The problem with using Ueshiba as a source is that one can find quotes attributed to him that express diametrically opposing viewpoints. The Art of Peace is full of references to opponents and enemies and contains advice as to how to approach them from a martial combat reference point. It also contains quotes that illustrate how training in Aikido will lead to enlightenment if one's practice is devoted and sincere and how it's not about fighting and competing.
I think, Graham, that you are trying to repeatedly shave the face of a coin in an attempt to eliminate one of the faces so that what you have left amounts to (metaphorically speaking) an Aikido monopole. You are, of course, free to differentiate between Aikido as a system of martial combat and Aikido as a system primarily concerned with spiritual development; but I don't believe you can ever fully separate them without losing the essence of what Aikido is. It is the juxtaposition of these opposing viewpoints that via devoted training in Aikido we seek to reconcile within ourselves.
Hi Ron. I understand what you say but in no way agree with the analogy. No two sides of the same coin but two different coins.
I can't find virtually any diametrically opposed view of O'Sensei. I don't as a habit use other peoples quotes to say what I mean and only do so here sometimes because I'm persistently asked for reference. In fact everyone to me is not some all important label so basically we are all dudes dressed up in some kind of image but the image is pretty irrelevant.
Talking of which there was a dude who lived just before Musashi who was for that era the best swordsman in Japan of which I mentioned earlier but the funny thing is he reached a master enlightened stage and once again said similar to O'Sensei. The sword of no sword was one of his statements along with ones virtually saying budo is love. I do tend to listen to the more enlightened ones. Guilty.
However mostly by experience and lets say 90+ percent is where my views come from.
If you studied Bodhidharma for instance you would or may recognize what led to his starting 'way' of martial arts. Nothing to do with the purpose of fighting and of course being an enlightened monk nothing at all to do with war or self defence. To sincerely ask the question of why? one would first have to accept that otherwise there is not much chance of finding out.
I see there are many 'ways' put foreward for example expressing how one develops special, usually put as internal, methods needed to do the unmovable tests and power tests in Aikido. Spiritual ways are much easier and I for example could take virtually anyone and within one lessen have them immovable even if sitting on a chair being pushed by a weight lifter. Simple spiritual self empowering principles. Yet often times on here I have expressed simple principles lets say of Tohei for example saying the understanding of just even one of them can lead easily to being able to do those 'super tricks' only to be informed by some if not many that they too did that for years but alas couldn't do those super tricks. I can only assume therefor, well I best not say.
The martial then of which I talk has nothing to do with the general concensus martial and to me there is no paradox for the martial of which I speak handles the general concensus martial quite perfectly.
For so many hundreds of years the true budo had been lost and abused by those of warlike intentions. Such is what I say and has been said before.
So I'll sum it up in my own personal way and give you a nice modern proverb by yours truly for those fishing for truth:
Searching for that fish in a bucket of earth you will only find food for the fish.