Ellis Amdur wrote:
Hey Mike -
One common practice was a method originally derived, I believe, from Tenri-kyo, a neo-Shinto sect. The individual stands with feet shoulder-width apart, and the hands are clasped, right cupped palm over left, and the arms at the natural relaxed extent that this hand grip allows. The hands are shaken almost as if shaking dice, but the body is organized so that the waves of the shaking go through the body all the way through to the feet. The body is relaxed - not limp - and there is no sway or drama, just a subtle vibration. Ueshiba Kisshomaru used to do this for about 3-4 minutes every class he started, as did, I believe other instructors. I've been told that Abe Seiseki would do this practice for very long periods of time and this was the source of his amazing (to my informant) relaxed power. (Note that this last is not something I know or witnessed - just something mentioned to me).
When I was living in Tokyo, they also used to do this at my dojo before every practice. Our Kaicho studied under both Ueshiba M and Ueshiba K. It was always done in conjunction with torifune, i.e. we would start with torifune in migi kamae then do shimburi with the right hand over, then do torifune with hidari kamae followed by shimburi with left hand over. Unfortunately, I don't recall him explaining it much. My understanding was that it was to do with active/passive breathing practice (torifune being active, shimburi being passive). I'm afraid I never questioned it at the time so I don't have much else to add.