John Riggs wrote:
Mike, by the way, this all interests me since I am at a point where this becomes more important for me to move my Aikido ahead. My sensei (H. Kato) has it down like no one I've ever grabbed coupled with an amazing ability to lead one's ki. I see my lack of skill in this area a limiting factor. I also don't see much out there to help me. I started in the ki society years ago and the old relax, maintain, one point, extend ki etc. all help but I have always found them somewhat simplistic. So then what? Their exercises are useful to an extent but again somewhat limiting. It is my feeling this is not something mystical but something that can be trained and learned, if given the right information.
Well, there are a bunch of grab-bag skills tied up in all of this that can add to your martial techniques, etc., and I find them pretty interesting since martial arts is my hobby, but in reality the major advantage to these kinds of training skills is not in the martial realm but in the quality of life it gives you as you get older. Shioda said that. O-Sensei said it. And it's a common thought about "cultivating" yourself with these things, in Asian tradition.
Martially, probably the main point has to do with those mind-directed forces in a conditioned body. And you're right... if you're given the information and shown how to do it, you can go further; getting that information is a pain. Come up sometime and we'll exchange info.
But back to using the mind-forces: Think of two tensegrity structures (human beings) that come together and hook up so that they are now essentially one complex, combined structure. You "will" a force through the combined structures...like it is now one single animal and you're wanting to move the hindquarters in a certain direction. That's a higher level of "aiki" than just combining someone inside of a technique after you have avoided their attack.
There is far more to powering the body than is approached by the Ki Society, etc. For instance, that video of Master Sum was somewhat about power, but there's more variations to it than what that video showed.
Still, there's a limit. It is, after all, body skills, albeit complex ones and pretty interesting ones. I know that Chen Xiao Wang's father used to be able to stand in a crowd of people and they'd lob fist-sized stones at him. With barely a twitch he'd "receive" and bounce those stones well away from him. He was considered to have skills and reactions so automatic that they were "natural" and he was at the top of the art. I heard he got shot trying to escape from prison during the cultural revolution, though.