O Sensei's Kokyu Practice
I had always heard of Morihei Ueshiba's breath powers (kokyu ryoku), however I never heard of him doing breathing exercises. I read where he had both a strong chant and kiai. I also read where he practiced kotodama. Between the chanting and kotodama, I figured that he was able to get plenty of breath training. This year I not only discovered that the founder did breathing exercise, but also one type of breathing exercise he practiced.
In January I attended the winter workshop at the St. Louis Ki Society. Mark Rubbert Sensei, lead the workshop. One of the practices done in this New Year's workshop was water misogi. One of the things that he taught was what he called his "emergency ki breathing" exercise.
He had used this quick method of ki breathing to help revive a participant in a river misogi who was losing color in her face. He had gotten this method from Koichi Tohei's book Ki in Daily Life. It was listed as "2. The Ki Breathing Method 2" (pg. 67, 1984 edition). It is also given as "2 The Breathing Method used in Aikido" in his previous book Aikido in Daily Life (pg 33, 1966 edition).
When Rubbert Sensei was in Japan, he asked K. Tohei about ki breathing method 2. K. Tohei replied that he didn't do this method anymore. It was what the founder had practiced.
Now that I have reviewed the instructions for this method, I can see that they vary from what K. Tohei usually recommends. As Rubbert Sensei noted, it uses tensing and relaxing of the muscles that is common with yoga and progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) exercises. Since this breathing exercise has usually been ignored in the Ki Society, I wanted to pass this information on to those who are interested in the founder and his training practices.