Rupert Atkinson wrote:
I can do things to my own students that they can not do. In time though, some of them can do it right back on me. If you understand something it becomes technical - it can be explained, so you teach it.
Well, Tohei voiced some frustrations that O-Sensei described ki and kokyu skills in terms of the gods entering his body, etc. Tohei puts *some* practical descriptions to the same things and refers to them in such ways as "keeping his center sunk", etc. Some people are trying to develop kokyu skills by waiting for the body and the mind to do certain things, but they don't know what. Shioda attempted to approach the same skills mechanistically, for purposes of description and getting the most number of people to acquire some skills (I personally suspect he reserved some of his skills, just as Tohei does, O-Sensei did, etc.). So the problem for a wide-spectrum forum like this one is to find a common dialogue and/or logical approach (as Shioda attempted to do) that is understood by the most number of people.
And yes - time and strategy. They are major components of harmony, as is distance or space. It is not easy to fit time or space into explanations of feeling, but that's where we need to go.
I don't think we need to go into "feeling" at all. I think we can discuss things fairly well right up to the area of "feeling", but that's about it because feelings are simply too subjective. Heck, I was discussing with a friend of mine on the phone the other night that we can't even define who is "good at Aikido" because it's so subjective. Dan ranks have been given out indiscriminately by some instructors so knowing someone's rank doesn't tell us all that much; people are basing "good" on how someone handles essentially cooperative attacks that are limited in scope, etc. I even have people that want me to see "how good" their instructor, etc., is by "getting on the mat with him", i.e., they envision me wearing a hakama and offering shomenuchi or katate-tori or something and their instructor taking my proffered attack and driving me into the mat or perhaps dislocating my elbow with a foreshortened shihonage.
Anyone who can talk me into sacrificing my body to prove someone is "good" would be a smoothe-talking devil, indeed. My point is that I have great difficulty with some of the descriptions in Aikido (and other arts, as well) if we don't have some basis for what "good" is. None of us know how "good" the other person is from our typewriting skills on these forums, so none of us can be clear what is "amazing" without some fairly clear descriptions of what happened. Perhaps if we try to fine-tune our descriptions of the things we think are extraordinary?
I remember the first time I mentioned to a teacher of mine that I thought such-and-such was a great martial art, as I understood it. He asked, "Oh... what great fighters has it produced?". I named a name and he replied, "Oh... who did he beat?". In other words, he cut to the chase and had me really reviewing a lot of my definitions and musings.
I think it's a helpful way to approach things, even for those people who don't want to let go of cherished "beliefs" and "feelings", by being so pragmatic. Every truly accomplished martial artist I know is pretty darn pragmatic and did a lot of thinking about how things actually work in his years of practice.
Notice that as things are getting better in various arts, including Aikido, a lot of it has to do with more specific and detailed information oh how to do things correctly (not to say that there isn't a lot of totally bogus information out there that will lead you the wrong way, if you're not careful).
All the Best.