When practicing breathing training, it is best to start with Ki Breathing. The basic of Ki Breathing is to do Ki Breathing with natural posture (Oneness of mind and body). Exhaling should be slow and calmly from the One point.
At this time, if we consciously try to control our breathing by trying to exhale longer or trying to exhale better this will not help our Ki breathing exercise improve.
While Exhaling, it is best to leave it alone and let it naturally become 1/2, 1/2, 1/2… allowing it to continue and become infinitely smaller. At this time the “waves” in our mind should also become calmer and continue infinitely to the ends of the Universe.
An example that can be used to describe this is like a bowl, which is filled with water. In the beginning there will be waves, but if left alone after some time the waves or ripples that were on the surface of the water will naturally become calmer and quieter.
If we try to control our exhale during Ki Breathing, it is the same as creating “waves” in our mind, which has the opposite effect of leaving the breath alone, and our mind will not become calm.
The most important point of Exhaling during Ki Breathing is to “exhale and to let it be natural”. Once this feeling is experienced and felt, practicing Ki breathing becomes very easy.
This is like learning to ride a bicycle. To be able to ride it properly some practice time is necessary. The same applies to Ki breathing. For us to do it naturally and for Ki Breathing to be a part of us, frequent practice is necessary for us to catch this feeling and for it to become natural.
For Exhaling during Ki Breathing, “our breath should continue infinitely to the ends of the Universe.” Once this feeling is experienced, we can start to practice “exhaling in one breath.”
During the practice of exhaling in one-breath, many people usually tend to have unnecessary tension.
By frequently practicing Ki breathing and catching the correct feeling for it, the same applies to exhaling in one-breath. Here the end of the exhale is calm and continues infinitely to the end of the Universe. When this happens, inhale happens naturally after exhaling.
Practicing exhaling in one breath can be done continuously.
If each exhaled breath is not calm at the end, or if each breath is not exhaled completely, the next breaths for inhale then becomes shorter and not complete, thus the feeling of shortness of breath.
Another form of training, is practicing exhaling with one breath while swinging the bell, this is called “Sokushin no Gyo”. In the past this training was done for many hours in a day. Now we practice Sokushin no Gyo for about an hour.
By being able to extend our natural energy and strength completely, we then receive new energy and strength naturally. If we do not extend our natural energy and strength fully, then are unable to receive new energy and strength. “Sokushin no Gyo” can teach you this secret of breathing.
Once we get the feeling from practicing exhaling in one breath, we can start to practice “Ki Ai”, as in “Counting with Ki”.
“To count out loud” is the same as “Breathing out or Exhaling.” The way we exhale is projected in the way we count out loud as they are both connected.
When we keep One point calmly and exhale with one breath when counting out loud, we experience this same feeling, and so the voice that we project out will sound calm, confident and clear.
With a voice that sounds calm, clear and confident it will also help when practicing or interacting with our partner and our surroundings. This is why we have had many actors and people who give speeches come to learn this breathing practice so as to improve and apply it to their work.
The final stage when practicing Breathing Training is to practice matching our “Breathing” and “Movements”.
This practice is usually applied by counting out loud during Bokken and Jo training, but the main purpose of training during Bokken and Jo moves should be that our count and our moves match as one naturally.
During Kengi and Jogi (Bokken and Jo) training, if our count is weak or not correct, it reduces the power of our actual movements by half. This is why it is very important for us to realize the importance of counting correctly.
Breathing and movements should always match as one naturally. It is when we are not in our best natural state or condition that our breathing and motion becomes separate and we are unable to perform to the best of our ability.
When teaching athletes, we also teach them how to train matching “Breathing and Movement” as one. By practicing this, most athletes usually improve their performance.
“Breathing out calmly”→“Breathing out or Exhaling in One Breath” →“Ki Ai or Counting out loud” → “Breathing and Movement”, these are the steps that we can use to train in our Breathing Training.