But Okinawan arts are not generally known for their internal power. In fact, I've even heard prominent aiki teachers say that studying Karatedo will hinder your growth in developing internal power. However, my personal experience has convinced me otherwise. Goju Ryu in particular, I feel, has great potential for one seeking internal power. It all has to do with tanden breathing. While internal power is not the focus of Goju Ryu, there's one kata specifically that contains all the secrets.
I will admit that most karateka view the intricate hand movements as various grabs and strikes, however I see something different. Perhaps that's because of my experience with Aiki Jujutsu, but it's there and maybe that was its true intention? After all, Goju Ryu comes from the Fujian White Crane style which does have internal properties. Why would it be surprising, then, that internal power should be present in Goju Ryu?
The entire purpose of kata is to teach without teaching - to show a student the essence of the art without revealing it to them until they have proved themselves. One could study kata forever, and develop their own interpretations, but unless the teacher decided to reveal the true purpose those secrets would remain safe.
So what exactly am I talking about? Let's break down Tensho and I will attempt to describe the exact aiki correlation. Please keep in mind that unless you have trained in an internal martial art, you may not get the desired effects and bodily reactions described below. This article is written specifically to aiki practitioners.
The next rotation, at 0:32, is again off of a cross-wrist grab. This time rotate to the outside of the attacking arm and rise above it (takagi) while drawing them in (hiki te). Then drive through with aiki sage.
At 0:40, we are now defending a same-side wrist grab. Create aiki age by raising the forearm up at an angle toward the opposite shoulder (kata mawashi). Relax the arm and drop with aiki sage.
At 0:45, it is back to a cross-wrist grab. As the attack comes, create kuzushi by drawing their hand across their center line (chushin ryoku). Just as their balance is taken, cross over with sumi otoshi.
Aiki is a principle, not an art. Realistically, the concepts of using the body as a cohesive unit and coordinating breath and relaxation with power generation should be universal. Although most people visualize jujutsu-type locks and throws when they think of aiki, as well as the connection drills and balance tricks that saturate the internet, aiki can (and should) be applied to striking and weaponry as well. Aiki is not something you do, but something you have. You become aiki by developing an aiki body. The specific man-made label is irrelevant. Either you have it, or not.
The problem with internal power is that the majority of people like to lay claim to it, as if by them being the "only source of true aiki" they are better than everyone else. There are different levels of aiki, but at the end of the day, it's all aiki. It's all internal power, and the main differences between shoden and okuden level aiki lie in the amount of refinement and practical application. Rather than trying to put each other down and be the "top dog," we should all be sharing information. The aiki community is small enough as it is, and the clans are no longer at war. Ego has no place on the mat. I know that I still have decades of development and refinement ahead of me, but I am open-minded enough to see the potential in other places, places most people would immediately discredit. Now, I can't speak for other Karatedo ryuha. I can't even speak definitively on the internal potential other Goju Ryu kata, because striking and joint manipulation do seem to be the focus, but on Tensho specifically, the internals are there just waiting to be brought out.