So, David, I wonder what you think of the following questions.
- In view of the general belief in the Iwama community that Saito Sensei came the closest to full transmission of O-Sensei's aikido, do you believe that O-Sensei viewed the bokken primarily as a striking weapon, rather than a cutting weapon?
- Is there any training exercise in the Iwama curriculum that is understood to be using the bokken as if it were a cutting instrument?
These questions are very interesting to me, as my own feeling is that the experience of aikido as uke is very different if tori has the intent to cut, rather than to strike.
Saito Morihiro was extremely respectful of the material the founder left behind (e.g. "Osensei will be cross at me if we don't do tainohenko"
(glances at the picture of the founder on the kamiza). Given this, I believe that his teaching was faithful to the original in general, and with regards to the use of the bokken in particular.
Having said this, when a kami was possessing the founder, the weapon he was wielding was probably an extension of his persona and so it could have been a cutting weapon a striking weapon or a photon torpedo launcher for all I know ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_TmFosN6bE
Many of us have an expectation that the subject we study is coherent and contradiction free. Even if the founder had the same expectations of his own work, I find it quite unlikely that he and I share the same underlying assumptions so that even if his system was coherent in his judgement, it may not look like this to me.
In post 10 I said that "Things do get more nuanced outside of suburi" but things are already not quite clear cut "inside". To save time I will borrow from JW's post and note that all his "Why"s do point to the use of bokken in Iwama system being rooted in the shinken.
In pair practice we have many other examples e.g: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geIIkMkG4Jw#t=3m0s
around 3 minutes timestamp. I have seen the uchitachi's first move done as a slice, a tsuki followed by a slice and a strike to the sternum followed by more of a protective move then a slice.
So there you have, not contradiction free as I would like it to be, but what part of Aikido is?