Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?
Hey Mike -
One common practice was a method originally derived, I believe, from Tenri-kyo, a neo-Shinto sect. The individual stands with feet shoulder-width apart, and the hands are clasped, right cupped palm over left, and the arms at the natural relaxed extent that this hand grip allows. The hands are shaken almost as if shaking dice, but the body is organized so that the waves of the shaking go through the body all the way through to the feet. The body is relaxed - not limp - and there is no sway or drama, just a subtle vibration. Ueshiba Kisshomaru used to do this for about 3-4 minutes every class he started, as did, I believe other instructors. I've been told that Abe Seiseki would do this practice for very long periods of time and this was the source of his amazing (to my informant) relaxed power. (Note that this last is not something I know or witnessed - just something mentioned to me).
The orginal practice was a psycho-religious one - I have not experimented at any length with this procedure, other than that it feels quite good and the longer one does it, the better one feels. It's quite unlike "post standing," which I find quickly fatiguing. It has a very quiet, but definite energizing effect.
I am working on a set of solo movements for aikido practice, along the lines of simple chi kung - congruent with aikido movement, and have been integrating this practice in the curriculum of a dojo with whom I consult. When our research is complete, I'll be releasing it publicly. I've always felt that some form of solo "internal" cultivation is a) certainly lacking in most aikido practice b) surely was a key factor in Ueshiba M.'s remarkable skills.
Note that when I refer to "internal cultivation," I am only focusing on what I understand - a little - the effficent intergration of the neuro-muscular system. Never having experienced or witnessed - on either side - the kind of "ki", or "kokyuryoku" that is described in more miraculous tales, that kind of cultivation of power is not a focus of my own research.