Re: Ki vs. Intent
So, Johnathan, I think I understand what you're talking about, but I want separate some of the distinctions. Cady referenced the classic "mind leads ki" description but I want more detail about what it's like in practice. (Also, the variant I heard, I think, is "Mind leads intent, intent leads ki, ki leads power" which is interestingly different)
Johnathan references "the breath also affects the ki-- the pressurization can load/strain the ki" -- but this is a fairly basic use of the relationship between breath and ki. Eventually, you want breath to be independent of ki, especially when filling your body with ki as in your O-Sensei reference.
Not only do you have to breathe while staying filled with ki, it's easy to misuse breath in this way. I spent a bunch of time filling the chest (which I gather some do intentionally to learn expanding the ribcage) and then had to get rid of that in order to fill hara and the body generally *without* letting it go to the chest.
I see breath as training wheels for ki--by visualizing breath being pulled into one-point you build the channels that you'll use for extending ki later. And it feels like the channels are almost mechanical--that they are how the limbs connect to the center so that when "intent leads ki" it's got a connection to go through. But ki's where the mental (intent) connects to the physical (movement/power).
[Today's post brought to you by Smuttynose's Zinneke Belgian-style stout, a fine, spicy brew. Any failings in grammar or sense may be blamed on them.]