Re: Training Internal Strength
I feel like we're circling around the meat of the actual discusion, which to me is - what discrete elements around internal strength can we identify and how are they trained? What I see happening is that people say (paraphrasing), "This is cool! I like it, it must be internal!!"
So using Sanchin as an example - the two areas that Marc speaks to (breath integrated movement and loosening the joints) are certainly basic pieces of the kinds of conditioning you need to do in order to rewire your body - actually, what I wrote is misleading - they are *key* components that you will keep building on as long as you are training. And what I've seen by a lot of people doing Sanchin kata is certainly emphasizing breath and stretching (CAVEAT & NOTE: I've not seen Ushiro or any of his peeps practice this kata), but also with "locked" poses and external/localized tension in arms, shoulders, letgs, etc.
The clips I've seen where Ushiro s moving, he's not showing the localized tension - but the point I'm making around Sanchin is that there's most likely a "right" way to do it and a "progressvely less correct" ways. Just like funakogi-undo (rowing) in aikido. Find the clip where Ueshiba is doing it with Terry Dobson and you can see very different "types" of movement exhibited by the two (and before anyone gets their thong bunched together - I'm not saying that Terry sucked or didn't know anything, okay?).
So in addition to using Sanchin to train breath, pressure, stretching and relaxation - there's a fundamental (almost said "weight management" ha!) connection (almost said "middle managment" ha!) componet that involves how you bring your "intent" and "strength" (using that loaded term - even though it encapsulates heaven/earth, ground/gravity, etc. all that) to a single point to an overall covering throughout the body and back to a single point and . .so on and so on.
For instance, in funakogi - there's an accompanying stretch and release on he inside before the arms come forward and back. How that stretch is managed and released gets increasingly more complex based on how the body is conditioned over time because more of you will be coordinated together to act as a single connected unit. How you manage the ground pushing you up and gravity pulling you down to manipulate the stretch - will result in how powerful your release ends up being. How well conditioned your body is (relaxed, connected etc.) will result in how much power you can load into the stretch. The use of local muscle will inhibit these things.
The are the nuts and bolts in how I define internal strength. This other talk of energetics, etc. I'm curious about - but less from the perspective of "Oh my sensei does cool shiznit with energy" and more along he lines of how it works - what and how are you training yourself to do?
If people can refrain from having to discuss personalities - I think it will be more productive for everyone. I keep seeing the phrase - "Budo is all about the relationships" (again paraphrasing). Fine, depending on your definition of Budo (e.g. something you belong to versus something you DO and ARE), I can buy into that. But in terms of these "how to" discussions - I care a lot less about how much fun you had attending someone's class or how affirmed you feel as a person. Obviously it should be a relatively "safe" environment . . but can you see how that's a separate discussion?