Ron Tisdale wrote:
This is one of the points that always confuses me! Everyone says relax..relax..relax..but it seems to be so much more than that. There has to be the right kind of tension in the right places...and very relaxed in other places...and how the heck you maintain that under pressure I haven't a clue.
This falls into the category of the "levels" and "gradations" of power that I've referred to before. Some types of tension are used in *training*, but when it gets to using held tension-areas in actual application, I think a mistake is being made. Ueshiba and Tohei weren't talking about the type of ki/kokyu usage that has inherent tensions. It is possible that Daito Ryu, at least some proponents of it, use some of the tension methods derived from old Shaolin training. That's part of what the discussion on Aikido Journal is about.
The tensions that are used in training can run the gamut from coarse/obvious to very subtle indeed. But those tension devices are training mechanisms which can be thought of as supplements to the use of kokyu/jin which is the real "ki" that Tohei talks about in "ki flow", etc.
Personally, I would suggest that anyone advocating held tensions during the practice and application of Aikido, etc., may be going a bit off the mark.