Ted Ehara (tedehara) wrote:
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.
This kind of intention doesn't necessarily reqiure hard physical contact all the time. I think it is important that some of your training is done at full power so that you develop the ability to not contract your spirit when under full attack.
But a tremendous benefit can be had from doing weapons training, especially with the fukuro shinai, in which there is seldom any injury.
Even when the practice is empty hand it is more a matter of the focus of the Mind than it is speed and power. Do each technique with full concentration and intention even whne you aren't putting speed and power into the technique. Recieve each attack as if it were a razor sharp sword coming at you. Even slow practice can develop strong intention if approached in this manner.
Injuries are inevitable in a physical art but they do not need to be seen as an integral part of developing strong intention.
It is also not necessary to go to Japan to do this. There are a number of Aikido dojos which put an emphasis on this as well as quite a bit of classical training (especially jodo which is growing fast) available in the US. In fact anyone who wishes can start to put this element into his practice by simply putting attention on this aspect of his training.