Re: Aikido and Preserving Ego
I have read a lot of Omoto`s own literature and stayed at the headquarters in Ayabe and Kameoka for a short period and I still don`t cleary understand what Onisaburo of Omoto was trying to teach. What I understand seems to fit what I know of Shingon. Omoto has a nice website in English, you might try taking a look.
Okumura, in my opinion, fits in with the group of intellectual shihan that were primarily pre-war. He used to teach the beginner`s class Thursday mornings at Honbu but has long since stopped. I heard that he still occasionally lectures about Aikido theory at the Ueshiba house next door. He would bring in a chalk board into his aikido class and write stuff on the board. He had a very clear curriculum. He was also the only person I ever heard talk about O`Sensei at Honbu.
I agree with you about Zen. The history of Zen in Japan is not a good one, though, and O`Sensei may have been responding to the low quality of teaching he saw. However, Omori Sogen was a contemporary and in my opinion, a great Zen teacher as well as a sword and calligraphy teacher. I think you would find him enlightening.