fromThe Mysterious Power of Ki by Kouzo Kaku - relating an interview with the late Ueshiba Kisshomaru (pgs 143-144).
What, then is 'aiki'? How do people who devote themselves to training their body and mind through Aikido actually experience 'aiki'?...
Thus, people experience aiki in different ways, and this is only natural; feeling is a personal experience that depends upon a person's character, personality, physical attributes and environment.
Although there are subtle difference in the way people describe aiki, I have no doubt that they are all experiencing true aiki. As each person progresses in their training, the differences between the individual perceptions of aiki become smaller until eventually all paths converge to arrive at a single state.
Ultimately, there is only one state of ki. My father had the following to say about the ultimate state of ki which he had himself attained:
'Through physical training I reached the ultimate understanding of budo. Once the essence of budo had been thus revealed to me, I realized that a person's body and mind and the ki which unites the two should be brought into perfect harmony, and that these three elements should be further unified with the activity of the universe. It is possible to unify one's mind and body and, subsequently, the universe, through the expert use of ki.'
Aiki is, therefore, the unification of the ki which is the basis of the life-force and is made manifest by subtle breath control with the ki which is the basis of existence and which permeates the entire universe, and aiki is to become one with the universe itself.
This is probably the clearest understanding that I've read from the late Doshu on aiki
. His earlier book The Spirit of Aikido
gave a traditional 'no explaination is acceptable'
argument. Also in this interview he relates his father's (O Sensei's) understanding of the topic. Note that he is also talking about two levels of aiki:
- The personal individual level (mind and body)
- The universal level (becoming one with the universe)
If you're still interested in all this KI/CHI/QI stuff, you can visit CKS Annex: Defining the Life Force