On another note, where do you guys draw the line or difference between ki and aiki? Or ki skills and aiki skills?
Y'know, I was thinking about one of the basic, officialish Aikido books that was put out by Kisshomaru Ueshiba many years ago and in it, IIRC, he was fairly clear about the place of ki in Aikido... IF you already knew what he was talking about. I'll have to see if I can spot a copy locally somewhere.
The short answer to your question is that ki is basic. In fact, that's what all that stuff in the Ki Society tries to do... a concurrent training of "ki" with your Aikido. "Aiki" is the blending of your ki with the opponent's force. Sometimes/often that blending *also* involves a technique, getting off the centerline, or whatever, but the essential idea is not really just the "blending" of technique, it's the instantaneous and automatic (mushin) adjustment of your ki so that there is a resultant direction Uke is forced to go because of something he initiated himself. That's more what "aiki" means. If it was just "blending via technique", why would that be any different than physical judo and why would O-Sensei have made such a big deal out it?