eight hours per day in the dojo, he trained ALL day. There are far too many reports of him spending hours in his room chanting (breath work?) and doing who knows what else. It's safe to say that while he honestly wanted to teach "something" to people, his existance as a budo teacher was just as much for him to have a way to continue to improve himself as much or more than it was for him to impart what he "really" knew. That holds true for Takeda, Sagawa and others.
It isn't that we're skipping over the "fluff". It is that there is a specific way to train aiki. That training has been lost to modern aikido. Everyone I know who is training aiki has had to start at the beginning. History yet again reasserts itself. Prior martial background doesn't mean much (unless it's specific internal training), prior martial background isn't on par with aiki, and everyone has to put in the work, both solo and paired.
But the training has little to do with jujutsu techniques.
The really big kick in the pants comes later ... After you've trained and have some aiki ... Just what in the world was Ueshiba meaning when he talked about spirituality?
I disagree, it is most definitely skipping over the fluff. When you can take a 30 move form or kata and pull out the two really meaty, quality exercises and do them over and over again, that's skipping over the fluff!
Apart from that, you don't have to sell me on anything Mark. I had the luxury of reading five years worth of posts from you and others arguing against what Mike/Dan/etc were saying until you got and got your hands on someone and were able to happily insert your foot into your mouth. I say that jokingly of course, because I'm quite grateful for that. I read enough until I was convinced that this was worth exploring and fortunately had someone who was willing to actually reply to my emails and point me in a good direction.
As for what Ueshiba was talking about with his spirituality? It had been 17 years or so since I had spent any time bothering to read that stuff, but most of it takes on a completely different meaning to me now. A lot of it actually makes sense, or if nothing else I'm able to convince myself that it does. I try to reconcile heaven and earth within myself on a daily basis and it is most definitely a physical exercises, not a spiritual one, but I don't deny that it makes the spirit feel pretty damned good.