The short answer to your question is that ki is basic.
Basic to what Mike? Doesn't "basic" somewhat depend upon the relative skill level of the person? In other words, to an untrained, unskilled person, what is basic may be simply pushing and pulling with normal muscle strength.
What's basic to someone with some training may be the application of technique (using movement/position/leverage) to overcome brute strength. Basics for an expert technician might involve a deeper understanding of the principles of physics, physiology, and even psychology, and how they enable techniques to work. We might say the expert is able to bring together principle and technique to overcome even the techniques of younger, faster, stronger opponents.
Am I wrong to think that basic really involves more 'external' skills - like taisabaki, skeletal alignment, posture, and form? And the 'internal' body skills mentioned here and elsewhere in these discussions (such as the baseline skills thread) are really more advanced?
Since when did utilizing subtle and sophisticated conditioning of the fascia through secret breathing techniques, mental imagery and/or mentally spreading and directing forcepaths throughout the soft tissues of the body via the tensegrity-like structure of fascia in order to resist pushing from any direction become basic, baseline skills?
Although these body skills seem "basic" to those more advanced practitioners who have spent years working to cultivate and condition their bodies the way that Sagawa, Kimura, Ueshiba, Shioda, Tohei, Abe, Inaba, Ushiro, Master Sum, CXW, Akuzawa, and apparently even our own Mike, Dan & Rob seem to have done. Judging from the reports of folks who've experienced you all first hand, it seems to me these are rather uncommon/advanced skills.
"Aiki" is the blending of your ki with the opponent's force.
Nice concise way of putting it. Easier said than done though, I suppose.
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.
So the 'essential' idea is really training/conditioning of the fascia to adjust the supporting tensegrital (?) or soft tissue structure of the body automatically in such a way as to blend with and repel the opponents attack? How is it that this "essential idea" is only sometimes or less often the means of blending with an attack than an actual technique is? What did you mean by that?
Is this "essential idea" done intentionally or not? Tohei says the mind leads the body. Here you said the ki is adjusted automatically without thought (mushin), elsewhere you speak of directing forces with your mind, which is it? If this is basic how do you that?
Could you expand a bit on just how you "adjust your ki instantly & automatically so that uke is forced to go because of something he intitiated himself"? Can you give some examples of 1.) how do you train to develop this ability? And 2.) how you would actually use it in a technique like say aidori ikkyo or katate dori shihonage?
In particular, I'm curious how you understand the role that the tensegral structure of the fascia and/or ki & kokyu
plays out martially, in other words, in the basics of these two techniques vs the more standard external methods usually exemplified by other posters.
Rob, Dan and Ignatius, if you care to comment, I welcome your feedback here as well. If you prefer, please substitute a basic BJJ or MMA technique for the ikkyo and shihonage examples.
Thanks for these stimulating threads and discussions, I look forward to your responses and comments.