I've had a series of emails and phone calls asking why I am not participating. Chris's comments sum it up.
I think I can do any demonstration of this stuff that any one else can. If you don't believe me, make a video of you doing something, and I'll copy it. I think all this talking has made you guys think this stuff is harder then it really is.
You have never once expressed any understanding of what I have been discussing in our communications here. You can chalk it up to semantics or definitions and call it a day- I don't. I am as equally confident as you that there is no way you could deliver on what I discuss here. It is evident in the way you move and in your videos and in all the descriptions offered. I believe that will prove out in person. Aiki as you describe in your "leading the mind" and blending ideas are more of the same basic jujutsu principles talked about my any number of good jujutsu men-your teacher and his teacher included. So at least on my end, I am most certainly not talking about aiki as anything you have described-it is far more complex and rich than that. I would be far more interested in your opinion after we met and crossed hands
I've heard this debate for fifteen years and other than more and more people getting out and now rewiring their thinking and approach, the debate is not moving forward. I have yet to meet or see the man from the JMA who has displayed what I would consider a really accomplished physical understanding of what is being discussed here-and most certainly not anyone in Daito ryu or Aikido. It is always a more basic absorb / project model, and their movements express openings and balance issues for the simple reason that they don't have enough aiki in-balance within their own bodies, much less in their interaction with others. It all remains "budo light," "kata based" theory which just doesn't develop the body enough. The resultant body condition and connection understanding from their training is easily gotten around or through. Absorb and project just doesn't cover the range of what you will encounter and how your body can generate tremendous relaxed "snapping" power through in/yo ho on toward a fuller range of freedom in movement.
The hold back or lack of fuller development is readily evident in the movements of many of the teachers and supposed masters in the JMA. You can "see" where they are going and where they could make changes that would give them a deeper development in power generation internally and externally but their fixed training models would not lead them toward those potential discoveries.
Once you start physically
discussing the theory and use of IP/aiki in a free fighting format and fighting with weapons, the crowd gets decidedly thinner and reverts back to kata and traditional roles and definitions for aiki. I suspect it was always that way.
Connecting the Mind/ body through intent, is a process that takes time. Learning ways to use that connection externally in movement that will negate force-in while allowing for force-out in perfect balance is a process as well; a process that is NOT all the same. The lack of discussion of that aspect is (for me anyway) defining in these debates-for the simple reason that aspects of that critical balance of in/yo ho are not even brought up. It's always about absorbing and casting, or the more rudimentary leading (as in Chris's chair example). That anyone is still discussing those jujutsu principles this far along says everything
The use of that connected body creates aiki connections in ways most people have no understanding of, cannot see, and really have no ability to judge. Even those that have a bit of understanding of what to shoot for, have trouble effectively using it in a truly martial context as they don't know where it can lead to or be utilized under what types of pressure; from mild aikido and push hands to sustained pressure in fighting. It is most assuredly NOT all the same.
Saying you can deliver center in your hand is quite an accomplishment, doing so is another.
Saying you can deliver with any part of your body at any time in free movement is another;
Saying you can do so at the end of a weapon and actually being able to do so outside of kata, at speed, is a whole other world.
Factors that determine aiki in weapons engagement are most certainly internal and body driven but also involve projection and spiral energy that simply cannot be duplicated by external means or mimicing. I think that the majority of people in the Martial Arts are outside of that paradigm. As such, or should I say because of that, personal engagements are the best solution to a debate.
I know I didn't extend any specific definition of aiki...I would just rather do it in person. For some reason I don't get into a debate there.