Re: what does internal mean to you?
I realize that the title of this thread is "What does internal mean to you"
This is an invitation for everyone to have an opinion. OK. However we can only all agree to to disagree and share our thoughts, which is fine but ultimately not all that useful.
Chris offers a very good link to someone who is an "authority" on internal arts by virtue of long practice and general peer support. What he writes gives some good clarity to how to separate external and internal arts. I have no idea wether he can do what he talks about. I suspect he can do something from what I have seen, and without revisiting the endless IHTBF arguments, I can't know if he is an excellent theorist only or also an accomplished practitioner. Worse still my references may be so limited that the first person I meet who can do something unusual becomes my gold standard and I may even believe that I now know what "internal" means. Meet a few more people who can do unusual stuff and you begin to see they share some qualities and not others. You will meet some who have some IP but no fighting skills, you may even meet fighters with some unusual level of skill but no IP.
Will our aikido community ever be able to talk about these matters with some common references that are both theoretical and experiential? If not this is all just keyboard magic.
Find a way to meet and feel Akuzawa, Dan, or Sam Chin. Check out a few Chinese IMA specialists, figure out if you have a goal beyond mastering waza and then performing them harder and faster with programmed ukes. Touch hands with people who can disrupt your balance at a touch, absorb your energy and send it back, strike with no visible wind up, can take strikes without absorbing them, etc.
There are people out there who will help you see that internal training is not a matter of opinions, any more than brain surgery is, but rather of a deep understanding of the subtle interconnections between mind and body and a reworking and rewiring of preprogrammed ways of using the body when meeting and handling force.
On a recent trip to Japan I talked to an 84 year old aikido man who trained with Ueshiba for 10 years way back when. I showed him some of the things I have learnt in the last 7 years of training with some of the people who can do this stuff for real. Even with ny poor effort and poor level of skill in these realms he quite literally said, " it is good to see someone pursuing O Sensei's Aikido".
Hats off to Chris and Dan for trying to offer an alternative view of aikido as an internal art. Now, if only we could agree what internal means, hmmm........ As I enter 24 years of aikido training and almost 40 in MA I can't help but wonder where I would be if I had started there instead of "external"
All misunderstandings are my own.
Last edited by Alec Corper : 02-24-2015 at 02:35 AM.