Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?
Oh, and Alan's great post derailed me. I was simply going to post that I pursue the internal strength stuff because I can see how it can improve my aikido. To me it is like watching someone else do the same kind of work you do. Years ago I was watching a good friend and fellow craftsman carving a katana tsuka shitaji (wood sword handle core). He did a few things a bit differently than I did. So I asked why he did some of the things and he asked me what I did. So I showed him. I don't know about him but I walked away from that long afternoon with a few new ways to approach things. And I hope a more complete set of skills.
I don't see why this sort of thing even gets questioned. If you feel you've got all you want and/or need, life is really good. If you see or feel something that seems like it could help you, life is really good.
I guess some think that it somehow diminishes the "memory" or "authority" of their original teachers. I have yet to meet a top notch high quality instructor that didn't subtly change things. Or have slightly different approaches. In our group Rod Kobayashi-sensei removed some techniques from our syllabus replacing them with slightly different techniques that are somewhat unique to us. Cool. He was always modifying, revising, changing, and improving. Because that's what drives the very best.
I am also a firm believer in ensuring you have the basics down first. For me, I didn't feel like I had even the slightest understanding of the basics until I hit sandan. From then on it has been me trying to figure out how to do those things better. And I see so much refinement and possibility in the internal aspects.
We can debate until we're blue in the face about when/if/how this stuff belongs in Aikido. I see no conflict. I just keep pursuing it the best I can, as well as my body will allow. And having a series of physical issues has made it quite obvious *to me* that pursuing the internal stuff will be a significant way for me to not only improve my aikido but also heal my body and deal with the issues I have. I can't keep overpowering everyone with muscle.
Ramble of the day for me.