Internal strength is not aiki
Actually people who are very skilled with it are rare. I have as yet, never met anyone in Aikido with much in the way of connection, power and Aiki, much less highly skilled aiki. Most teachers I have met and crossed hands with tell me they wish they had discovered this decades earlier.
Of course there are many other people with Internal strength (JMA and ICMA), but not all have accomplished aiki skills. Instead they use their IP for power displays. What Ark is doing in the kokyu dosa vids are power displays. I stand people back up on their feet from Kokyu dosa but I do not do it the way he does. While what he is doing is very good, it is still a collision of forces. His power is more developed, so he wins. However, it is not aiki.
With weapons it becomes even more pronounced. Power is a losing gambit with weapons, yet few know how to use aiki there either. I give people bokken and let them use two hands to make a horizontal cut against me, while I hold a bokken at the very end with one hand against their entire two hand "power" cut.
Power...with muscle is the dumbest of the available strengths
Internal power is more accomplished and difficult
Internal power with aiki is far better
Internal power with aiki and being able to fight with it...is the highest level of skill.
And comparatively, few possess those skills.
To quote you
"all those things coming unstuck when meeting it? Now that's quite a bold statement."
It is a statement of fact. The aiki Ueshiba's pursued is daunting, Graham. I'll let you know when I meet an Aikido-ka, anyone, who can stop it with Aikido.
For Mr. McGrew and others, the internet is the best place to discuss it. Why?
In person, it isn't going well for the detractors. You have no where to go and no argument left after that.
"All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." -Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)
This continues unopposed, in person...because it is self evident to all.
Dan. You mention someone doing power displays and that you do these things and that his isn't aiki. That sounds like you do 'power' displays also then. Aiki wise. Does he say yours is Aiki and if so what does he call his?
The demos you describe show what? Effectiveness of your aiki? (I assume so) However I don't see it as significant or unusual myself. Maybe 'out there' it is.
For instance, lifting someone up back to their feet from kokyu dosa. When you say power display equalling collision of forces are you implying you havn't met anyone who can do that without such?
Sword tricks. Are you saying you havn't met anyone who can cut through your sword held as you describe?