Ignatius Teo wrote:
Ah... so it wouldn't help either if we all frolicked around in our underpants?
Depends on how sophisticated someone's power is, but generally (unless they also use the dantien/tanden for added power) you can't really see this stuff. That's why it's sometimes called the "concealed strength". If they just use "baseline" kokyu forces, like what I saw a few people do at the Shaner workshop, you won't be able to see much because they're only using a certain amount of force manipulation and a certain amount of "connectivity" in the body which is unseeable. One thing though is that someone who has worked on this stuff enough will have a "feel" to him... which is why it's desirable to touch someone to see what level of power they have.
If someone has gone the specialized route (the whole banana) of using the dantien/tanden for power, you can see the dantien move if someone is in their underpants.
If someone uses the dantien/tanden but they're at a very high level where "movement approaches stillness", you may not even be able to see that when they're in they're underwear.
So how do we steal what we can't see? Intuition? Kinesthetic awareness? Or do we have to be one of the gifted few as Jorge suggests - in which case, what need is there to steal? When all you need is an equally gifted teacher and have this "given" to you - because such things, as you say, are "reserved for the best and brightest".
So if the rest of us untalented mob have to resort to stealing anything in order to progress, what hope is there for any meaningful sort of baseline, if all we have is a partial frame of reference based on visible externalities?
Yeah, you raise some pretty good questions. With some experience and practice, you can learn to spot a lot of this stuff for the simple reason that no matter what someone calles it (qi, jin, ki, kokyu, Ki of the Universe, whatever), the basic principles are the same. So you start from the very safe idea that whatever they did must be based on the same core principles.... and that's always true. What Master Sum did is based on the same core principles that Ueshiba Sensei used. The differences were matters of sophistication and the focus of their specialties.
There is no easy answer to where people can become weekend wonders at this stuff, but on the other hand the good news is that once you get something of a handle on this stuff you can understand a LOT of techniques because you now know the basic principles. I.e., instead of needing the keys for every door in the house, you can go everywhere once you have the master-key.
What I'm getting at is that once you understand and can do some of the basics and you realize that "everything is the same thing", then you don't need to see people in their underpants... it will boil down to "they MUST be doing generally this, even if they've added a couple of tricks to it". So I could (as a theoretical example) look at Master Sum years ago and be clueless about how he was doing that bouncing. Later I could look at it and emulate it but nowhere near as well... I knew the basics which MUST apply. After that, once I knew more of the "add on" training things and had trained myself to some degree, I could look at him pretty much with certainty that I knew what he was doing and what his training focus was. Underpants or not.
So, the question is, how does a baseline level make the rounds in the Aikido world in the quickest amount of time? It's tricky. People should be falling on their knees at night, though, and be thankful that there are people like Ikeda Sensei in Aikido. And other innovative nice guys.