Another interesting exercise with unbendable arm is how to break it; not literally. Firstly check your partner has unbendable arm, then place the palm of your hand under the blade of your partners. Gently drag the flesh, on the bottom of their handblade, away from your partner's shoulder (taking up the slack) and in an arc move the hand toward the shoulder. This should be quite easy, that slight tug on the partner's skin whilst moving in an arc should be able to 'break' the most unbendable of arms.
Another variation is to pull on the little finger and again move in an arc bringing the little finger to the shoulder.
I'm interested hear what results people get from trying these.
We refer to the above as 2nd ki test (a pre-requisite to passing a 3rd kyu in our school) All that it demonstrates is that the person being tested is creating the unbendable arm feeling by extending their mind out through their finger tips.
If the tester acts as if the fingertips are like the nozzle on a hosepipe and that the testees mind is like the water being sprayed out, it is easy to gently redirect the tip of the 'hose' in an arc back towards the shoulder.
The way I teach to 'overcome'/pass this test is to imagine that their whole being is at the tip of the nozzle and that the 'stuff'' (mind/ki/water/light,whatever feeling) that was streaming from the tip of the fingers is now heading out forward from the head to the feet. This works well enough to be able to pass the test without any extra physical effort.
Teaching, learning and passing these 'tests' are just a building block to eventual 'total' mind body co-ordination. Only when this state is achieved in dynamic situations can 'real' aikido take place.
For me, a proper understanding of the ki developement tests only really sunk in when I started to teach them myself. I had managed to do them by following my teachers instructions, they worked so, hey, bring it on. Teaching helped me to work out what was really happening, that and reading Dan, Mike and others' contributions, which has given me a better perspective on my own physical/facial structure, when I am co-ordinated.
I also now understand that aiki with your uke happens before any physical contact is made, but that's another topic, maybe
Like Mike Haft, I am not a Ki Society member, but we do precede all of out aikido training with many ki developement exercises.
It is a stretch for my imagination to think of getting to the point that I am now with my aikido, without so much attention being paid to the correct 'state' required to achieve the levels of aikido that we aspire to ( for me to be able to deal calmly and effortlessly with any attack, similar to the Tohei's of this world ). It must be possible though, as people are writing about what I understand and they are not all from the same background.
Last night in class I thought I'd try something that has been discussed here quite a bit. That is the running push to the chest, which O'Sensei, Tohei, Shioda and others can be seen dealing with on film, by 'bouncing' the attacker away. I was pleasantly surprised and my uke's where flumoxed by the results ( they didn't know beforehand what I was going to do, I just asked them to attack with a double handed running push to the chest). My result definitely wasn't as spectacular as O'Sensei, but the result to all present was similar. I now know what I did to achieve the result I did. I will continue work on getting better, what else is there to do?