This was the tough one for me this weekend. Trying to distingush between external technique and internal. The exercises and uke's "pressure" pretty much eliminated the ability to use external technique, to do things such as shift weight offline, irimi, establish fulcrums, pivot points etc. Once you remove these things from the equation you are left with using grounding, aiki, ki, chi or what not. Guys like me, as you felt, become befuddled when attempting to access the ground and result to what we know by using shoulder/arm strength, or torsion or leaning at the trunk to generate power. It is hard, because big guys like myself can be successful in this way, but as you demonstrated, it doesn't really generate much power in the same way.
So, the challenge is distingushing between the two types of power/advantage strategies. You can be successful with both strategies for sure, and for guys like me, it can definitely be a challenge to distingush the difference in yourself.
Exactly. Now you see what I mean about how difficult the changeover can be, particularly for someone who has trained hard and diligently to use their body in one mode for many, many techniques. The changeover to ki and dantien can be a completely different planet.
However, the ability to use the earth, gravity, "suit", and dantien as the source of "natural" power isn't that hard to grasp academically (even though the changeover to a different mode of movement can seem to be almost impossible at first).
The point I'd make to you, Ron, and some others is..... can you now begin to see how Aikido, using this sort of power, could be dynamically effective as a martial-art in itself, rather than needing some other art to complement it? Once you begin to see the level of power that Aikido is supposed to use, rather than just simple waza, Aikido (at least in my opinion) ain't so shabby.