There is no 'between' phase to kokyu, only points along a spectrum.
Generally, I tell folks to inhale as they receive/intercept and exhale
as the strike/throw. And this can lead to some confusion. There's
really no difference, but to a beginner, using those images can help
shift the paradigm and make movement easier. It's all tied intimately
to breath and spirit and focus.
Ki moves constantly as you breathe. You exhale and ki flows. You inhale
and ki flows. You don't suck up ki, it continues to flow into you from
the universe. It is a circuit, not a balloon. We are conduits, not
By aligning the body properly, and aligning the spirit, and focusing
intent through proper breathing, we exercise ki-power. This is tied to
kokyu and factors into aiki and kiai (which are not simply obverses of
the same term, BTW) ...
We can do whatever we want without ki. We don't have to use it. But
... it's just smoother and easier if we achive mind-body-spirit
coordination, move from tandem/seika no itten/the one point and align
ourselves _with_ the natural flow of ki.
This is why we open our hands, extend fingers. There's a symbolism
(sort of a physical mnemonic, I guess) to having extended the fingers
and extending the ki.
I frequently use the visual image of the silver thread, or the steady
flow of water. The universal, the font of ki is a vast reservoir and
we are each connected to it by a 'silver thread.' This is our flow,
our conduit. With that thread, we move in the universal, take
strength from it, give back to it ... and are thus connected to all
other things as well.
By visualizing that thread, the pulse and flow of ki through
it, we can overlay the ki paradigm and use those concepts to enhance
our physical actions, mental acuity and spiritual connection. It's
all musubi, you see ...
Once I got past the idea of drawing in ki and then sending it out, and
realized that the flow was constant, it was all about how _I_ fit into
that flow, how _I_ used that flow, it began to make more sense.
No, seriously. I'm not kidding. Really.