I don’t think Harry sensei has chosen his ‘successor’.
He is exists for today, not concerned with passing his ‘secret’ skills to an heir designate. There are no assistant instructors, he teaches all the class, everyday, except Saturday and Sunday.
So when you think about it, this is the way to go. You exhaust everything thing about you and your skills, leave nothing behind. Well, whatever you have got to leave behind, will be left behind, like it or not. He seems to be very lucid about this and makes not pretense about his death.
I think he has seen his fair share, at his age of 70++, his friends this age are few. He must have gone for enough funerals to know death a little better than us. So his skills is a rare commodity. The oxymoron because what he taught, his style of Aikido is very unique, and yet he teaches anyone and everyone, keen to learn. but it is up to you who absorb and grab it. The more you absorb, the better for him to pass on his skills, if you can’t well, then you can’t. No apologies. He does his best, everyday, every class. He reserves no special techniques for a specific person or group.
Well of course he has a senior bunch of students, but we all learn the same thing he teaches, he never pulls anyone aside to give ‘special’ one-to-one training and attention. He keeps his lessons, fair and equitable.
We are considered senior to him for our longer investment in the art, and our better motor movement and perceived understanding in the Art of Aikido. we are able to learn his more advanced technique because of that, and it was never because we were treated special. Harry sensei never makes anyone feels privileged or special, and in an ironic sense, this makes ALL of us, special. It is a special feeling you get knowing that your sensei is doing all he can for everyone, not just a qualified few, in this way, he took politics out of the equation, he is the sole single ruler, only him, teaches.
Of course there are down sides to this, as when he dies, all of his skills will be dead with him, sans those that he taught and we remembered, then again, we can only perform a replica of what he did. I suspect he never did want us to perform EXACTLY like him. he give us the bones, we fill in the meat. So sometimes I do get concerned about his demise, as I wonder who is going to ‘bone’ me, so that i can continue with the meating part. Well, I guess I’ll take it in my stride when the time comes then.