Well, in the past, the school of aikido that I had been training at (Shodokan -Tomiki- Aikido/JAA) did not offer any sort of internal training. The drills and exercises we did outside of technical training pretty strictly focused on developing physical abilities, timing, ma ai, etc. And, I have to admit, that when I was really training at that school, I was dismissive of internal training concerns, wanting to focus on my technical development only. However, as I'm now training in the Jiyushinkai system, and am slowly being introduced to all that the organization has to offer, I'm definitely becoming more open to different approaches to Tomiki aikido, and will make a point of discussing it with my instructor.
Within the next few years, my wife and I may well be moving up into Mr. Amdur's neck of the woods, so I hope to be able to continue my research up there.
I always have the best of things to say about the Jiyushinkai. Chuck Clark built a phenomenal organization and I have the utmost respect for quite a lot of the members. I started my aikido training out there at Shobu Aiki Dojo many years ago. I was out there a few years back on one of the hottest days ever in Oklahoma history. It'd be nice to visit again sometime soon ... but I don't think that'll happen this year. I would recommend training with the Jiyushinkai to anyone.
Back to the original topic. I would echo what Phi, Ellis, and Kevin have posted. It really does take some hands-on training to get a start.
I think a post by David Orange in another thread is applicable here:
I don't know that I would have ever been so interested in Sagawa or a book about him if I hadn't experienced Aunkai, though. Of course, Dan points to Sagawa, but in times past, when I've seen pictures of an old guy like that gesturing with his hand and sending people flying...I just wasn't interested. I used to think the photos and clips Okamoto were all fakery, too. And then I got hold of Ark and Rob and I could certainly feel the great potential of that kind of energy. I realized that those little hand gestures were conveying something I had never learned in aikido and had only rarely seen.
With Ark, Dan and Mike all teaching the fundamentals of internal power, I'm hopeful not only for the future of aiki in America, but specifically, I'm hoping this thread will bring up some technical concepts that can maybe aid in actual how to develop skills in manipulating those potentials.