Re: Defining the word "Aiki" and looking at the phenomenon it describes.
I think internal training, and modern Athletic training are getting at many of the same things. I believe what you would find lot's of modern athletes doing, and the results they are looking to achieve similar in goal, if sometimes different in method. I would go a step further and say modern athletic training is better then most methods found in internal, at least as far as developing the structure and aligning that structure goes.
By modern athletic training, I mean a process, not exercises (running, calisthenics, wight training)
If I were to outline the process modern athletic training takes, I would say it goes something like this:
1. develop the physical body- this is where your exercises come it. The first goal is to make the body strong. Improve strength, endurance, agility, explosiveness.
2. Learn how to properly use the body. Best ways to move, push, resist force. This is where we learn about structure and alignment.
3. Build procedural memory, sometimes called muscle memory. This is the process of making the actions needed for your physical pursuit automatic and second nature. If you were learning to box, how to cover and punch. If you were learning to wrestle, the holds you would use, and how to get into them etc.
4. Increase calm in the mind and relaxation in the body. This allows the athlete to deal with stressful situations without getting tunnel vision or physically over stressing the body (due to tension)
5. Improve overall awareness and attention. This is so our athlete can "see the entire field" and "stay in the game".
This is is a kind of example of what modern athletic training does. sound familiar? If you study Chinese internal it does. Although most modern methods are better.
When I say "athletic" I know most people picture sitting in a gym all day and getting buff, but athletics at least good athletics is much much more then this!