Thanks for the comments so far.
I think O'Sensei believed that the impetus was on the student to "steal" the techniques.
If this were the case it would have all sorts of implications.
This is one often-cited thing about Osensei's teaching style that I'm interested in. Stealing technique or skills is of course not unique to aikido or even martial arts in Japan. A traditional carpenter who takes on an apprentice won't necessarily explain every detail but will rather just let the apprentice help him out and perhaps even deliberately withhold a few secrets to keep on top. The onus is on the student to actively learn in a "teacher-centred" approach. The thing is, in all these other professions, people do actually learn what to do. Also at some points it seems the founder did give explanations regarding technique (the kuden
The "stealing" aspect seems to have two functions:
- Produces active learners. In martial arts in particular, fostering the ability to learn what an opponent is doing quickly seems like a good idea to me.
- Regulation. The teacher doesn't give everything away and furthermore, can make students focus on things stage-by-stage rather than jumping ahead and missing out something important.
Another thing is, did Osensei learn this way from Takeda? This man was reputed to be even more paranoid than Osensei. If stealing is the "problem" then surely the problem of transmission should be repeated in Takeda's other students too?