Peter A Goldsbury
Ah, I see I have stirred up the beginnings of a hornets' nest.
I hope not. And you're going to have to poke your stick in here eventually aren't you?
I for one am only interested in adding what little I can to these high level discussions. A lot of what is currently available online about Iwama came about from rumours, suspicions and imagined conversations, usually from people with little direct connection to the situation being described. My experience of living in Iwama and training in the old dojo has contrasted sharply with that.
Peter A Goldsbury
As for the statue, well, there is an ura aspect to this whole project, as well as the omote that you see. For me, it is notable that O Sensei is not depicted holding a weapon, like a sword or staff. He just stands there on his plinth, like a shrine guardian.
I'd say consider the statue in Tanabe. Osensei is depicted in action and many people accept this omote
image of the founder and have their miniatures of it even though their ura
view is that osensei's hips are dead. Had he been shown with a weapon, would he have been in a posture as taught by Tada Shihan or Nishio? I think even a classic Iwama hito-e-mi
with a ken
would have divided people, even within Iwama over its accuracy. The "guardian" posture represents a perfectly polite tatemae
behind which all the different views of aikido can politely assemble without arguing about who is correct.
I think there have nevertheless been a number of concessions to Iwama regarding the statue and I suspect that it was the number of last-minute drafts and re-drafts that contributed to the spelling mistake on the English side.
Also, I agree that the various sensei's choices of [i]embu[/I represent a diplomatic omote
in that they tend to cover the more common ground of bukidori
rather than going into paired weapons practice.