Ian Hurst wrote:
You have mentioned how this can invigorate and enhance the power of even mediocre specimens (such as myself) beyond what can be described through purely physical ways.
However, if this is the case, why has it never gained more ground in fields other than the internal arts. Ignoring obvious areas such as armed forces (who, going off their LSD trials, will experiment with anything), why not in athletics, sports in general? I suppose I'm in the "sounds too good to be true camp" if that makes sense.
Well, let me re-phrase your question for you. What you really mean to ask is why this form of strength is not found in the armed forces, sports, etc., of the US, the UK, Europe, etc. In varying degrees, you'll find some aspects of this training in some Asian armies, sports, daily-life, etc.... but particularly in select parts of the Chinese army, Chinese sports training, and Chinese daily life. Think for instance of all the people who doing qigongs, Taiji, etc., in China. The trick is to find someone who really knows how to do these things and who will train you. At the moment, the West is just getting started (and there is a LOT of bullshit out there, too, so be careful).
Think of Aikido... it's in there. There was a good interview of Tohei in Aikido Journal in which Tohei mentions demonstrating that people couldn't lift him... O-Sensei was watching and was encouraging people because he seemed to be a bit miffed that Tohei had somehow learned some of these skills from somewhere else. In other words, someone having taught this sort of closely-held stuff to Tohei was something of an irritant to Ueshiba. So if there was a reluctance on O-Sensei's part for Tohei to have this sort of knowledge, what do you think O-Sensei's reaction would have been if Tohei, Abe, etc., had said, "Hey... let's teach this to the westerners... I'm sure they'd like it!"
Another problem is that it's not that easy to just do. I can show someone how to do some things, but the academic knowledge is not the same as working it so much that it becomes your instinctive way of movement (which is why is just blow off these comments of "sometimes I do it rigth, sometimes I don't). It takes work. There are gradations of skill. Etc. It's difficult to make the transition and a lot of people simply stop trying once they begin to comprehend how much of a change is involved. Like the bokken swinger "X", they start thinking "so what if it helps me swing the bokken a little stronger... it's not enough more power for me to devote all this time", and yada yada yada. They miss the importance because they haven't taken the time to really understand it.