Justin Smith wrote:
Of course, there are those who have experienced those claiming to do it and still don't see anything different than a combination of timing, body mechanics, alignment, and efficient movement that have been known and practiced by martial artists for centuries.
Well, sure, that's part of the problem. Look at this forum and go read the various people, including numbers of "teachers", who have posted quite different ideas about what "ki" is, what "kokyu" is, etc. They can't all be right, yet each one is claiming to "know what that stuff is".
So you've got people who know, people who don't know, and you've got people that don't but claim to. There's also, as I pointed out in another thread, people who have rudimentary bits and pieces and therefore claim to know the subject. That last group can actually be the most misleading in my opinion... passing a few rudiments off as "all there is to it" is basically someone with incomplete knowledge representing themselves as having the expertise to teach.
I always remember going for a walk through a park at some sort of "Asian Festival" with a guest from overseas. We found one booth where a woman was doing calligraphy and selling it. As we walked away, my guest was just stunned... what the person was selling for calligraphy, he said, was about what a kindergartner did back in his own country. Yet the woman doing the calligraphy was wearing a nice Asian costume and speaking softly and sage-like and had an impressive array of writing tools. Probably no one else at the festival even had a clue. Oh... and it turns out that the woman *taught* calligraphy and had a number of students. But don't we see that same thing in many, many dojo's of different martial styles, in the West?