George S. Ledyard wrote:
...The strong physical practice leads to a strong spirit. Once you have a strong spirit you can start to subtract out the physical and use the Mind...
While I'm happy to agree that strong training will result in a strong spirit, I've got problems with side issues.
Many people equate strong training with heavy, physical workouts. How many people will be laid up because of physical injuries due to training like this? How many people will have to quit aikido because of injuries, compared to people who will benefit from such training? I recognize you wrote strong
training instead of brutal
training, however that is a common misconception.
Everyone from Admur to Gleason that you have mentioned, has trained in Japan for several years. Very few of us will have an opportunity to train there. Is that the only place we can find this type of intense training?
As another internal art, Tai Chi also faces a similar problem. Yet serious practioners of Tai Chi usually practice Qigong, a meditative art that teaches people how to relax and focus their mind. Developing exercises that trains the mind might also help an aikidoist's practice.
Whether you try to develop a person's spirit through exercises or strong training, it isn't an easy thing to achieve. For someone to extend their mind beyond their body and perform a technique, IMHO should be considered to be an advanced aikidoist.
I would be glad to hear any thoughts on the subject. Especially interested to read an article, if you decide to write it.