Power corrupts; Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Baron Acton
This is usually thought of in a political sense, but can also apply in a physical sense.
Take for instance, shomenate, it can be done with a power stroke or without. When it is done with a power stroke, driving uke’s chin strongly up and back, it looks a lot like the traditional Junana version. Done without a strong power stroke it looks like a brushoff or like a kokyunage breath throw (i.e. gokata). Most any aikido technique can be done either way.
How can power stroke get us in trouble?
- Power depends upon a base of power. To exert you have to plant your feet. If it doesn’t work it sticks you in place. This gives uke a specific, directed force to adapt and respond to. Uke can actually use your strength and power as a crutch if your angle and timing is not quite right. Applying power can make it easier for uke to pull you down with him.
- Power is addictive. If a little power isn’t enough, you naturally think of adding more strength first. This leads to escalation of the conflict.
- You never know if you are powerful enough to overcome your enemy. This leads to a struggle to gain more and more personal power and there is no upper limit in this kind of power struggle. Weakness as a virtue, however, does have a limit – zero power. You never know if you can over-power an enemy but you can know for absolute certain that you are able to under-power any opponent.
UPDATE: Here is another facet of the power vs. weakness thing. Interesting...