Re: Ueshiba's Aiki
Well I'm the kohei of all of ya's and I'm heading down shortly to meet Dan for the first time.
My own perspective as an aiki-mutt is that there is a lot of aikido out there that doesn't do what it says it does. Now take that with as big a pile of salt as you like because I'm by no means a good martial artist; I was an older, slower beginner and I'm just older and slower now.
But I have to say that over the years I trained with many nidan, sandan and yondan in USAF and other Aikikai dojos, and being a small woman I am very very aware of when I'm being muscled. I'm sorry, dragging people around and then throwing them all at the same speed and adding tons power is not the aikido I'm interested in.
And I've also trained in many dojos where people thought they were doing really good aikido because they blended so nicely and their ukes were happy to go where they were supposed to and take pretty rolls. That's a fun workout but it's also not the aikido I'm interested in doing.
But getting around a lot I have also felt the real deal - people who connected with you, found your center, undermined it, and left you on the ground, not saying "powerful throw!" but "how the hell did I get here?!" - some within mainstream aikido organizations and some outside of the mainstream.
I lack the youth and talent to ever "excel" at aikido in the sense of being a leading practitioner or teacher or what-have-you, but I deeply love the art and so will happily train outside of aikido to develop the mind-body skills that enhance my practice within the dojo.