Re: Weight-training and Ki/Kokyu
I have not seen anywhere in this thread where Mike and Dan say that weightlifting is not good for you. They are saying that it will almost definitely interfere in your ability to be "soft" so as to be able to utilize internal energy. This does go directly to the issue of "muscle memory." If you are trying to teach yourself not to tighten your muscles when faced with a force vector, then you must practice developing the sensitivity to maintaining your softness (lack of muscle tension, particularly in the arms and upper body) when responding to force vectors.
When you lift weights, the first thing that you do is to grip the weight. This is causing a contraction of the muscles far away from your center. This is starting a process that Mike and Dan are talking about learning NOT to do. There are many ways to keep one's muscles tone without having to resort to weight lifting. If you are trying to develop good "muscle memory" in order to learn the "internal aspect" of an art, then it takes intense practice without having your body experience another type of "muscle memory" that runs directly opposite to what you are trying to achieve.
I frankly am amused at the decidedly negative reactions and responses that Dan and Mike receive. These guys are sincere in trying to help us improve our Aikido. You don't have to like the messenger or the manner in which the message is conveyed, in order to still be able to take in the information that they are providing us. I wish people would stop trying to reflexively defend against what they are pointing out to us. O'Sensei was always open to being exposed to other martial arts. Why is it that people need to try and be so insular regarding Aikido? Are these people who need to always disagree with Dan and Mike so insecure? People could agree to disagree, but they should at least try and experience the message before simply discounting it as something that you do not want to hear.