I havent posted here in many years, I am glad to see the board is still up and kickin! Its such a valuable resource for discussion of internal martial arts and I wanted to stimulate some discussion on other masters within the Japanese Budo tradition who have done work similar or identical to that of O Sensai Ueshiba.
I am a karate practitioner who trained independently for many years after receiving my Nidan and stumbled into a softer, more flowing way of performing karate. I rejoiced when I located the work of Shigeru Egami, who was one of Funakoshi Sensai's original students. Egami disagreed with the rigidity of kata performance and had an enlightenment experience which appears to have been identical to that discussed by Ueshiba Sensai. His work is a great inspiration to karateka who wish to explore the deeper aspects of the art.
I have come to my own observation/conclusion, that Egami's way of karate is identical to aikido, altbeit that our techniques differ. My own parent style is Shito Ryu but Egami's written material and the few who practice in his footsteps seem to emulate this feeling.
Here is a youtube demo of some of his work for BBC:
Here is a demonstration of some of my work in the area;
I wear the hakama as I entered martial arts from a Kobudo background and it is not unusual for karateka in the internal and kobudo traditions to wear it, and though I am demonstrating in an aikido dojo, I hold no rank in aiki practice.
Here is a more fun highlight reel of some of what we do in the dojo, more for giggles...
And here is Egami Sensai, archival footage showing his relaxed, open flow in karate..
I hope you might comment on whether you have heard of Egami's work or other teachers who had a similar path to that taken by your O Sensai.
I think we can all experiment, train and continue to grow in our art. I am very interested in the progression of karate into an internal art, which I believe was its original form and intention, but has been diluted by too much hard style and too much athleticism since the death of Funakoshi.