Receiving Energy, storing, gathering...whatever...I am usually breathing in.
Releasing, returning...breathing out.
That's precisely how I see it, too. And the breathing has to be done with your center.
Another thing with breathing: You will improve significantly, if you start your breathing before you start moving your body. For example, start exhaling before you strike or throw or pin.
The breathing should feel like it is what actually performs the technique, while the arms merely follow.