OTOH, if one has a hypothesis that a certain skill set was lost, one can suggest possible logical consequences of that hypothesis--predictions suggested by the hypothesis. If those predictions are confirmed, then that adds credence to the hypothesis.
* We should be able to trace the progressive loss of the skills over time;
* We should be able to show how the skills were lost--why they were devalued;
* We should expect to find hints and reminders of the skills among most of the Founder's students;
* We should be able to tie the skill set back to prior arts and sideways to sister arts.
Confirming any of these predictions doesn't *prove* anything. It does lend support to the hypothesis, though.
I agree, but the problem is all of these are built on the assumption that there was something different to start with. I know I sound like a broken record, but here's where I'm going.
with your possible predictions.
First prediction. How do you know that our predecessors had skills we don't have? Before we can go about tracing how the skills have been lost, we need to first establish the existence of any different/special/unique skills.
Your second prediction makes the same assumption.
Your third prediction would be a good place to start, but before we can do that, we need an agreed upon model of these skills to find hints and reminders of them.
Your fourth prediction has the same problem.
So while I agree, that working from a hypothesis is a great way to go, we have to first establish the point we are going to build the hypothesis on.
So if we are going to look to IP to build our hypothesis about it's existence in the past, we first have to understand what IP is right now. Without this foundation we can't hope to use past information to confirm our suspicions.
We are in a better place if we start with athletics and work from the assumption that what Tomiki said was correct or incorrect. We know what athletics are, we know what isometrics are. So if we start anywhere I would guess the better part would be attempting to prove or disprove that Ueshiba was using isometrics to achieve the things he was suppose to be doing.