Charles Hill wrote:
Just a rant on the criticism John Stevens and others who convey stories of the superhuman acts that Morihei Ueshiba supposedly performed.
For the most miraculous of the stories, the main source has been Gozo Shioda. Professor Stevens included these stories largely based on the source. Before the war, the students of the founder were largely divided into two groups, Omoto Kyo believers and martial arts enthusiasts. Gozo Shioda was clearly in the latter group which was reportedly openly hostile to the group which was interested more in the spiritual matters. Shioda Sensei's teachings emphasized the mechanical, technical points of Aikido. This emphasis makes his technical guides the clearest and most easily understandable of those available.
It is clear that Gozo Shioda had no interest in the mystical side of the Founder's life. This is what makes him an interesting and reliable (comparitively) witness to the things that Morihei Ueshiba did. I have heard many people doubt the stories, but I think that it is important to consider the source when making those doubts.
Did O'Sensei dodge bullets? Could he make a person fall UP a flight of stairs through kiai? I don't know, but I have no doubt that these stories are an important part in the story of Morihei Ueshiba's life. It is clear to me that Professor Stevens rightly included them in his biographies.
In "Aikido Shugyo" Shioda has a chapter in which he states quite clearly that he believes that Morihei Ueshiba had supernatural powers. FWIW, the dodging bullets story is in there also, told directly by Shioda, who was an eyewitness at the event.