Rob Liberti wrote:
Would someone who has had the objective to win and has been successful for several years be willing to completely drop their arm strength (and let arms fall by their weight alone) knowing that they will lose competition after competition in order to break-through to a deeper level of aikido exclusively based on blending and kokyu - and only then start winning again?
I'm trying to think of an easy way to say this, but essentially the point I want to make is that "not using muscular strength" is not the same thing as "using no muscles". For instance, if you are going to push a large white refrigerator on a hard floor (i.e,., it'll slide OK and takes some force but not too much), you can put your hands on the side of the refrigerator and push it by just pushing your middle forward (i.e., when the middle goes forward the hands are 'attached' to it and they never lag behind the forward movement of the middle). That sort of push is different from you standing near the refrigerator, making a 'tower' of your body, and pushing the refrigerator with your arms and shoulders working off the 'tower'.
The latter way of doing it takes more arm and shoulder muscle, but the first way requires that the torso, shoulder, and arms become 'transmitters' of the middle's movement, which in turn derives from the solid ground. If you total the amount of muscles involved in the two ways of pushing the refrigerator, the way using the middle uses more muscles, but with less effort per muscle. In other words, the idea is not that you quit using strength, you use it spread out over more of the body... i.e., it's a different way of using strength (it's more complex than my description; I'm simplifying), not a loss of strength.