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My first teacher Kinjo Asoh Sensei (7 dan) was maybe a little unusual when he started aikido in the 1950s. He was 53 years old. The younger students were in awe of this older guy who trained even harder than they did (I know because some of them told me). They called it eight days a week then. Every day once plus one extra training.
There are celebrations next year for the fiftieth anniversary of O Sensei's trip to Hawaii. So he went in 1961. Asoh Sensei went to see him off. O Sensei called him aside and told him he had to do everything he could to catch kokyu ryoku. "Kokyu ryoku is everything," he told him.
O Sensei told him that several times over the years but Asoh Sensei remembered that time especially. He told me the same thing. I have to get kokyu ryoku. Kokyu ryoku is everything and without it aikido is nothing. My second teacher Sadateru Arikawa Sensei (9 dan) told me almost the exact same thing.
So what is it? Kokyu ryoku. Breath power. O Sensei said it was everything. If you can catch it aikido becomes so easy and so simple.
To get it you have to lose power. All power. If you try to do a technique with even a little power still remaining you will block yourself and block your own progress.
A jujutsu/judo teacher showed me a technique from a kata recently. The technique was completely effective. There was no weak point (suki) anywhere. But it hurt. I have noticed this before with senior koryu people. You can't reverse the technique. Everything is accurate. But taking the ukemi hurts. It's not their fault. If that's all they've ever seen or ever felt that's the way they are going to do the technique.
But one day you will feel real aikido. Real breath power. It won't hurt. Anywhere. You don't know what's happening. You follow the technique because you don't have any choice. Not because someone is making you do something but because that's what you want to do. The technique feels good. Wonderful even. The difference between uke and tori becomes blurred. You're the uke but you're part of the technique. You're doing the technique together. Time stops. It's a kind of magic.
So that's how you can tell the difference between a good teacher and a great one.