Apropos of this thread as a whole ( a couple quotes from Dobsons, It's a Lot Like Dancing
Concerning Ueshiba's power (aiki)
Osensei said that it is easy to control people. What is much more difficult is to control them without using tricks. There are many things he did that I can't explain, like the way in which he woudl hold out his bokken and ask people to push on it. Since it would always be the same people, Subano (sic) Kenai (sic) and Saotome, and he'd never include me, I'd think, oh that son of a bitch. This is all rigged, this is all funny. There was a big demonstration one day. He had three guys pushign on the bokken. I slid in between Chiba and Subano (sic). I hit that bokken. I was certain it had to move. Even if you run up aaginast a wall, there has to be some movement. But there wasn't any, none. It was like hitting solid steel. Now, how did he do that? I have no idea. All I know is that I was dealing with something that could not be explained from my basic experience as a human being.
Concerning the question of religion:
I know what he did when nobody was looking. I went on a trip with him to Kyoto, for three or four days. He had almost no meetings with anybody. We stayed in this house, in rooms right next to each other. I could hear every move he made. Whatever he needed, I would provide for him. What he did during those days was pray. That's what he did. That's his point of origin. He didn't go to the movies, go out on a date, or entertain a bunch of people. He just talked to God.
Just so this is not misconstrued, this does not mean that he demanded everyone follow his religion. But he was profoundly religious himself.
Back to the question of teachers and students:
- One time my teacher, in an off-handed moment mentioned that my kicking wasn't so good. I joined a muay thai gym for several years.
- Another time, he said that my grappling skill was lousy. I trained in judo for a number of years.
- He never once told me how to do a technique. He just told me over and over how terrible I was. So I watched him carefully. And learned to do things as he did.
So I have little sympathy for the complaint that someone is not a good teacher.
(And that said, that Dan, Mike, Ark, to name just three, are so willing to articulate their understanding of these principles, and go about attempting to explicitly present their understanding for others' edification, is quite a remarkable development in the history of internal martial arts. Something worth checking out - if only to confirm that one's own path is sufficient).