Bryan Bateman wrote:
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.
Thanks, Bryan. Just as a quick comment, there seems to be a common perception in a lot of the Aikido community that the various breathings, exercises, sittings, etc., used by O-Sensei represented a native-Japanese religious practice like Shinto, etc., with maybe a tad bit of Chinese Buddhism that crept in. However, other than some superficial modifications, etc., the basic physical practices (not to mention the chanting, use of sounds, etc.) I see all seem to be pretty obvious Buddhist-derived items. In essence, I see nothing in Aikido practices that is far-removed from many substantive qigongs that involve "qi"-related movement. The caution is, as usual, that because you copy the movements doesn't mean you know what's going on "inside"; i.e., copying a Taiji form or a martial qigong might look like the choreography, but it's far from what is really going on. The same can be said for traditional Aikido, too, as more and more people are beginning to realize, I think. The caution there is that learning the "8 secret steps" can be a lot like learning a Taiji form... appearances can trip you up.