Re: "Internal training, Aiki, and empowering Aikido" Seminar w/Dan Harden
After attending this seminar, I am sorry to report that Dan Harding is a fraud -- at no time did he exhibit any crass, harsh, or know-it-all behavior that some in the internet community may think he is all about. On the contrary, Dan is a down-to-earth and friendly person that was very informative, knowledgeable, and showed a sincere interest in sharing his knowledge to all that asked -- and, his current students in attendance were all the same as well; extremely helpful, friendly, and fun to be with. In short, the seminar was extremely informative and a blast. I truly wish to thank all in attendance that had the patience to work with me in sharing their knowledge of these skills.
I am not going to go into too much detail on the technical aspects of Dan's approach since others such as Howard, Dave, and Rob have already covered that much more eloquently then I can. However, I would like to just say the Dan can certainty walk his talk -- after you grab a hold of him, you instantly realize you are in trouble and wish you were some place else at the moment.
One other thing I would like to comment on is that it became very evident that effective internal strength is at least 80 percent mental and without the proper intent is essentially a hollow form without any substance. During some of the exercises we were required to use our intent to visualize receiving your partner's push energy into your body and then extending your intent back out into and through your partner. Since my initial Aiki training was with the old Ki Society from back in the mid 70's while I was stationed in Guam with the Navy, I simply just extended Ki as I was taught back in those days. I was extremely surprised when Dan's students started giving me feedback on what they were feeling down to the exact detail as to whether the energy was raising up, going down, or even coming through them in a diagonal spiral -- without exception, all had it exactly right without any verbal or physical clues from me. I was simply standing there in a relaxed mind and body coordinated stance in accordance with Tohei's teachings extending Ki while they had their hand on my chest pushing into me -- The last time I encountered that type of feedback was during my initial training in Guam. This unsolicited corroboration has reaffirmed my beliefs in Tohei's teachings and it appears to me (as Mike S and Dan have previously mentioned elsewhere) that Tohei was on the right track to the internal skills but he just did not take it to the next step. I am convinced that for those looking to establish the basic foundation to start building their internal skills; they do not need to look any further than Tohei's four principles of Mind and Body Coordination. Of course, to expand from there, they will need to seek out the skills that Dan, Mike S, and the ARK are teaching.
Overall, a great seminar with a great group of people just having a great time… (Did I mention it was great!)