And what were they (Tohei, for ex) missing when they went outside the art? They can't speak to us but we can speak for ourselves.
I know I was missing being able to defend myself in my early years. So out I went to find a way to be safe.
Now I only train in Aikido. I am not judging others as wrong I am really interested in the thoughts and process.
The problem, to me, is whether one is even doing "the art' at all. I've been around the US a good bit and I've seen very little aikido deserving of the name. Mostly, I find people doing something so symbolic and formalized that there is no real life in it. And the teachers of these classes have mutliple degrees of black belt. But they are the student of a student of a student of someone who was a student of someone who trained with Ueshiba. And when I say they have that distant lineage, that may be after they hop around from organization to organization over many years, gradually going up in rank, so that they don't have a very long or direct relationship at all to the roots of the art.
So most places you go, it's very questionable that "the whole art" or "the real art" is even there.
But even when you get to the supposed "mainline" aikido, you're still left to wonder how closely it relates to Morihei Ueshiba's art. And that's the rub. It seems there was something more to Morihei Ueshiba's art than there is to modern aikido. So what I want is the root of the art--not the dead leaves I can find scattered all over the ground.
But aren't you guys in Tohei style? As far as I know, mainline aikido (aikikai) does not consider Tohei styl "real aikido" . Tohei added a lot of material that Ueshiba didn't include and aikikai took out a lot of what Ueshiba had.
I went back to Mochizuki Sensei, who had pre-war training with Ueshiba, but he had expanded the technical repertoire to include all of judo and a vast array of jujutsu--all performed from what we would call an "aiki opening". Since Morihei Ueshiba performed techniques spontaneously, causing people to say "What was that?", his aikido was limitless. And people were completely free to resist him as much as they wanted--if they could. So Mochizuki Sensei just opened the gates wide on technique, but it was all rooted in the fundamentals of tai sabaki and kuzushi. And to me, that really carries the spirit of Morihei Ueshiba much better than any modern style available.
Mochizuki Sensei waved off the idea of "ki" for reasons I understand much better now, but is it wrong of me to want to understand ki, now that I've reached full codgerhood? And is it wrong to want to understand how Ueshiba was able to stand in a natural stance and be unmoved when strong men pushed him? Or to understand how he defeated Tenryu, the sumo champion, while sitting in seiza? Maybe you guys teach that, but as far as I know, the "official" art of aikido does not. So your question on why we want to learn IS contains another question: why don't you drop all the Tohei stuff and teach only what Moriteru Ueshiba teaches now? That's the "official" aikido and they don't even teach sword work.
I think the answer to your original question is "Because 'official' aikido drops more and more of what Morihei Ueshiba did as the years roll on."
So to me, mainstream aikido is symbolic and not living and that rather bores me.