Re: Functional Ki Skills
These discussions about the unbendable arm trick, generally rapidly move into discussions about the iron bridge trick. In that example, there is not one big muscle supporting the extension/expansion of the entire body, but rather a bunch of muscles working together. Some have to relax, some have to tighten and hold, and they all have to work together.
I'm not talented enough to just consciously will each muscle to do what it needs to do. It seems like a big waste of time to think "bicep you relax, tricep you engage because we are doing the unbendable arm trick." Think about how much effort it would take to tell all of your muscles what to do for the iron bridge. I don't even know all of their names, or in what order I need them to start working. Forget about throwing a baseball or a punch for that matter to try to get that whip like motion. I've been told that if you hold your arm straight out in front of you with your thumb up, and then open you arm out to your side you are using completly different muscles than if you do the same motion with your thumb down. I know that when I used to lift free weights compared to using those machines, I had to develop some rudimentry control of what were called "control" muscles.
My point, is that if you have some imagery (like thinking about ki flow) _and some great posture_ you can get your body to move optimally (reflexively). If you train yourself to take conscious control of that, rather than inferferring with that natural process to try to get good movement, you will be MUCH better off.
Any tips or tricks towards that end, are valuable regardless of whether someone else can explain an alternative explanation for why the tricks work. I'd rather see someone put time into better imagery, or a linear/iterative training plan towards developing these ideas within the context of martial arts.