Whenever a discussion on internal power comes up it turns into a fight about personalities.
Why do people seek internal power? Are we trying to beat each other up in a new way?
Here is my answer why I train in a style that focuses on devoloping Ki.
It is the path I was introduced to for starters. I didn't know this path was exactly what I needed but it was.
Maruyama Sensei stressed that Ki was the co-ordination of mind and body. It is not some magical power. He said O'Sensei could do it, Tohei could do it, He could do it and so could I. I believe him. We practice Ki exercises every class. We develop strength.
Along with this strength comes a compassion and understanding because we are practicing Aikido with a partner.
Having internal strength for the sake of beating another seems to have lost the point.
We read the ideas. Ron and I try what we like. It makes us think differently about old ideas. I appreciate this.
The cult of personailty and ego is distracting and meaningless. But it also seems like people are missing the point. Why become very strong in body if your mind and spirit are staying mean?
Have you ever tried one of the demonstrations for internal power? If not, try this: Stand with feet side by side, shoulder width apart. Have someone push straight back on your chest. You can even have them start with a little push and then an all out shove for all they are worth. Were you able to stand there while they turned red in the face?
Not many can do that. Yet, I see quite a few people brush this off like it was not worth the effort to even read about it. But, if you take a moment to view what is going on, you can see some very practical applications here. One, you are able to manipulate an incoming force (in this instance, it can be a fairly powerful force) in a safe manner. Two, you aren't actually hurting the attacker. Three, you aren't really doing "something" to the attacker, rather you are just working "internal stuff" within you. Four, you aren't resisting anything. There is no resistance. Five, you are neutralizing an attack. Think of a simple wrist grab with more power. Six, you are working on a certain mentality which is entirely focused on you, rather than on an attacker. That means, spiritual-wise, you are making a better you without having to stoop down to the level of the attacker (remember, this is a static exercise, not a technique or waza.)
Those are just simple applications of what is going on in this static exercise.
So, why work on internals? Can you see any benefit to the above?
Also, as I've noted elsewhere for the Ki Society people. The exercises for internal work actually are training to accomplish Tohei's four principles. They are exercises which have a side benefit of getting one to relax completely (show me an aikido exercise that actually develops this), keep weight underside, keep one point, and extend ki. Actual exercises that elicit these principles.
As I've noted elsewhere, the internal exercises also develop a very relaxed but integrated upper body. It takes the muscles out of the shoulders. Show me aikido exercises that actually do this. Or do we just keep hearing ... relax. relax. relax more?
I'm getting long winded here. As a final note, I'll ask you and everyone else a question. Have you met Mike or Dan? Because I'll reiterate what I've said before ... once you meet them, their Internet posts take on a whole different conveyance. Not only that, but I have found both to be:
1. Very helpful.
2. Very nice.
3. Great teachers.
4. Very skilled.
5. Well worth travel, time, and money.