Editor: During Ueshiba Sensei’s training sessions in what way did he explain the techniques of Aikido?
No matter what it was that we asked him I think we always got the same answer. Anyway, there wasn’t a soul there who could understand any of the things that he said. I guess he was talking about spiritual subjects but the meaning of his words was just beyond us. Later we would stand around and ask each other, “Just what was it Sensei was talking about anyway?” (laughter).
Did Ueshiba's students' understanding of his explanations improve at a later time? Or did Ueshiba have an understanding that was not passed down to his students?
The current answers are considerably more complicated than the more basic question I am trying to ask.
Define the logical boolean proposition understands_explanations(X, Y, t) as: At time t, Person X believes that Person Y understands Ueshiba's current explanations.
Did there exist a student S and times t_1 and t_2, such that these three conditions are true:
- understands_explanations(Ueshiba, S, t_1)
- understands_explanations(S, S, t_2)
- t_1 and t_2 are after 1933, when Kunigoshi's experience with Ueshiba begins
The situation described by Kunigoshi is very unusual. Did this situation persist? Or did students simply catch on later? If necessary, you can relax the "understands" to "partially understands".
Note that I do not care whether the student can manifest Ueshiba's skills, or whether the time that Ueshiba thinks the student understands matches when the student thinks they understand. The question is about whether Ueshiba and his students ever thought the students understood.
Based solely on the quotation from Kunigoshi, the answer to this question is simply: "no". The students agree they do not understand what the teacher is saying. Thus, there would not exist a student S and time t_2 such that understands_explanations(S, S, t_2) is true. Although a student may be able to pass on what they have learned (as in Kunigoshi's case), it is expected that information missing in the transmission from the original teacher will still be missing in later generations unless they are rediscovered.