Well, about a bazillion things to say, martial arts wise, this week. I'll spare you most of them.
Aikido gives me the framework to address taiji and taiji gives me lots and lots of new ways to think about aikido. It's a very cool kind of reciprocal relationship.
As posted earlier, I'm finding the hip joint (kua) to be more and more related to what's going on. I'm playing with it and testing it daily.
On the one hand, it seems to be a source of power. This makes sense for, among a number of reasons, it's pretty close to the Dan Tien. On the other hand, I'm also starting to feel the kua as merely a link between my center and the ground.
Briefly, during push hands the other night -- just a moment or two -- I felt absolutely rooted. Looking back on it now, I seem to sense that the center (Dan Tien/Kua area) was not the source of power but the conduit of it (if that makes any sense). In my mind's eye at least, the source of power seems to have been the earth. My center, which I had always thought as the "main thing," was just my main link in that chain.
That would mean we don't ever really own this ki, we just make use of it. Even if, on one level, we produce it or store it. On another, we are just manipulating the energy that is available in the universe. The better we are at doing that, the more ki we seem to "have," but in fact, we don't possess it at all. I guess we just make use of it for ever longer periods of time as we improve our skills.
In aikido, I am also feeling more in the flow of things. I think during these moments, mindfulness of the balls of my feet starts to take over from mindfulness of the center. It's sort of like the feet are at one end and the torso/head are at the other and the center connects the two and makes them come alive.
I'm not sure if this idea is correct or even really important, but it was a flash of something, anyway. I'll figure it out sometime.