Re: Ichi no ken ?
One should distinguish between Kashima Shin ryu and Kashima Shinto ryu and not confuse the two. The former a 500 year old school popularized by Kunii Zen'ya. Inaba Minoru (sword teacher of e.g. Tissier shihan) studied it for about a year, and NEITHER are formally connected with the ryu. Ueshiba Morehei was never a student in this school. The latter ryu has an unbroken succession line going back to Bokuden Tsukuhara (a student of Kashima Shinto Ryu). In the 1930's Ueshiba signed a Keppan, blood oat, together with his son, Kisshomaru, and a deshi Akazawa. An instructor from the school would then teach at the old Kobukan dojo, where Osensei would observe intently. The school's first ken vs. ken kata (Kumitachi no Ichi) bears the same name as the first kumitachi of Saito, and is virtually identical in form. Many of the following kata also bears resemblance to the aikiken kumitachi.
Is Kashima shin-ryu a valid koryu to train in? Absolutely! Like any of the other extant koryu out there.
Does it have any historical connections with aikido and aikiken of Ueshiba Morehei? NOPE!
And it should be said that Kashima Shinto ryu, although connected with aikiken through history, doesn't automatically teach you aikiken. There is a reason the forms differ, and to paraphrase 2nd doshu Kisshomaru :
- The founder would say (about a ken kata) 'This is how that is done WITH aiki!'
With that in mind it's good to remember that Inaba's (and Tissier's) Kashima Shinryu derived sword work has been heavily influenced by his long time practice in aikido and is probably consistent with aikido principles in a way that the actual Kashima Shinryu (or Kashima shinto ryu) is not!