Re: What do you think?
Once again, I find myself in a position to agree with he of the unpronouncable name... Szcepan, while not someone I would want running public relations anywhere, is correct in many of the things he is saying.
What you see in this demo is a very good example of the aiki of movement. It's fluid, relaxed. It's show's aikido kihon waza to good effect in that it is large and expansive.
What is missing is the energetic side of actual intention. None of the strikes were done with real intention to hit. The uke is feeding a "strike-like" movement to the nage. In that way the uke is simply fascilitating the nage's technique.
The Mind moves before the body. When a strike is executed, the intention has already preceded the physical strike itself. If someone with very strong intention attacks, the challenge of ki musubi is to reach out and meet the intention with ones own. If one can't do that, one has a collapse of his energy field, or his field of intention. If that occurs it is impossible to actually make an effective entry against an attacker who has strong intention to hit you. You can know 500 techniques but they are simply 500 techniques you can't actually do.
Ushiro Kenji Sensei, at last year's Rocky Mountain Summer Camp, stated that the single weakest area in Aikido was our attacks. I think that is quite evident here. These young ladies are simply not trying to hit each other. There is no projection of strong intention moving out from them when they attack. None of those strikes would have even hurt if they had made contact. No hara.
It's not hard to do physical blending movement when the attacks are "low voltage" so to speak. As I say, I think the demo was a very nice example of the aiki of movement. But none of those ladies would keep her projection if attacked with real intensity. This is not meant to, as Szcepan has, disparage the whole demo. All of the components of good Aikido are there in the physical sense. But the inner strength that is required to take this movement to the level of Budo isn't there.
I think that this is a very important thing for people to understand. In an Aikido interaction, at the higher levels most of the important stuff is going on energetically in the communication between the partners. How you project your intention, where you place your attention, etc are very significant. If you train with low intention or no intention, you can develop very fine movement and technique but your ability to actually do your technique in any martial sense will be limited at best.
I run into this all the time. I find san dan and yondan level people who cannot do an irimi if you attack with strong intention. Their energy field collapses. As I have stated elsewhere, I can usually tell if I am going to hit someone before I even start to initiate the physical attack. You can tell by how the project their intention towards you (or not).
I am not intending to be unappreciative or disrespectful here. These ladies obviously have spent quite a long time and much effort in their training. It was a very nice demo, as good as many of the demos one saw at the Expo by higher ranked folks. But this lack of intention and lack of energetic projection is something that must be addressed if they are to make any progress towards higher level technique.
Szcepan, I am always wondering at what you feel is the necessity to be insulting, derogatory, inflammatory, etc. You can be right and I still feel embarrassed to be in agreement with you. It feels like hanging with bad companions.