Re: aikido training
Great topic, Mary.
I have come to see aikido as a continuous research into what it means that human beings are always connected (to one another and to all that lives) and at the same time forever in conflict within those connections. What to do about that? There are many kinds of conflict within this scenario, and many skills that may be needed to deal with them adequatly. A huge number of them can be explored in aikido.
If someone is interested in the kind of conflict that involves actual fighting, IS (understood as the technical designation for a complex set of physical and mental body organisation skills) is a very vaulable area of research.
There are many other valuable areas of research for other kinds of conflicts that can be explored in aikido. And of course there is interal strength of all kinds once we leave the above definition.
I believe power (and its other side, vulnerability) is the "life koan" of most, if not all, dedicated martial artists, anyway. I would like to think that it was the life koan which Morihei Ueshiba solved for himself. If one's life koan is about power, there is nothing wrong in pursuing it to its resolution. If that requires searching for power, than that will be necessary. Saying "I do not want power" can be as much of a delusion as obsessively pursuing power without awareness. (Not talking about you here!)
Again, great topic.