Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei
I never said I couldn't dial it back did I? In one place I said it was difficult, in another I said it was boring to do so, in another I said (as Chris notes) that it is difficult because it is just ...you being alive.
As far as dialing back; I did it last night while teaching in an aikido dojo, I even took ukemi of a sort; I didn't fall over and there was just no way they could ever actually throw me.
The other aspects that Chris is talking about are innate, you don't really think of how you feel till someone tells you that you feel like a tank. The way I "turn that off" is to flex and stiffen certain parts of my body, so I feel lighter.
I do weapons. In one practice a fellow told me I was using too much muscle and cutting through him. You can imagine the look on my face. I simply said "No I'm not." he argued and decided to prove a point. He said "Cut" (in a prescribed fixed pattern at a point in kata, so your sword stops in the air) and when our swords met he pulled his sword away expecting me to pitch forward or my sword to go forward as he moved his resisting force out of the way. When he did that my sword just stayed in space. He asked to do it again, same thing. Frustrated he said "I don't know what your doing, but it's too strong, too much muscle." Since he didn't let it go...and kept with the insults, I didn't let it go.
Now I took over and said lets do it again. Now when he pulled away and I just stood there, I said "Okay, now slowly walk back in with your bokken connecting. When he did, his bokken and his body started to collapse under the weight emanating from me, when he backed off...I stood there...when he came back in slowly...collapse under the weight. Confused he just stared at it. Giving a little sarcasm back for the insult I said "It's called moving from da center. You know, Like dem der martial art guys are supposed to be doing!"
Now I can tell you, try as I might, when going full speed in kata with a myriad of weapons it is extremely difficult to dial it back to fit-in. And in truth the only way I can get that "light feel" the fellow was for, is too actually use...too much muscle!
Why would I want to do that to myself and screw up the body I am jealously trying to build?
As I also said, this training is the fast ticket to senior level. I make no bones about it. I honestly do not think there is an Aikido shihan alive who can handle someone with a well developed compliment of these skills learned and burned in freestyle fighting. Aikido and Daito ryu (really all of the Japanese arts) have not allowed themselves to grow into an educated use of these skills because of their shite/uchi model. They are stuck in a loop that hinders further growth. Not only in an external fashion, but in an internal one as well. They will only get just so far with IP/aiki within the give and receive model. It hampers growth.
Once you get past that, from years of changing the changes, or countering the counters, your body softens, is far more educated in a trip response to make fluid continuos changes just from being you and moving naturally...and kata training then feels like kindergarten.
Ip/ aiki is the birth place of martial arts, it's not a way to do them as another guy in the dojo. This leads to the other point you addressed in your questioning of using these skills in someone else's dojo. If you stick out as the obvious one with the deeper level of skills, it may not play well with a lot of teachers.
To answer your excellent question about the teachers I teach and how it might cause problems for them.
I have done a series of national seminars with teachers- I just did one a few weeks ago with Shihan and senior teachers from all over. No one knows who or where and no one ever will. My opening comment to the group was "I don't want to read about this on the internet. Take a long look at me, because if I hear about someone putting this on the net, it will be the last time you see my face-you're out." I could be a very different guy and this could be a very different effort, Jason. I think this approach is best for now. on the one hand, it is an effort of public exposure, drawing attention to the topic, but on the other hand, a private one in expanding, forwarding, and in a VERY serious and meaningful way, supporting, and protecting, the teachers learning it till they are ready to make the choice to go public.
I am sensitive to the needs and also the pottential repercussions of stepping outside. One fellow just returned from his own training camp and told his teacher (real heavy weight) what he was doing. That he was trying to bring aiki back into Aikido, and saw the look in his teachers eye. Guess what? It was well received. The teacher said "Very good!"
So all is not as bad or potentially damaging as it seems. I continue to have hope that more and more are going to get it and spread it.