Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII
Ken, Saotome doesn't conceal the connection to Yamaguchi, and we didn't say he did. From one interview: "I practiced judo when I was in high school. I was taken to the Kuwamori Dojo with an introduction from my judo teacher because he thought aikido would be suitable for me. That's when I learned about aikido for the first time. At that time Seigo Yamaguchi Sensei was teaching the class. I was bigger than I am now and weighed about 190 pounds. I used to win judo matches in Tokyo. After the class, Yamaguchi Sensei told me to grab his fingers. The moment I grabbed them I was thrown. I didn't know how it happened and thought I had fallen by myself by tripping on a corner of the tatami mats. So I asked him to do it again. I think I was thrown four or five times. He threw me with his fingers and also when I grabbed his shoulder. This is how I started the art."
But Saotome doesn't make clear is how much time he spent with Yamaguchi, relative to the time he spent with Osensei. The official ASU materials talk about 15 years and even 20 years with the founder. In fact it was 8, and a very abbreviated, low intensity 8 in terms of how much hands on time he got. The other deshi of that era (primarily those who live in Japan and have no need to "market" their exposure to Osensei) are quite frank. O-sensei did not teach regularly. You can even reconstruct the daily teaching schedule in the 1960s (based on the recollections of those who were there). The regular instructors were Kisshomaru, K Osawa, Arikawa, Yamaguchi, Tada, Tohei, and then later Saotome himself. Saito taught on Sundays.