Our Ki development exercises fall within five broad categories: Solo, Partnered Stationary, Partnered Motion, Solo Weapons and Partnered Weapons.
I'm interested as to whether other Aikido folks purposely engage in internal training within the framework of their Aikido.
My teacher, Asai Katsuaki, may be through his friendship with Noro Masamichi, over the years seems to have come to show and teach more openly internal training. I wonder how many of his followers understand this. But, although in his earlier years he never talked about Ki and those things the way Tohei did, it was always there, within his craftsmanship and framework of aikido. When teaching, first came craftsmanship. But you only had to put the honest question, be it in words be it through an honest attack, the latter of which was the preferred way, then you would always get an honest answer. So you naturally engaged in internal training within the framework of your aikido; to which extent and whether purposely depended on your own understanding.
It has to look good, but more important, it has to work.
Hi Bernd, your story sounds so familiar! I did the same thing starting in 2008. I was about 2 or 3 years late to the party according to dates of threads on aikiweb, but started reading like crazy. I would never have done that if my BS detector had gone off. Anyway I think it is the best way. By that I mean: when you go to a seminar, be it Dan or anyone, you can either go without knowing what to look for, or go with a framework for understanding already in place. If you have that academic framework (and any practical framework as well), then you would get more out of any seminar. I am happy that my seminar experience was something that fit into my pre-existing understanding. (It made me see more clearly what to work on)
I think such a framework can come from an established tradition, such as Tohei's lineage.. or you can build it from scratch yourself by reading about things. Although that way, you probably won't be able to correctly do things yourself yet, but you would know what you are trying to do. Then, meeting people can quickly adjust things in yourself that make your predictions/expectations come true.
I would add that there should be lots in the middle as well, not just at these extremes. That's why conversation is so good.
I find your approach reasonable and, considering how well everything turned out for you, very tempting.
Nevertheless, I want to go to this seminar with a clear mind and I don't want to let any framework for understanding interfere with what I don't know, so that anything put on the table might find its way to me. I've decided to go to the seminar without any preconception other then going there to make friends, have fun with them and finally get what I possibly can. I want to take a chance.