Re: What is Aiki to you?
Thanks Matthew, I appreciate your understanding! Craig, someday we'll get a drink...
Bernd hit on some points I always try to push...
1. We have pretty good evidence that implies O Sensei (and his Daito Ryu) understood aiki to be a physical property manifest in the body through training. So anytime we talk about aiki as a non-real trait, we are moving away from aiki-do as it was taught.
2. The more esoteric the definition of aiki, the farther we move from anything that can be "taught" in a traditional sense. Anytime we talk about "all the different definitions" we move farther away from any single thing towards which we train (regardless of whether it's right or wrong).
3. We limit our training when we decide who aiki "works" on, or how we personalize it, or what partnerships are required in order to train. If aiki-do becomes bigger than you, then it becomes impossible to train.
Aiki is within you. Each time we answer a question, it should nudge us closer to (or farther from) aiki training. Often, we will move farther from aiki training until we hit a roadblock that corrects us. The more we ignore those roadblocks, the farther we move from aiki training. Our training should be with people and within dojos that provide those roadblocks and critical thinking tests.
If an instructor can't tell you in 2-3 sentences what is aiki inside their dojo... I don't care if they believe aiki is a color; as wrong as that is, at least they are making a statement to be judged.