Niall - Perhaps I didn't find a felicitous simile for father and son. Suffice it to say this: I am reading From the Wrong Side: A Paradoxical Approach to Psychology
by Adolf Guggenbuhl-Craig. In particular - "Sons and Daughters of Unusual Fathers."
It lies in the nature of the unusual man to be brutal and ruthless towards his fellow human beings. As a father, he may even suffer from the compulsion to sacrifice his children! (page 45)
Guggenbuhl-Craig is not primarily speaking in concrete terms - he is speaking both mythologically and psychologically. Two myths he cites, however, are Abraham and Issac and Agammemnon and Iphigenia. Focusing on Abraham and Issac is fruitful, here, because there is no more non-descript figure in the Bible than poor Issac. He mostly serves as a link between two great men, Abraham and Jacob. It is very frequent that the sons of unusual men - genius', etc., can never measure up to their fathers, if their father's even have much time for them. I have seen a number of non-entity sons, even failures among the scions of some of the great budoka. There is a 'brutality" or selfishness to Ueshiba, just as there was to Takeda, (who stabbed his son, and disappeared for long periods of time, leaving Tokimune, a lonely teenager to somehow raise his younger siblings, their mother being dead. Remember, too, Kisshomaru recalling that the only time his father praises him was, I believe, when he constructed the modern Honbu Dojo. Remember that his father left him in Tokyo, amidst the fire-bombs, to somehow preserve the dojo, while he retired on his sacred mission to Iwama.
Which leads to my second quote from this essay:
Children of unusual fathers are not completely lost. Should they succeed in surviving their fathers, they have proven that they, too, are "someone."This means that they have not succumbed to being social failures, to having grapple with themselves as shadow existences in chronic depression or to experiencing themselves as completely worthless. Sons, especially, who manage to see their unusual fathers as enriching rather than annihilating, have achieve a level of individuation which, in itself, is most unusual. page 49
Like many, I have given Nidai Doshu short-shrift at times, but both in reading TIE, in considering what he forged from a small sectarian martial art into a worldwide movement - and most of all, considering postwar aikido a triumph of his will over that of his father - I see him as a great man.
That I do not particularly like to do modern aikido, and by my lights, wish for the core body skills of his father is irrelevant. It is similar to me recognizing that Christianity accomplished what Judaism could not, bringing a message to the world for the first time that even the lowliest has value - even though I'd never want to worship in Christian fashion.
That's what I tried to say - poorly - by my prosaic Patton and Eisenhower. Nidai Doshu, too, was a great man - proof of which that he could accept and lead men who were far more skilled and charismatic than he.