Rob, it sounds more like a visitation by the Holy Ghost.
Sorry... I never pass up a one-liner if I can help it
One liners are okay, but they make me feel a little nervous about talking about how I "hold myself" in aikido...
But seriously, it's odd to talk about it as any kind of non-physical experience/feeling to me.
Rob, are you suggesting that under certain stimuli your body shifts the way you have moved since the beginning of your life?
I would have to say yes to that. Obviously, I don't actually remember how I moved when I was born, but I can say that before aikido:
- I wasn't holding myself such that I instantly achieved center to center "feeling" with someone the moment they grabbed me. Setting up the proper angle, and extending just a bit more than where you want to meet them, and letting them push your slightly extended wrist/arm/etc... back to where you want to be solid really helps - but at the point of actually being as "solid" as I can achieve - that was dicovered (in my case) by doing a bit of static standing against pushing, seated kokyu ho, and many sword exercises. (Note: I can do this some of the time now, but not in ANY situation yet).
- I wasn't talented enough to move such that I could set up a such a connection as described above from a strike by percussing the striking arm and using that feedback to make the connection.
- I wasn't actively making bodily corrections to maintain a specific center to center "feeling" with someone grabbing me and set a new direction for the both of us (which, along with the set up mentioned above, I think is maybe the main focus of my response to your question).
- (Also) I wasn't moving such that the entire grabbing/conecting surface of the attacker was getting equal pressure.
- I wasn't moving where I could move freely and stratigicly to their diagonals so that the grabber had to give up safety to lose the grab/connection or give up balance to maintain the grab/connection.
- I wasn't moving so much from "my current place" as opposed to kind of going out to their place and trying to move them on their terms.
- And lastly, I wasn't keeping both sides of my body equally energized when touching someone with only one of my arms before aikido.
I think the swimming pool idea makes sense. However, I do think that if you feel a connection and work towards maintaining a connection, with those 4 ki society principles in mind, you probably can just get some of it. (Although I have no idea how ki society people set up their initial connections.) Also, I think that if I tried to do what I'm doing if I were treading water in a swimming pool - it seems likely that when I tried to establish a connection, would end up dunking myself. If it were shallow enough, I could probably still throw them from that situation - but that's getting pretty far from what I have experience with!
Regardless, the point is that there is normal strength, and I can try to muscle my way through techniques using that as well as anyone. There is the technique born out of holding yourself such that you can establish and maintain a connection with a person while you set a new direction for the two of you - which is nothing like techniques using only normal strength, and I'm sure there is something way beyond what I can do. But, I wouldn't say my technique is purely "normal" strength. Since people who only use what I would call "normal" strength cannot do what I'm doing in aikido at all. But, again, I think where I am is just more of a middle ground between really having something valuable and just pushing, pulling and cranking people with "flow".