So, Dan, I am asking why. Useless for what? You say
everything every Japanese teacher is teaching is all but useless? That is quite a statement.
How many Japanese teachers have you met with an open heart? Have you gone to seminars looking to learn or to find weakness? Have you not seen one thing in Aikido that is good? What is your criteria for judgment? Do they have to be able to beat you up? I don't understand how you know you are better than everyone?
What do students learn from you that they cannot get from someone else? Do your students reflect this quailty that you possess?...can they pass it along?
Since you asked about the students ... well, I guess that would include me. Please take my comments with an open mind. I say that because sometimes the truth is very hard to listen to when it invalidates beliefs. So, I just ask that you keep an open mind, look at things from my POV, and if you have questions, please ask.
Q: What do students learn from you that they cannot get from someone else?
A: Morihei Ueshiba's aiki. His aiki that made him stand out from everyone else. His aiki that allowed him to be tested by wrestlers, boxers, karateka, judoka, kendoka, and handle them effortlessly (generally and for the most part). This is not to be confused with Modern Aikido's definition of "aiki" of blending and harmony. It is this aiki that cannot be learned by 99% of aikido shihan (again, generally and for the most part).
Q: Do your students reflect this quailty that you possess?
A: Yes. I have personally trained with people who have 5, 10, 15 years of study and can easily see the progression levels. Those of us with 5 years include people from backgrounds in aikido, TKD, karate, and nothing at all. We all progress if we do the training. On any day ending in "day", I would jump at the chance to train with Andy (15+ years training) because he can teach aiki, he is aiki, and is the closest to Dan's level. Personally, with 0-1 years of training, I taught two other people who had never trained with anyone and was able to get them started. So, these IP/aiki skills are teachable, trainable, and *everyone* (no matter if you have 60 years martial training or 0 years) progresses as long as you put the time in.
Q: can they pass it along?
A: Yes. See above. I personally have done it with very little experience. LOL. I came back, psyched, telling two of my students, this is what I want to work on. I can't do any of it, but I have the exercises. We worked on them. We worked on them for a few years and got progressively better. Nothing to write home about in a couple years, but a very definite increase in skills. And this from me, someone who couldn't even do anything.
Now, let me add my personal experiences for some of your other questions.
Q: Have you gone to seminars looking to learn or to find weakness?
A: I haven't gone to find weakness, but to see whether or not I could find aiki. As Mark Freeman wrote in his blog about Dan, "He may be the closest you ever get to Ueshiba's aiki." I have found that to be true and have yet to experience anything to disprove it. The only person I have found who is close is Andy. I have yet to find anyone who has the full complement of skills that Dan teaches. Some have bits and pieces, which is nothing to disparage. In fact, I've found at least two that I would very much recommend for their ability/skill, ability to teach, personality, and character. And one that has ability/skill, but has a hard time teaching those ability/skills. In the aikido world, I would train with any of those three in heartbeat. However, none of those three are even close to Dan/Andy's level.
Q: Have you not seen one thing in Aikido that is good?
A: We have always stated that there are good things in Modern Aikido. There is value there. It lacks Ueshiba's aiki and with it, Modern Aikido would be much better. As Ueshiba stated about religion, aiki makes it better. Ueshiba's aiki does not detract from Modern Aikido but rather fulfills it. Makes it a preeminant art as Morihei Ueshiba envisioned it and as Kisshomaru changed it (again, not good or bad, just changed).
Now, for the final question of my post:
Q: I don't understand how you know you are better than everyone?
A: Tested. I have personally seen quite a lot of aikido 4th, 5th, 6th dans testing Dan's ability/skill. I have personally seen quite a few other martial artists (fighters, karateka, TKD, judo, etc) who have done the same. I have heard from other people of many doing this. Not one... not one, let me repeat that, not one
has ever understood what Dan was doing, how they were being easily controlled, how they couldn't capture center, how they couldn't get anything to work, etc. Replace Dan with Andy. While Andy doesn't have the same exposure to thousands of people, it is the exact same thing. And that speaks volumes not for a person, but for the skill -- *aiki*. Teachable, trainable, to everyone who puts in the work. This isn't about Dan at all, yet because he is the one who did the work (shugyo) and put himself out there (for the benefit of all of us, I might add), he is the one taking the personal heat. You could replace him with Andy and it wouldn't matter. In 10 years, you can and will replace him with a number of people doing the work.
Morihei Ueshiba's aiki. Within our grasp. By anyone. For everyone. Teachable. Trainable. The very essence/secret that made martial artists of all kinds stand out from everyone else. But, with Ueshiba, the spiritual ideal made whole and attainable in a lifetime. Never a 20 year technique.