One of my beliefs is that the history of Daito ryu and Aikido is dependent on its ‘birthing' and upbringing. Certainly Ueshiba's worldview (and phraseology describing Aikido) derived much from his Ōmoto-kyō beliefs.
A similar situation resolves around Takeda Sokau's life in the Aizu Wakamatsu region. The Aizu clan had strict codes of behavior and military training. This codification surely also extended into religious beliefs and customs.
While little has been found regarding Daito ryu and Aizu roots, it has been stated that Saigo Tanomo (a VERY high ranking Aizu councilor) was the conduit to teach Takeda Sokaku. After the breakup of the Aizu region he entered into Buddhist service in a shrine / temple to live out the rest of his life.
Well, with all the talk about spirals and their influence in ‘internal arts' I can only say," WHAT the H*** influence could this temple have had?"
Known as Sazaedo Hall, constructed in 1796 in the Aizu Wakamatsu region, this unique structure was designed using a double helical structure, so that one entering could ascend to the top and without breaking path, continue downward without retracing your steps. Various alcoves in the wooden structure held Buddhist icons (all lost in time) for special reverence.
I could easily see Saigo Tanomo taking Takeda Sokaku to Sazaedo Hall and as they began the circular climb, and begin to show how this structure could be incorporated into a ‘body structure' allowing one to be rooted to the heavens and the earth in a continuous, flowing pattern. Just imagine, anyone touching a rotating spiral is immediately deflected around without disturbing the center core. Using breathing techniques and exercises, one could internalize this to enhance martial techniques. Kind of like aiki, ne?
A stretch? Surely World War II veterans sent off on ships from New York City, passing the Statue of Liberty realized better what their combat service was protecting as they entered into harm's way.
The Entsu Sanso do (formal name), nickname based on the spiral shaped marine snail has been restored and there are even 3d diagrams available online to better get an eye on how this unique structure was designed and built.
Here is a you tube link of a tour thru it, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbsIFksqZus
I do not know exactly how this may have been used as a teaching aid but certainly a different take on the spiraling issue on discussion.