For people who are so quick to criticize the politics at Hombu they are quick to forget them when it's convenient. Saotome Sensei felt a calling to come to the United States to spread Aikido. In order to do so he was forced to defy Doshu. This was eventually forgiven by our current Doshu. A little fair play would be nice.
When it comes to aiki, Saotome is beyond any doubt among the best I have seen in modern Aikido. I haven't seen anyone in the aikikai who I think can touch him. And I most certainly have no favorites in the aikido game for any reason. Yet, Saotome does not appear on the official list of Shihan who can award shihan to his students....and have it recognozed.....by Doshu.
Why do you think that is?
Many people -Saotome included- considered him a student of Yamaguchi. It has to do with a Japanese thing. Your first sensei in an art and all that. That's not to say that -he did. Also exaggerations are very common, even to flat out lies, because they are not really consided lies by the same standards we use. They are used to demonstrate a perceived truth by the writer. Think of it like an authors purgatives...on steroids. For an example; read Kisshomaru's biography of his father.
Then again, if you really want to appreciate the divine comedy that was the formulation of modern aikido- listen to Prof Goldsbury, who serves as the President of the International Aikikai federation (who's words you have yet to acknowledge) when he, along with many others have tried to tell you that when they all went to Japan they more or less got the ..."oh...now you are going to find out the real truth about aikido, "
speech. Some of which is funny, others sad, but pretty much just another tale of organizational control, over a disparate group of near-do-wells, wanna-be's, and also-ran's...all vying for position many times against some serious talent, who oddly just didn't give a crap about the politics.
Guess who won?
IN light of that you also had any number of Shihan and all…all claimed they had a daily personal training experience with him. That is virtually impossible to be true. You need to understand the Japanese to understand why they can say that and not be called liars. It's a Japanese thing and its okay to do so.
I note that the ASU members who so often defend the coalition around internal training and the historical revisionism, who host seminars for this coalition, who attack me or allow others to attack me, are silent as our teacher is accused of dishonesty. Part of Budo is loyalty. Budo men indeed.
The reason you don't see the many of the ASU internal contingent defending Saotome is that he doesn't't need to be defended. And no one I know thinks very highly of over-zealous attempts to do so on his behalf.
Part of Budo is also understanding nuance and the culture the art originated in, as well as the burden of being seen as representing an organization or teacher without the authority to do so. Most Budo people I know-particularly in the ASU are very educated and detailed in their understanding and would NEVER take part in such a display. For a student representing an art. Discretion is a better way to go.
Are you going to winter camp I wonder?