Re: Ki and power and cooperation
My thoughts here:
1. I have pursued aikido with the goal first to control myself and second to control my environment. As I have a tendency to say, "get your house in order before wrecking your neighbors." I like Dan's reference to compare and contrast being "un-throwable" and "throwing". For me, it makes sense that I should look first and foremost that that which improves me; and second to that which affects others.
2. The Sun don't orbit the Earth, its the other way around. When we "aiki", one center has to become submissive to the other. Whether this order is achieved artificially or naturally is relevant to training. What I understand to be "cooperation" has very little to do with falling and more to do with establishing order in aiki.
As a note to these points, I think sometimes we tend to focus on "throwing" and less on ourselves. I guess sometimes we like the false sense of power that comes from throwing someone (especially if they are bigger, or faster, etc.). Second, I think sometimes we mistake cooperating with our partner as falling for them. When I train with big center people, I appreciate that they allow my center to lead the dance, even though I am still train to create a relationship when they don't have to "let" me lead. These people don't "fall" for me because even if they let me control our centers I can still screw up waza.
Aikido does not require "cooperation". For those us us who train with cooperation we should understand that as a training aid that eventually we should shed. Similarly, to be unable to defend your center and balance as part of your training should also be seen as deficient and something to improve upon.
Besides, how could Phi and I possible fight atop the bamboo forests in North Carolina if we didn't have good un-moveable centers?