Mike Sigman wrote:
Some people feel it and know that it's unusually powerful and they'll say "strong", but can't define it and they'll assume, because it's all they have experience with, that you're somehow using muscle....
The real problem is that many/most people need continued guidance for a while in respect to what they are doing in their efforts to learn. At first they're so inexperienced that they can't tell when they've brought correct power (by willing it) to various parts of their body, so they really need a partner to give them feedback.
Exactly. A case in point: Our dojocho came back from Japan in 2005 with a bunch of new kokyu waza and exercises that he learned from Shingo Nakao, a student of Yamaguchi shihan. While this dojocho may be the most gifted aikidoka I know of in my country, he couldn't explain the waza all that well. In that sense, some things come too easily to him.
So while he could do them, the rest of us were just muscling our way through or else failing utterly. For one waza, I had to piece together what was happening from hints I found in other places—something that William Gleason said in a DVD and one very subtle move by Kuribayashi shihan in a seminar last year. So yes, I managed to do some stealing. But it took me over a year of trial and error to get to that point. Isn't this the kind of technical transfer that should be happening within the dojo walls in the first place? The way aikido is taught in general is way too haphazard, particularly given how the development of internal skills is so subtle and dependent on step by step feedback from a partner. And life is short.