Peter Martin-Browning wrote:
Do you think that Saito Sensei or O Sensei were deluded when they spoke of ki as an actual force?
In the way they use the term sometimes in Japan, they do mean a force. Tohei demonstrates his "Ki" and yet is showing he can counter a force to his body; that counter, ultimately, is a tangible force. So logically, in that usage, "Ki" is a force.
Someone mentioned that Kanai Sensei called Ki an intention. In a loose usage of the term, "Ki" can be "intention" in that it is the path of force through the body that the mind sets up. For instance, just before Tohei's opponent pushes on Tohei's forearm, there is a path from the forearm to the ground. That is ki. The "intention" to set up that path and the actual path that is set up can be idiomatically interchangeable, so I wouldn't protest too much for that usage of "ki" in a casual conversation. Technically, ki is not exactly "intention", though.
Joshua Reyer wrote:
I think "ki" is like "humor."
Humors, in medieval physiology, were the four fluids in the body that controlled health and temperment.
This can be true, too. The Chinese and Indians (from whom this concept comes) didn't use our western science as a basis from which to explain things. They wound up grabbing this "catchall" term (prana, qi, ki) to explain how things worked; ultimately the catchall term simply failed to explain things so it was dropped as an explanation. However, the things that "qi" was used to explain are real. The same thing is exactly equivalent with the humours theory... in a time of little scientific knowledge, "humors" was used to explain real things; "humors" ultimately failed to exist or workout, but the things it attempted to explain were real.
Alec Corper wrote:
There really is no need to rehabilitate ki since it has not offended anyone or anything. The endless talk about it is just that: talk. There are some things I can do sometimes with some people that could be described as good body mechanics combined with the right mental/emotional attitude, a feeling of goal-less efficiency which brooks no opposition since it perceives none.I wish I could do it always, so I'm working on just working and not wishing too much.
Doing this(effortless power) in the midst of actual combat is a whole different thing, and many exercises in Aikido (most of the tanren keiko, kihon waza, etc) including many of the so-called "warming up" practices are a way of conditioning the body/mind to cooperate in a particular way, not so dissimilar from learning Tai Chi form and then push hands.
Some people want it but don't get it
Some couldn't care less and have it abundantly
Some can talk it to death, so what?
Some know and show but it's not seen or understood
There are a lot of people who think that "Ki" is a pesky side-topic that has trivial everyday usage in Aikido, Taiji, Karate, Xingyi, etc. In fact, in some martial-arts forums I've seen, ki-related topics are banned or shifted to the garbage heap section of the forum. I think there is a great misunderstanding about the role of "ki" in Asian martial arts when I see the topic trivialized like that.... it's like being in a seminary studying Christianity and its works, but banning or trivializing any discussions about Jesus because they get to tiresome and no one seems to really know the topic.
Some fairly qualified people have said there is no "Ki". That's true in the sense of Josh's comment about "humors". In reality there is no "Ki", but the body skills people (like Shioda, Sagawa, Rob John, et al) are discussing are real skills even if technically there is no such thing as a "Universal Ki" force/energy. In the sense that there is not really any magic, the people who offer the idea that there are magic approaches to "ki" should be looked at with suspicion. When I see people offering on the internet "secret ways to get secret knowledge" I always hear in my mind, "Step into my parlour, said the spider to the fly".