Before I began studying Aikido I didn't know anything about the study of mind/body coordination. I didn't know that tasks performed with mind and body coordinated required less energy and flowed more smoothly from beginning to end than tasks performed with mind and body working in disharmony. Surely I had encountered phraseology that hinted at the fact that mind and body should be singularly focused on the task at hand, but it was Aikido that opened my eyes to the fact that mind/body coordination could be taught in a structured manner that would, over time, strengthen the unification of both; which. in turn, would allow me to perform close to my maximum potential no matter what the task.
When I finally did begin my Aikido journey, it was all about making the body work in order to perform technique. I could pretty much muscle my way through resistance from my partners. The whole mind/body, extend Ki, keep one point thing began to seep into my awareness as well, but only very slowly. So while I had strength to spare, I noticed something was missing, especially when practicing with advanced people who were able to embody the four principles that I had heard so many times but wasn't yet able to demonstrate to any appreciable degree.
Time, however, has proved to be a wonderful teacher. The ability to crank out 300 plus pound bench presses and 500 pound squats has, over the years, bid me a fond farewell and with it has gone the resource to muscle past the resistance of younger and stronger partners. But as my raw muscle strength has lessened, the power of my coordinated mind and body has grown and executing Aikido technique has become, if anything, easier. While I'm not as strong as I used to be, I am proportionally more powerful. At first glance, that may seem paradoxical. How is it possible that I can be more powerful in the face of waning physical strength? The research I've begun is hinting that the idea of power is really an intricate weave of possibilities that touches on more than the physical manifestation that most everyone is familiar with from high school physics classes. There are other avenues to explore and I hope to be able to address some of them in future posts.
(Original blog post may be found here