Re: Moving with your center
No epiphanies for me. In my training, which is based on the Yoshinkan style, we do a lot of training on just learning how to move and control one's own body, before attempting to control and move someone else. A lot of solo (tandoku) practice I do is to learn how to move while maintaining good posture, balance, and power. These are basically forms that start off with fully body control and power generation from generally static posistions, then graduate to maintaining the same control while doing various movements; shifting, then pivoting and stepping, etc. Once a student acquires some idea of this, they graduate to doing the same movement forms, but with the addition of a partner (sotai dosa), who gradually adds more resistance to the student's movement...the level of resistence being in proportion with the student's ability.
In my opinion, this is the most important aspect of training, and one that is often negelected. I feel it a disservice to attempt to expect a student to control another person while that student has not the ability to slide step, cross step, shift their weight or pivot, while maintaining good posture and balance and generating power. Being that I actively train in both a Yoshinkan offshoot, and an aikiaki based style, I would say we speak about the Five Principles of Aikido, but instead of telling a person to correct themselves by 'extending their ki' or 'maintaining their center' we show them how they are lacking those qualities in each particular movement/technique they are doing and show them how to correct it. Well, that's how I like to takle the issues of balance and control and power. But I am practical, so I feel whatever works for you, works....