Mark Balogh wrote:
It is my personal opinion that as we get further away from the founder, generation by generation, the skill levels are becoming less impressive. Is anyone else of this opinion?
I do not share that point of view. Ueshiba developed his Aikido and he was the best at it. Tomiki developed his Aikido and he was the best at it. Shioda devel.... you get the idea.
Ueshiba took some techniques from Daito-ryu, coloured them with his own philosophy and knowledge of other martial arts. He passed on a living, evolving Aikido not a dead art of set techniques to be performed only one way regardless of size, age and ability. Some of his students took what he had to offer and following his own advice found their own Aikido -- Tomiki, Shioda, Tohei, to name just a few.
Are they better? No. Are they different? Yes. Is that a good thing? Yes, because then I can learn Aikido.
Besides, if no students could surpass his teacher then Sokaku must be better at Aikido than Ueshiba ever was. Meaning that sometime ago, when we were covered in fur and living in caves, there must have been a super-sensei capable of doing ikkajo on mammoths!!!! RYAAAAA!!!....