HI Jon. I'd like to see your new place sometime. Say hello to Mike for me.
Of independent movement, I feel two things when I grab [Dan Messico] sensei: 1. Dan sensei is not using some kind of set ground path structure to receive my energy, my energy never enters his body; 2. my attack does not affect what he is doing, in fact, my attack actually contorts around his movement. I am connected to sensei, but he does not connect to me - I cannot feel his center, nor move his body, but he can do both to me.
In regards to, the videos, Messisco addresses the "livenness" of the action -- as distinct from the stiff or fixed forms he also illustrates (and critically) - He is describing the shape and actions of chains and equivalently of arches
in the body.
They mirror each other in one sense-- and in other senses they don't. Much training starts with arches -- because they are easier to grasp the essential shape and adjust accordingly. Chains, on the other hand are less easy to see how to manipulate -- people training at first with chain weapons often hit themselves more than they hit their target-- and the same is true of this form of action using the body itself as the "chain" weapon.
The differences are as critical as the similarities -- in arch action the load path shifts instantaneously within the fixed structure without ever affecting the overtly perceived form. Thus, you would not perceive any change -- when in fact the path of load has changed radically.
A chain of spheres is unstable in form and instantaneously changes shape to adapt to loads in tension -- but there is one -- and only one -- shape in which a chain of spheres can bear a compression
without instantaneously collapsing from shear though all its connections.
Where these linked pendulums are (like our bodies) made up of progressively shorter lengths from hara to fingertips (or toes) the form of this action tends to collapse in large periodic waves that undergo typical, and repeated, but complex progressions of these changes in form as they dissipate their energy
. These are the forms of waza -- captured as a snapshot of the real dynamic progression of transmitting and dissipating energy.
It is no accident that the form of tegatana is one half of this arch/hanging chain shape and that normal kamae including shikodachi/kibadachi is the entire thing. It is no accident that the complex spirals of chain action change axis suddenly but almost imperceptibly from horizontal to vertical, and back again.
How to shape and transmit these undulations driven by torsional shears and oscillations through the body of the opponents are counter-intuitive principles -- but is all in the aiki-taiso (e.g. funetori, udefuri, etc.) described by Ueshiba in his Doka as "The demon snake"
Right next to this Doka reference is the other principle allowing manipulations of reflexive action of higher frequency oscillations (at or close to resonance ~5-10 Hz) and which he called the "Spirit of Bees." It is likewise well-represented in the aiki-taiso (eg. -- furitama, tekubifuri, etc.)
Our inverted pendulum vertical stability is driven by a basic vertical oscillation of normal and imperceptible structural tone
-- which we only see perceptibly in people who have movement disorders or age to the point that they lose their natural damping functions that hide this universal and essential tremor
in the body.
One can demonstrate the essential relationship of these two foundational actions with a twisted dish towel -- It starts with small twists spiralling the structure at a very small scale. And then at a critical point this shifts spontaneously into large arching loops that then fold the structure spirally at a much larger scale. The smaller scale spirals underlie and drive
the larger looping spirals.
The only difference with people is that their limbs are not quite
as flexible as the dishrag. They reach their structural limits with far less torsion or oscillation -- and they have reflexive feedback mechanisms that help prevent structural damage from this kind of manipulation, but which can be primed and triggered by using it. These two principles of driven and spirally opposed higher and lower frequency torsion/oscillation relationships are the foundation of aiki action and evidence of it in action.