Greg Steckel wrote:
I have noticed that in a few of your recent posts you have referred to Tohei and his 'Internal' skills. In your opinion, do you think that his Ki development methods are sound tools that can help to improve internal skills? I look forward to your response.
I'm not fully decided, mainly because I have some reservations. For the most part, many of the western Ki-Aikido people I've met only have limited skills. However, I've met a few that had what I would consider "acceptable" (within a broad sprectrum; I don't mean that as an oblique trivialization of their abilities) skills. My general opinion is that it's not a bad way to start at all IF
there are people within the dojo that really have good skills to emulate in the process. If you just try to "relax", you're not going to learn much and you're going to pick up bad and difficult-to-correct habits.
So with those caveats, I'd say yes, I like Tohei's general approach. Bear in mind that I speak from a position that I can also criticize; i.e., it's difficult to get really good skills without a lot of training and input, not to mention hard work. My opinions are not meant to be from a know-it-all perspective.
From what I've seen and felt of Ki-Society members, the level is not as high as I would have hoped (I actually pull for them, in many ways) and I feel that the "relax and let the Ki of the Universe do it for you" approach is limited (it seems to be almost ignorant of some of the other possibilities with these skills). But as a start, fine.
At the recent Ki-Society workshop I attended, I felt like a couple of the Lawrence, Kansas people were ahead of most Ki-Society members I've met, but then again they have Tsubaki Sensei... he appears to be a boost to learning that most dojos simply don't have.
Sorry to give such a lengthy mixed-bag response, Greg, but I'm trying to be honest and fair.