Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?
IMO, one of the big problems behind people ascribing different meanings to their first or early hands-on encounters with IP and aiki, is that they just don't have any benchmark to compare it to yet. If you read some of the accounts of first meetings with Sagawa (student of Sokaku Takeda/Daito-ryu) or his student, Kimura, you'll get the "he just lightly touched me and I found myself on the floor across the room" or "my spine felt like it was being pulled from behind me" kind of response.
IME, it takes repeated exposure, with deliberate slowing down or parsing out of application by the teacher, for a person to start to pick up an intuitive feel with his or her body. The teacher being able to articulate what is being done definitely helps accelerate the learning process and subsequently allows the student to cognitively understand what is going on, and to explain it to others in turn, but it is quite possible to pick up on things intuitively, by "feel" if the teacher parses out what he/she is doing and lets the student experience it.
If a person doesn't have a chance to parse out what he/she is feeling in all dimensions, it's too easy to write it off as a mystical experience. After all, we use "mystical" to fill in the gaps where we lack understanding and can't explain something.
Until recently, most Asian teachers, and quite a few Western ones with some skills, were very closed-lips about sharing any specific training methods for internal skills. They either intentionally did not articulate, or they lacked the words and could not articulate what they were doing.
Now there is a handful of individuals who have the skills, very exacting teaching methods to develop the skills, and the willingness to share. It takes the mystique out of the process. Most of these people seem do so at minimal cost, mostly to cover their expenses. Some have even taught for NO monetary return, offering an open hand to people with no money but the sincere wish to learn. These teachers are dispensing exacting training methods and information to others. Would we begrudge them their expenses or their livelihood? If a violinist wants to train in a master class with a virtuoso violinist-teacher, would he or she expect to get that training for free?
Why would it be any different for knowledge we value in another discipline, including this one?