Ibuki No Ho is the name of the Ki breathing exercise we practice at the beginning of class. Shihan took the time in our last class to teach it to the new students.
Breathing meditations are found around the world so Aikido is not unique in this. Our technique slows the breath, focuses the mind on the energy of breathing, and uses that to allow the person practicing to calm their mind and thoughts and prepare for the class.
The class members arrive at the dojo by ones and twos. People are changing their clothes. Conversations ring out. The mats are open and individuals start to stretch out or roll. Then the instructor claps once. The class lines up. There is a call to attention, a bow to the shomen and the instructor, and then Ibuki No Ho. From that first clap, those steps serve to transition the class away from the outside world. That time is quiet, focused on the meditation, and when it is over, hopefully the student has left work and family and other concerns for later and is ready for Aikido.