Solo Ki exercises are a core element of my practice. They aid me in developing focus and mastering the basic movements from which technique grows.
Ki testing enables me to gauge my progress in the strengthening of correct feeling. A Ki test involves my interacting with a partner. These tests require that my partner push, pull, lift or compress various places on my body while I either remain stationary or move with intent, in either case ignoring the pressure being applied. When I am the tester I am careful to apply force in such a way as to aid my partner rather than demonstrating to my partner how strong I am. Ki testing is a cooperative endeavor. My goal as tester is to help my partner grow stronger.
Ki tests also provide me with a set of exercises that I use to strengthen correct feeling. As my correct feeling grows stronger my partner will provide more and more force for me to deal with. This has the same effect as lifting weights does for my muscles; gradually increasing the amount of weight lifted will, over time, strengthen muscle tissue. Gradually increasing the amount of force I have to deal with in Ki testing will, over time, strengthen correct feeling. I have posted about this before, but the idea is so central to my development in Aikido that I feel it warrants repeating.
(Original blog post may be found here