It had been a widely known but little discussed fact within the [Hombu] dojo [in Tokyo] that after Ueshiba had spent a long time in China…his entire technique changed…
– – – from Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body, Bruce Frantzis, p. 8
I studied with O’Sensei Morihei Ueshiba… during my undergraduate days in Japan…between 1967 and 1969….Ueshiba was far beyond [what I saw of Tokyo-based] aikijitsu‘s level of sophistication. His ability to enter; turn, attract, and then play with and lead an opponent’s chi and mind was phenomenal….
It is my opinion…that it is completely reasonable to assume Ueshiba studied ba gua while he was in China. The entering, turning, and leading of one’s opponent, as well as the undreds of subtle energy projections of aikido are fundamental ba gua techniques that existed long before Ueshiba’s birth….
With Ueshiba, you began to expect the paranormal. I still vividly remember that he could get behind you so quickly it was as if he had disappeared. The same is true of top ba gua people. You could have Ueshiba clearly in your sight, and suddenly he was gone. Then, with equal suddenness, he was back. Ueshiba would then fake a hit and then joint-lock and/or throw you to the ground. In contrast, ba gua people typically would actually hit you first and then throw you to the ground. This “now you see me, now you don’t” is one of the great martial strengths of ba gua adepts. Unlike a boxer or karate person, whose hand you can see coming at you, ba gua people have…a strange kind of speed that is so subtle you cannot perceive its origin or destination.
In watching films of the late master, one can see Ueshiba clearly demonstrating many of the chi principles of ba gua. But while these chi principles are referred to in the vaguest of terms in aikido… in ba gua the critical energy principles are articulated in great depth and are specified in a systematic way….
– – – from The Power of Internal Martial Arts, Bruce Frantzis, pp.118-119