1.... Similarly, a person developing I.S. skills only truly understands from within his personal skills and the grasp of higher skills can be equally blinded from below.
2...A person does not "know I.S."... he only knows up to the level that he can do.
3....Hence Ueshiba was not just talking idly when he discussed how long his journey had been.
Nor was Ueshiba speaking definitively. He
only knew what he
knew. I never once considered him
an expert either. I mean being polite and all -Ueshiba's demonstrations aren't even close to a complete compliment of skills; I have seen him sway, be single side weighted, hip driven, among other things. He had a lot of power no question, but there's much more to the complete skills than that.
Anyway, I have always found it amusing to see Ueshiba held up as the pinnacle. But given the talking points, it is understandable if the people from categories #1 and #2 view him that way. Personally -as is obvious over the years- I never have. I always considered him as one of the Daito ryu greats that went his own way. Another example of the Daito ryu method at work. And even then, and probably by choice; not as complete a compliment of skills in execution as others in DR or the ICMA.
Fighting aspects can confuse the issue. But none of Ueshiba's or Takeda's fights were recorded so we will never know about those guys. And being that Japanese like the Uke /shite model (a huge mistake in my view) we have no data I would like to see. Playing with the “straights” is a cake walk for someone with good IS so I dismiss any notion of higher level work such as IP to IP.
As for being able to feel or sense things. I’m not going to take part in admonishing Aikido teachers (with Judo, Karate and BBJ backgrounds) and many years of experience in Martial arts; that they "cannot tell the difference" between external and internal when sparring with someone. a) They are fully capable of determining if it a) feels like sparring with all the other external artists they know or b) things are happening to them that are completely outside their realm and comfort zone. c) Judging the “level” of IP skills they are experiencing can get confusing between IS and aiki, but since no one in aikido I have ever met or seen is capable of offering ant decent defense WITH IS they will never really be able to walk into higher levels yet. So bringing up the point and is extraneous B.S. at this point in time.
Since what they are facing in use neither looks or feels the same as normal fighting, and the fact that they always find themselves continually "behind" or too late to respond to what is happening to them, they know enough to know something radically different is happening to them. And that’s enough for now.
Nor am I going to take part in the idea of telling them what they should be looking for in their aikido and who can give it to them over others! I think they will do just fine on their own.
From my experience, once they got out and about, Aikido teachers are having a pretty good sense of what to choose and how to bring it into their aikido teachings, without some outside yahoo telling them what to do. Maybe since what I and some others do is the origin to their art -it helps. Anyway, I think certain comments lately smack of hubris. Aikido teachers are going to do just fine.
Some have openly acknowledged fighting with these skills is not their interest and that certain Japanese and Chinese teachers threw them around with ease. I haven't had that experience in a long time in my forays; including Japanese and Chinese master level teachers. I wonder if talking down to people about fighting-who may well be your betters at actually using IP /Aiki in fighting is not the best way to go.
There are ways to move with internal power; lets say between method a. and b. that are correct for each particular method. When people move according to method a. they are “correct’ and true to that method, and thus exhibiting internal power. Method b. can be different in movement and the way it uses energy. And one may be superior to the other. There are lower and higher levels of skills even within single ICMA where the body is not even used the same from one level to the next. Moving the body with internal power and manipulating energy within you in ways that are “correct” is different between arts and one may be abso-freakin-lutely superior to the other in fighting.
Further fighting someone WITH IP is not the same as fighting the straights, nor is fighting with IP/ aiki against a good external fighter the same as the contending with the level of so-called “resistance” seen in the aiki arts.
I would simply repeat my oft written admonition to get out and feel as many people as you can, and then pick someone for a while. Not every person can size you up and pick you apart and actually help you long term. Fly-by-night teaching at seminars is not learning- and attending a few seminars and being told you have enough material to train yourself is ridiculous and obvious. Make connections and stick with a method for a while. Then while training a given method go out and about and meet everyone you can. Make sure to include ICMA teachers and ask to grapple or at least do push hands with them.
In time as your skills grow, you can go back out and explore again. In time, deeper methods of how to actually fight with IP and a development of IS will develop your abilities in a more complete manner and deepen your understanding in a way you will never attain in solo work and push hands. Lord knows push hands doesn't cut it.
As far as what "IT" is. I haven't read a single thing from anyone on Aikiweb that even begins to discuss IT in any depth. Don't listen to Mike; don't listen to me or to Ark or Rob as "your source." Information is fine but don't confuse head knowledge with expertise, don't confuse fighting skill with internal power.
As far as confusing information as real skill, or minimul skill as deeper skills- I have met several supposed experts in both the JMA and the ICMA who were anything but experts. I have also read looooong dissertations on ICMA that were fabulous. In one particular case the guy who wrote them- I went to his seminar. I think my wife could take him apart. And he is a lineage holder. I let him keep the money and I walked out. Some people "sound" really good but it may only appear that way.
Get out and find it, then test the information from everyone everywhere. Keep checking information and people out and let your own judgment be your guide. Contrary to the picture that some are painting here, even in the ICMA, there are many debates on developing IP and how to actually use it in conflict.
Check things out, then in years to come -come back here and tell me what you now think "IT" is
Good luck in your training