Re: tieing in the two threads : men and women and developing internal power
Couple of observations on Child Birth I think are worth mentioning. This is not meant to trivialize or discount the hardwork and contributions of a mother.
I think philosophically speaking childbirth can speak of the amazing things a women's body can go through and endures. For many women this is a very enlightening and spiritual process. One in which you are joined both physically and mentally with another human being (infant).
From that aspect I can see where you might label this an internal process.
I think many perceptions of aikido are akin to this. I know I went through this, and had expectations of aikido being a very transformative process. That is through the physical practice of aikido that I would form a connection mentally, spiritually, and physical and I would somehow gain a certain amount of enlightment through the process.
I had the same expectations When I completed Ranger School about 12 years ago. That is, through a shugyo like experience, that I would somehow gain insight to something greater.
In a way I did, I learned that the human is an amazing organism, We can endure much pain, and suffering. We can put ourselves through a great deal and not only survive, but thrive.
I also learned it was alot of hardwork and alot of it just plan sucked!
Anyway, back on subject.
However, for childbirth to be internal in the martial sense that we are talking hear it would need to produce certain skills and enstates. AND those endstates would need to be replicated and repeated over and over again.
I have not observed any correalation between women that have given birth with this martially or in any other manner from yoga, to gymnastics or whatnot.
If did lend significantly to the process, then we would see a distinction between Men, women that have given birth, and Women that have not.
I think you have to be careful about separating the phenomenon and not attributing experiences in other areas to this very real and physical practice of internal martial skills.
Sure childbirth can be a transformative experience spiritually and mentally. That is a big part of the process of growing as a human being. Which when you get down to it is why most of us practice aikido!
However, what most of us at some point and time fail to do is to correctly see the linkage between mental, spiritual, and physical.
I think aikido does a decent job of training this linkage, but I would argue that in many respects we are missing the boat on the physical development area.
Hence we have all these discussions about how aikido works in a real fight. How childbirth experience lends to doing stuff better physically, how Zen meditation makes us more "internal" thus my "aikido" is better.