I practice for some 18 years now. And for me aikidō always has been a certain feeling. Practice created this certain feeling within me. And this feeling again created "my" aikidō and gave form to my training.
(When Endo sensei teaches he very seldom uses just "ki", but mostly uses "ki-mochi" / 気持ち. Which means "feeling".)
Over the time I experienced that there exist quite different feelings of aikidō as a result of different ways of understanding what aikidō is or should be. And as a result of quite different ways or types of training. So a certain feeling only indicates a certain way of aikidō. Whether it is the way Ueshiba meant and taught can not be derived from that.
For this reason I found it so important to more and more be able to connect teh words of Ueshiba to specific ways of training. To experience that sayings like "the connection of heaven and earth" are not something vague, esoteric, spiritual but are certain ways of practice. Evoking a certain feeling. A certain feeling which is similar to certain ways of doing aikidō. But not to others.
I respectfully agree. There are many different experiences under the umbrella of Aikido
I have been training for 25 years. Ron always, right from the beginning of my training, has emphasized developing correct feeling and connection with our ukes.
Any concepts that seem a mystery can be revealed in the training. The process and commitment are important.
I get suspicious when someone says that their way is the best way or the only way. Ron's teacher did that in kind of a joking way, but he really wasn't kidding, totally. Anyone can develop correct feeling and strength if they keep training.