First, allow me to apologize for the terse nature of my statement. No doubt, the subject matter of the proper and successful transmission of knowledge, techniques, materials, instruction and wisdom from teacher to student has many facets, and many schools of thought and theory. If my statement came off as being a bit "elitist", it was intentional. I cannot fathom O Sensei, Kano Sensei, Takeda Sensei, Newton, Aristotle, Einstein etc. etc. etc. of ever accepting being surpassed by any of their talented students.
Secondly, when it comes to matters Aiki and Aikido related, I acknowledge no competition amongst individuals, styles and theories. Therefore, I acknowledge no competition between a master teacher and his or her students over time. The path of personal shugyo is singular and unique to each individual, leaving no basis for real comparison or authenticated contrast of the timelines, goals defined, or even goals attained for each person.
The notion long endured of "it is the teacher's goal to have the student surpass him or her over a lifetime" is absurd and offensive to all parties, if they would but think of what this really is trying to convey. It is assuming that there is a quantifiable method of determining correctly what that teacher's private goals actually were, or if it were even feasible to compare them with the those of the master's acknowledged students. If so, in what time frame? Using what parameters or guidelines? No such formula exists, nor can it ever exist, as each individual's path is singular, original, and time sensitive.
Why on earth would any genuine student want to tread on the master's path, only to claim to surpass it where the teacher left off? How much time would remain for that student to then create an original path of his own, learning from his own triumphs and miscues, and have a legacy to pass on to his own spate of students?
I do believe that the above stated notion is noble and romantic, but quite impossible to truly envision, let alone institute and achieve. If such an arbitrary standard were successfully raised, acknowledged and supported by all involved, then perhaps such a phenomenon of overtaking can actually take place. Otherwise, why waste any more mindless rhetoric on this matter?
For those who specialize in being hopelessly mired in circular arguments, good bye. And yes, it was I who made up that statement.
For those who still believe in the intrinsic ability of each person to strive for unique achievement, like the Founder of Aikido, like the great minds of science and philosophy over the centuries, and from countless other fields of human endeavor, be at ease, for yours is still the right to create and to lead as your talent, energy and drive supports your dreams. Your rigorous example is exactly what your future students really want from you, and to draw from on their own journies. Knowing that you never quit growing, restructuring and humbly acknowledging your humanity, and your genius, is what all students want and need from their mentors. Do not ever stop.
In summation, it is useless to have two or more individuals travel the exact same path. Since it is not possible, there can then be no way to overtake the one before. Have the courage, foresight and the perseverance to create your own path, and allow your teacher(s) to continue on their own pursuits, without thought of competition or fear of becoming someone else's milestone.