Hello again everyone, I hope the day is treating everyone well.
Matt, wheeeww....thanks I was really concerned I misunderstood what your were saying. I agree with you 100%. The Founder was a good teacher and without him...well we all in Aikido would be doing something else. I too am not either at a level of skill to eliminate guessing. I am flattered when people think I am definitive. Uncomfortable when that happens I proper to correct politely telling them am not. Thanks Matt, have a great day, take good care of yourself.
In my opinion, what made him good has more to do with the personal value his direct students had in their experiences. He was good; he was bad; he was human.
From what I understand, it had more to do with his son and the various shihan for why so many of us practice Aikido today, but to be sure, if not for O Sensei and his ability to demonstrate something that was perhaps a step or two above the norm, "Aikido" might not be here. Same for Takeda sensei. These were guys who put their craft on display so others could at least begin to approach it, even if perhaps they didn't always do much more than that.
When I look at the few shihan I've learned anything about, Tomiki sensei comes to mind as the archetypical teacher. He seems to have systematically broken things down in terms of how to teach, although many would argue the Tomiki Ryu isn't much better off than many other Aikido systems, in terms of IP.
Regarding Socrates' approach to teaching: he always seemed to have a clear idea in mind, even if he took some time in getting there. I always got the feeling that his questions were rhetorical, so while he would allow the other person to find their own way through the logic, he always established very clear directions for how that should come about. So while he provided that learning environment to induce critical thinking, he also spoon-fed the context. It was as if he built large room of learning and kept placing a new stone in front of the "student" as they walked along together toward it, giving the illuson that they came up with the answer themsleves while actually being pulled along in very definite directions.
By today's standards (based on my studies in the field of Education..which I should add are also low-level), I think that so many of Ueshiba's deshi describe not really understanding him is pretty good grounds for criticising his role as teacher...again, by today's standards, at least. I remember a math teacher I had once who really knew what she was doing (phd in math is pretty accomplished), and while she could inspire us to enjoy how math could be used, she wasn't good at teaching us how to understand the parts she was teaching. She would just demonstrate to us how she worked out the equations and seemed to put little effort into finding new ways of getting the students who didn't get it to understand. To those who perhaps had greater mathematical proclivity (or whatever made her lessons successful where they were), she was a great teacher, but to thse who (for whatever reason) didn't pick up on what she was presenting, she was not a good teacher. She was a mathematician more than a teacher. Very similarly, O Sensei was, I think
, a student of budo more than a teacher. To the extent this might be true I can't find fault, though. He was from a very different time and cultural situation than we are today. Perhaps his best teaching trait was in demonstrating how to be a good student?
Anyhoo...my two bits.