Re: Organizing the Body For Aikido
You're a great writer, and your depth with the subject matter comes through.
Prewar styles seemed to make more use of structure. Tomiki Aikido's Shomenate and Yoshinkan's Kokyu Ho 1 I think are maybe the same movement with different teaching styles - one for the gross motor movement and timing, the other to develop integration and structure.
While I had understood that Ki Society was a later off shoot of Aikikai, I guess Tohei was the major Aikikai teacher before he broke off and he was a student in the 1940s. Many of the same body shapes, but a focu on imagery and how it affects structure. There are a few exercises like Ikkyo Undo or the Unbendable Arm that maybe are the same movement and application again as mentioned above with a different teaching method.
I wonder if Aikikai came into it's own after Tohei, or maybe developed in part as a reaction to Ki Society. Maybe the right teaching method is all of the above. The different systems all have a slightly different take on the same idea and instruction of the same application. Certainly there seems to be a continuum of concrete to formlessness over time, with the earlier systems clearly more interested in structure.
When I teach a Taiji class at my hospital, I make the point that the structural work used to be about, "How do I hit harder" but that this is now also how to carry groceries, open doors, or pick up grandchildren with less fatigue and less effort.