It is well documented that martial artists, as a group, are incorrigible romantics and idealists, perhaps more interested in pursuing dreams over accomplishing realistic and more pragmatic tasks on a daily basis. Perhaps too they are viewed with envy, and even a bit of child like jealousy by normal folk who wish they could also "be like Mike".
It is so natural to fall in love with stories of "derring do", impossible feats of physical prowess, mind boggling techniques, and the romance tinged exploits of our favorite heroes and heroines. If they happen to be historical figures as well, hell, all the better.
Let me see if I can sum this up:
1. Aiki News Issue 025 - Tenryu wrote:
Sensei, with that small physique ... I couldn't budge him no matter from what angle I would push or pull once he was seated.
2. Aiki News Issue 063 - Shirata Renjiro wrote:
Other officers came saying they would like to see his strength since they heard that he was very strong. At that time we had already finished training and Ueshiba Sensei and I had finished dressing and were about to go home. Sensei stood at the very edge of the tatami of the dojo and told us to push against him using our whole bodies. First, one, then two and then three of us pushed against him but he didn't move at all. Then, the officers said they wanted to try pushing him. Even though they were students they were about 30 years old. About ten of them pushed against us from behind with all their might but Ueshiba Sensei didn't move at all. The tatami on which we were standing on started to slip backwards, but the tatami on which Ueshiba Sensei was standing didn't move.
3. Aiki News Issue 99 - Interview with Takafumi Takeno wrote:
That was only shortly after I had begun practicing aikido so I didn't really understand the high level of what O-Sensei was demonstrating. I remember that he told his students to push and pull him, but try as they might he remained unmoved, impervious to their efforts.
4. Aikido Journal 106 - Seishiro Endo wrote:
I remember one time when O-Sensei was standing there explaining something and he told me to try pushing his knees from the side. I was amazed at how soft they were. But they were soft in such a way that they seemed to defy pushing altogether, like if I tried to push further I would fall into some sort of void.
5. Aikido Journal 109 - Tohei wrote:
His posture was as solid as a rock and you couldn't budge him no matter how you pushed or pulled; yet he would toss me effortlessly without ever letting me feel that he was using any strength at all.
6. Aikido Journal 116 - Masando Sasaki wrote:
Sometimes O-Sensei used to hold out a jo and have two or three people push against it. I once had the chance to be one of those pushing, and it was really very strange the way all of our pushing effort seemed to just evaporate away.
7. Kazuaki Tanahashi talks about trying to push Ueshiba. He mentions Saito trying to push Ueshiba over, too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpWY58LWaRE
So, we can either believe Tenryu, Shirata, Takeno, Endo, Tohei, Sasaki, and Tanahashi (this is by no means the complete list either) as not being able to push Ueshiba over ... or we believe you that they are all romanticizing their accounts and it was all "derring do".
Nonetheless, let us not be haplessly tied to dubious "factual" accounts, and feel forever "second class", as we could probably never hope to duplicate such events. Reality has much better "stories" in store for those who actually follow through with their honest pursuit of pragmatic, and even idealistic goals.
Because you cannot do what Ueshiba did, because you cannot begin to understand how he did it, then it must not be "realistic"?
This is our due diligence to the teachers of aikido who state they are doing the founder's art. Can you replicate his skills? Why not? Other people have replicated some of his skills.
Ueshiba started training in aiki in 1915 and met Tenryu around 1940 (not sure of exact year). 25 years of training. And Tenryu could not push him over because Ueshiba knew the secret of aiki. Who in aikido with 25 years of training can replicate this? Why not? Shouldn't aikido students ask this question of their teachers?
Why is it that so many students of Ueshiba talked about trying to push him over and failing? Why can't Modern Aikido teachers replicate this after 30-40 years of training?
We really do not need to primarily look to myths, legends and "stories" from the past to inspire us to make Aiki Principles come alive, and to make true differences in our own precious lives, and the lives of those we love. The best remains within us, and the best truly is still yet to come.
Myths and legends? Shioda, Shirata, Tohei, Tenryu, Tanahashi, Endo are all making up myths and legends about their training with Ueshiba. This is what you actually want us to believe? This is the "due diligence" you would give to us?