Re: Video definitions, "Aiki" and other terms.
I appreciate your post. It seems timely, and your last point is hard to argue. I stayed away from the internal strength threads for a long time, because I saw a distinct pattern to them. Unfortunately, this thread has followed that same pattern.
I don't believe the purpose of this thread was to debunk, minimize, or even be skeptical of internal strength. I personally, believe it is important to aikido. Nor was the purpose of this thread to assess the level of internal strength anyone has, or how impressive it can be.
What is at issue here is the characterization of aiki -- particularly, the use of video to illustrate and help define aiki.
This discussion has been largely ignored.
After 12 pages and 288 posts, only Mark and Chris posted videos.
Maybe this is a very difficult discussion to have. Maybe the definition is elusive. But far too much of the "discussion" is premised on the conclusion that "aiki" = internal strength = structure.
In my opinion, based on my experience and knowledge, acquired in person from various instructors, my own training, and from research about Morihei Ueshiba, aikido, and daito ryu, and related arts and philosophies, I believe that definition to be incorrect, and actually counter to the weight of the evidence.
I would say that most of what has been described should be referred to as kokyu or kokyu ryoku. I understand that there may not be a clean line between these concepts, and that there is most definitely relation and overlap.
If I'm not mistaken, I believe you (Mike Sigman) even said kokyu is more appropriate, although you prefer to use the Chinese terms when discussing these things.
As for aiki = timing, that is clearly an incomplete definition. What is not so clear is whether timing was all that was being conveyed.
Does the definition, no matter what you think it is, affect the manifestation of the physical skills being described? No. Does it affect our (as aikidoists) art? Absolutely. It is the "way of aiki" -- whatever that is.