I wish I could go into more detail - I cannot - but I am aware of one event when Ueshiba Morihei, at the height of his powers, was humbled by another martial artist. (No, I'm not talking about his first youthful encounter with Takeda Sokaku, or Sagawa Yukiyoshi's account of grabbing Ueshiba's arms and rendering him unable to move). For those who are curious, I will not say more, and I don't want to engender a "twenty-questions" side-track on the thread. I'm simply raising this point because I've heard very creditable evidence that puts paid to the idea that Ueshiba was an "invincible warrior."
I was thinking of that story when I said that no one was known to have stood successfully against Morihei.
Still, in all those years…never to have encountered anyone who could give him pause, especially in a culture of such extreme martial values as Japan...it would seem, with a little thought, to be unlikely. Of course, Takeda must have been stronger or Morihei wouldn't have followed him. So there's one. Maybe Sagawa--go ahead and count that as two...And then there's this one other person whom I will believe bested Morihei simply on your very credible word.
So three people seem to have "gotten over" on Morihei in his many decades among Japan's toughest. That's still dang good.
Actually, Mochizuki Sensei openly said that he often gave Morihei "a hard time" in randori and Morihei supposedly said, "Minoru, I constantly have to change my techniques because of you!"
A sword with no nicks may well be a sword that was never used.
As I pointed out earlier, there were many eminent practitioners who were not that impressed.
Dan Rubin teased me that I'm still Dueling with Osensei. Absolutely right. I'm interested in who he was and what he could really do. Not the martial arts equivalent of "lives of the saints."
When I read "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail" and first encountered the idea that Jesus might well have been married and had children, it shook me up, but then I thought, in a way, that makes him far more real and still doesn't prevent his serving the functions I understood him to serve.
If Morihei had never encountered anyone anywhere near his level, that sounds like PR. And again, I've wondered (even speculated) about what would have happened had he gone up with Mifune or Toku Sampo.
Still, he was way up at the top of the mountain with only a few other men at that time in history. They were all great and all of them were far above the level that most people ever had or ever would reach.
Thanks for mentioning that.