Kenshiro Abbe Sensei introduced Aikido to the UK in 1955.
I recall that he only mentioned Ki once, I asked what is Ki ? - he replied " Not necessary speak of Ki, I teach it as part of each technique ".
After reading the other fred ( although it means I am old ) I feel so privileged that I studied with such great teachers that taught Aikido as a martial art. I was so fortunate that Ki was hardly ever referred to, there were no Aiki ribbons in sight - no breathing through ones toes, no woolly hats on the mat.no freezing of students - no floating with the nod of the head - no KI blasts, they were tough days - but they were great days.
Here is a quote from one of my teachers - Tadashi Abe Sensei, a student of Osensei from 1942.
"The Aikido I knew and learned with Osensei was Budo. Since my return to Japan, I realize that what we teach today has nothing to do with this martial art.
What remains of this art inherited from Samurai, which was formed by the founder for men. Today, it is a sport of women ! " Tadashi Abe Sensei
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
Henry Ellis makes a point that has been spoken of by people who could do what they say. Tohei Sensei was not the chief instructor at the Aikikai because he could knock people down with "ki balls". He was simply the toughest amongst a bunch of very tough and skilled martial artists. When my teacher, who was one of Tohei's top students, came to the US for the first time in the early 70's, he was challenged by many and beaten by none. This was not an accident, nor was it a function of some mystical "Ki" abilities. The Ki that these men manifest in their techniques was tangible, irrefutable and a force to be reckoned with. The "ki" that people talked about in their Aikido in the US did not favorably impress my teacher then and now. The talk was absent of real manifest ability in what they talk about.
So much of what I read from people who allegedly have some "deep" understanding of ki fits under another quip from two of my teachers-> "Can say, but cannot do". The high level Aikido that is done by very few, here has manifest within it "Aiki" and "Ki". The end result is irrefutable. Everything else, particularly from those select few who pontificate, while running away from any "opportunity" to demonstrate such said skills, is nothing more than methane. If someone does not know what I mean by methane, feel free to send me a PM and I will discuss a most interesting of syndromes.....