Jun Akiyama wrote:
Back to "hand work," I think that you can use your hands and arms separately but not independently of your "center" (if that makes sense). In other words, they might not move exactly in one mannequin-like motion in relation to one's center, but they still have to be connected. I've felt wave-like motions (hi Ellis!) and cyclic motions through the hands and arms that were propagated through the body. Although the hands/arms did not move in "one piece" with the "center," I'd say they were certainly connected to them...
Well, it gets down to a matter of degree again. We could imagine a spectrum that goes from "Pure Internal Art" to "Pure External Art" and decide where we want to be and where we should be. As you can see from my feeling around on AikiWeb over the past month, I'm trying to satisfy myself where in that spectrum Aikido was meant to be, first of all. I think I have a *general* feel for it now.
The next point of debate is "how much of this center-control stuff do I have to do to be doing good Aikido?" (recognizing that the "center-control", Ki, and Kokyu Power issues are really all part of one big issue). That's hard to say and may vary from perspective to perspective. I once studied Uechi Ryu Karate on Okinawa and I saw some things that I didn't understand until many years later. I now realize that there are aspects of Kokyu power and breath training in Karate that I (and every westerner I've ever seen or heard of) missed. My karate skills could only be judged on external criteria, therefore, and I missed the "internal" parts. Personally, I feel like I went down the wrong fork in the road and I would need to start from the beginning if I ever wanted to correct my karate. I don't feel a need to defend how far I got, etc., etc., because I realize that I missed a key element (one that actually makes the art more interesting, IMO). But others may see it differently. Or they may have too much time invested or too much investment in pecking-order to be able to simply look at the art clinically as a job that needs to be done right.
So the point I'm making is that some determination of how much "center control" is needed in good Aikido and how much of that you want to seek has to be made. It's takes many years to shift movement over to center-control. Analyzing what you're doing now may be misleading, in my opinion. It's something that takes constant work. I'd offer the suggestion that you don't need to exactly move the hands with the dantien to control the hands. The mind can adjust the controls so that the hands' power is always controlled from the center, but it takes a lot of practice and there needs to be always some control from the center to the hands, etc. Generally, power away from the body is considered to go through the bones (although you can control the direction with your mind), and power toward the body is controlled by the outer muscles, skin, fascia. Maybe it helps to know that.