I stand in natural stance and my partner, standing in front of me pushes on my shoulder. Usual Ki development practice would have me remain immobile, letting the force of the push flow through me while I remain relaxed and centered. This exercise is structured differently. As my partner pushes I allow my upper body to rotate about my vertical center line even as I remain relaxed and centered.
I don't lead the push, I want to feel the force being continually applied as I move; feel how it is altered, how my partner changes her angle of attack as my motion bleeds her force off, how she recovers in order to maintain her pressure on my shoulder. And then I stop, staying relaxed and centered. I stand immobile for a time, absorbing my partners push, and then rotate back to my original position while still being pushed, remaining relaxed and centered. With repeated iterations of this exercise I will stop at different points along my arc of rotation, stand for a moment and then rotate back to the starting position.
What I find instructive about this exercise is that I'm not being moved by the push, I'm moving of my own accord, channeling the force of the push as though I am still immobile. Aikido is, after all, about motion; about keeping correct feeling while immersed in the whirlwind of conflict. Practicing these dynamic Ki exercises provides me with opportunities to experiment with forces without having to concern myself with the execution of technique. As I learn to manipulate forces while performing simple motions I can apply what I learn during waza practice to make my technique rely more on correct feeling and less on the application of forces applied to my partner in order to get her to do what I want.
(Original blog post may be found here