I feel that Mr. Vickery's comment is very true, in the sense that (I paraphrase) anyone that reaches O'Sensei's level of mastery will, in all likelygood, break off and create their own thing.
Anyway, I believe O'Sensei's technical level has already been surpassed; probably by more people than we realize. Looking at it in another way: when you're standing on the shoulders of giants, it's a lot easier to reach higher.
So really, the question of surpassing O'Sensei's level is moot. We are all standing on O'Sensei's shoulders, on what he built. The real question is: Will any of us be able to attain the level of INSIGHT that allowed him to CREATE Aikido?
One other thing: there is nothing wrong in venerating your teacher; It's another thing entirely to impose your teacher's abilities as a limit. Nothing must limit your commitment to become the best Aikidoka you can. My own teacher always says to us: "I train you to become better than I; any teacher worth his salt wants his students to surpass him. If you do not try to be better Aikidoka than me, I will not have done my job."
I'm sure this is what O'Sensei intended for his students. That is, for ALL his students, no matter the style of Aikido we may practice.
[Edited by stratcat on September 20, 2000 at 11:24pm]