George S. Ledyard wrote:
Nishio sensei said this in an old Aikido Journal interview:
I think that while it may be true that it is difficult for us as individuals to aspire to "surpass" O-Sensei or our own teachers, that does not mean that Aikido should be degenerating each generation. While one person may not be able to master all that his teacher did, there are now thousands of people training hard and developing their Aikido. If people train up to their capacity and don't artificially limit themselves, Aikido can continue to grow through our collective efforts. Each of us will add something of ourselves to the art. That way it is quite possible that Aikido as a whole will keep developing after O-Sensei and his direct Uchideshi are gone. It's a collective effort of individuals, each going as deep as he or she can.
We've noticed that as we have more senior students, our beginners seem to learn more quickly. Now it could be that these young whipper snapper beginners are just quicker than we were, but I think as we get more teaching input, learning happens faster. Can you imagine how difficult teaching must have been for those first students venturing out to spread aikido? In many ways, we have an easier time because we have many people with years of experience to be uke and help us teach. Even if they've never tried aikido, most folks have heard of it. Still, as I only train 3 or so hours each week, 5 at the most, I can't imagine I'll ever catch up with folks who trained that many hours each day.