And how are you extending ki, Greg? From the peeps I've talked to from Ki Society, there's been some varying definitions of exactly how that works . . . let alone how it then gets expressed.
Well, that certainly is the million dollar question, isn't it - and any answer could very easily lead into the start of another Ki war
Being a private type of person, I normally don't put too much personal stuff out on the open web, but maybe its time I shared some of this for what its worth. First, let me just state that my Ki society training and experience is all from the early days of the Ki society when I was stationed in Guam with the Navy during the mid 70s. Training was conducted by Kalama Sensei (chief instructor of the Marianas Aiki Kwai) and Korestoshi Maruyama (chief instructor of the Ki Society at that time) who made extended visits to the island to teach. I have not trained with any current members of the Ki Society, nor with any members of the Ki Society from the US, so I have no idea whether they were taught the same way we were taught on Guam. With all that said, I can only tell you what was taught to me and what I found to work for me in this area - and as you mention, there are many views on this.
Back in those days, we were taught Ki as presented by Tohei in his many books about Mind and Body Coordination. To make it work, you had to believe in Ki as Tohei explained it - it is as simple as that - you just had to believe. Now once you were a believer, you just had to learn how to recognize ki within you, then you moved into learning how to control it consciously, then into controlling it subconsciously within all your movements - really a very simple model. So, how did I stumble upon recognizing what ki was within me? well, it was by accident. I was at my sempai's house talking to him in the kitchen when I remembered that I had something in the next room I wanted to show him, so I said wait here, I will be right back. I turned and started into the next room when I realized I left something in the kitchen that I needed, so I just swung around and proceed back into the kitchen. What I did not realize was that my sempai was right behind me following me into the other room. Needless to say when I turned I pivoted into him and literally threw him across the room without even realizing it - All he could say was "fantastic ki" and all I could say was "so that is what ki feels like" it was a real epiphany - when I touched him I hardly felt him and he just flew off of me; by the way, he was substantially larger and heavier than me. After that incident, I just dissected mentally and physically all aspects of the experience and started to incorporate things into my waza until I was at the point I could duplicate the feeling and employ it into my techniques. When I left Guam in late 1977, Kalama Sensei said to me in his broken English and Hawaiian accent: "Greg, you have strong ki - when you go back to the States, no one will be able to put you down"
Back in the States, I was only able to train on and off due family and work issues and unfortunately a lot of what I learned went dormant for a while. Back in the latter part of 2003 and early 2004, I actively stared to train more (this is when we first met, Budd) and I could not find anyone that was training like we did in Guam with a focus on ki. Actually, most places made fun of it ( Budd, this was before Itten started looking into the internal stuff) and I even trained with a AAA dojo (Toyoda of the AAA was one of Tohei's people in the US before he started the AAA) and even though they talked about ki, they did not teach it nor practice it the way we did in the old days. Anyway, I started to become disillusioned with the whole ki bit since no one was doing it and for the most part said it did not exist. My focus on the waza started to take a more physical approach because that is what I was being taught, but it just did not feel like it used to from the old days; which I just attributed to being rusty. However, on occasion, some of the old stuff came out and I had some flashes of brilliance. Eventfully, I ended up just trying to focus on the ki and the soft internal stuff I was taught that was part of the whole ki thing. This lead me to Mike Sigman, Howard Popkin, and Dan Harden. Although these guys can come across as being quite different in a lot of areas, they also are a lot closer than either of them may want to admit
and my training with all of them has brought me full circle back to Tohei and his teachings on ki; which will give you that first foot in the door of IS - but as Dan and Mike say, you need to take it to the next step, which they both do.
So, to answer your question Budd, you simply just have to believe in Ki as a force within and outside the body that you can control with your mind. I am not talking about ki balls or flashes of energy, but there is something there and the mind is where the control starts. How you learn how to do that is a very individual thing since there just is not a step by step process to recognize and learn it. But it can be taught - it just has to be in a coached hands on environment where the instructor has immediate feedback to their directions on extending the mental intent. I always knew I could do it based on passed experience (not an expert, still learning more) from the old days, as well as recent feedback from Dan and some of his students - but the challenge was in teaching someone else to do it; especially someone that did not believe in Ki. Just recently, I hit that plateau by having two of my guys being able to move uke off center via just mental intent as Mark demonstrates in one of his videos - and one of the guys has no real martial background and has only been training for a few months.
Short answer to learning all of this is to start with your mind and place it in your center (Tohei's One Point) and then have the Universe rotate around that - still a bit esoteric, but that is just the nature of the beast for this; there really is no simply answer