I suggest you do some research on a man called Joseph L Greenstein aka 'The Mighty Atom'.
He was an old time strongman.He could bite solid dollar coins in half.He held back a twin prop aeroplane with his hair.He pounded six nails through solid wood.He was a tiny man ,Even at an advanced age is feats of strength were astounding.
It is my understanding that O Sensei was a very strong man.Check his earlier pictures.He is built like a brick outhouse.
If you want to know exactly how powerful O Sensei was or how skilled why not take the time/make the effort to ask some of his uchideshi who are still living?I would agree that in general physical power diminishes with age, nevertheless it does not mean that everyone becomes weakling.
In my youth I met a man called David Webster.He challenged people strand pulling contests.Nobody could fully open a set of strands he used.Another man John Citrone could take a standard rubber hot water bottle and he would blow it up until waterbottle burst.
The athletes you mention might well be fast , strong but can they use what they have in areas other than their speciality?Where is your own evidence that O Sensei that O Sensei ducked out of challenges???The fact is that neither you or most people can not answer this question.Only people who have had contact with O Sensei can say what he was like.The rest is speculation imo.
I'm not sure which of your fallacious arguments to start with, but I'll give it a shot. For starters, referencing an old timey "strong man" (whatever that is) is utterly irrelevant to Ueshiba's personal abilities. David Blane, Harry Houdini and religious ascetics have been subjecting their bodies to feats of strengths and endurance for years, but it doesn't mean they're superhuman, invincible, magical, etc... Nah, just regular folks with a peculiar skill set, like sword swallowing. Besides, Mas Oyama had far more demonstrations of strength than Ueshiba and they're on film! Never mind the fact that your assertion is complete hearsay and devoid of any objective evidence to support its voracity, but then you knew that. Oh did I mention I could leap buildings in a single bound too. LOL!!! What, you don't believe me? But I said it, so it must be true, right?
"It is my understanding....." that's my point exactly. You're understanding is limited and deeply flawed. You have no first hand knowledge of his physical strength in any objectively measurable form. As a result, all "evidence" you offer are little more than sycophantic remembrances from deeply biases sources, which you have now received from second, third, fourth, fifth hand sources.
While Ueshiba may have been strong for his size and age (relative to a very small and physically weak population in general) he was still by no means objectively strong. Watch professional power lifters, world's strongest man, sprinters, etc... those guys are strong! Oh and "brick outhouses" can easily be toppled, particularly ones that are only 5 feet tall and weigh 130lbs, but thanks for comparing O-sensei to a toilet. I've seen all the pictures of Osensei in his "prime", nothing overly impressive. Go on youtube and you'll find athletes that will blow your mind. THEY have amazing physiques and athletic prowess, not 5' tall Japaneses pensioners. I'm also not aware of anyone in a hurry to cast his "stunning athletic physique" in bronze any time soon. When is the last time a Japanese even won a Gold medal in the Summer Olympics (track and field, boxing, sprinting, high jump, decathlon, etc...)? For better or worse, being Japanese and possessing great athleticism is very rare indeed.
I never made any claim about his strength, others have. As such, the burden of proof is upon the claimant. I can't prove he wasn't particularly strong, they have to prove he was and they haven't. The "evidence", such as it is, relies entirely on deeply biased, subjective sources, the very antithesis of scientific proof and reason. After all, what do you expect the uchi deshi to say, that they dedicated their entire life to a schmuck? Come now, you can't really be that naive? I have trained with several uchi deshi, so what. I wasn't overly impressed. Just because you took piano lessons from Mozart doesn't mean you ARE Mozart (or even a pale imitation). I'm always amazed that people think that simply because they studied with Ueshiba that they necessarily are better than those who haven't, which is of course nonsense. That's like saying you have to personally know Issacc Newton in order to do Calculus. LOL!!!!!!!!
Your last few paragraphs again rely of fallacious logic and pure hearsay, which I've already covered. However, I can blow up a hot water bottle, big F'n deal does that make me special? As for the age old "spirituality" cop out so often used when logic fails, I would simply ask what is an "spirit"? How much does it weigh? Does it interact with the elector-magnetic spectrum in any measurable fashion (if so how are you able to perceive it while I am not? If you can't perceive it, how do you know it's really there?) Also, what is it's specific heat? Triple Point? Molecular Formula? Empirical Formula? You seem to "know" and awful lot about it, so do please give me these simple definitions so that we might have a common base of knowledge from which to operate. Again, the burden of proof is upon the claimant and you have offered none.
I say he ducked challenges until I see other wise. I have yet to see convincing visual evidence that Ueshiba was ever legitimately challenged by a well accomplished, unbiased practitioner. Where are the films of him in the clinch, trading leg kicks, take down, grappling, boxing, etc.......? Of course, no such video will ever be found because they don't exist. As a result, any claims of extra ordinary ability are to be met with deep skepticism ("that which can be asserted without evidence, may be dismissed without evidence.") You have no objective evidence to support your claims. As such, they can and should be dismissed out of hand as they do not meet the basic criteria for the burden of proof.
I wonder if this "spirituality" of Ueshiba's, which you claim to know so much about, includes paling around with war criminals whose acts were so heinous they would have made Goebbels blush, or maybe it was living off of other peoples money his entire life, of maybe it was his great "Spiritual" quest to Mongolia to spread the "wisdom" of the Omoto kyo religion.....with a gun, of course :/ I could go on and on about the "greatness" of the man, but I digress.
While Ueshiba was certainly a great martial artists, he was bound by the same laws of physics which govern us all. As such, he was not capable of anything other people can't also attain. One need not interject ridiculous and utterly non-falsifiable variables ("ki", "spirituality", "energy", etc....) to explain a human man's physical abilities. To do so is insult the years of hard work and dedication of the man, not to mention an insult to the intelligence of your readers.