Breathe

Discussion in 'Beginners Corner' started by Bill Mattocks, Dec 27, 2018.

  1. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    One of the first things new students must be taught, besides now to walk, is how to breathe.

    Breathing is easy, right? In and out. Been doing it all our lives. Don't even have to think about it. If we work out, we breathe harder, but in general, what can be taught about it?

    Couple of things for the new student. Disregard if you're taught something different - this is how I was taught.

    First - in through the nose, out through the mouth. Especially important when you're exerting yourself physically and you start to breathe heavily. If you start to pant like a dog, you're not going to be doing a good workout. Get control of your breathing.

    It's hard. You have force yourself to not do something your body is ordering you do to. You're panting like a steam engine, and you're being told to STOP DOING THAT and your body is screaming against stopping it.

    But you must. Get a deep breath. Hold it. Hands on top of your head if it helps. Stand up straight, don't bend over, get your hands off your legs. Let it out through the mouth and breath in SLOWLY through the nose.

    Bring it under control. You won't pass out. Even if you did, your breathing would return to normal while you were out, you won't die. You think you'll die but you won't.

    Once you have that under control, you won't even think about it much anymore. It will become your new normal. Believe me, you need that. Nearly before anything else, you need to be able to breathe properly.

    Second, work on breath control as you block and strike. Nearly everyone exhales as they strike and it's fine. But practice reverse breathing; breathe in as you strike and out as you recoil. If you work out with a partner who holds a focus mitt or striking pad, you might find they tell you that you hit harder when practicing reverse breathing. I don't know why. I just know it's an eye-opener.

    Third, practice dropping your wind. That means dumping all of the air out of your lungs prior to taking a strike to the midsection. Being punched in the gut or solar plexus always gets your attention, but if you drop your wind, you may find you can take the hit and continue to function, versus having the wind knocked out of you.

    Being mindful of your breathing is part of your martial arts journey. It's one of the major basic aspects, like balance, like power, like speed and precision. But before anything, breathe.
     
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  2. Leviathan

    Leviathan Yellow Belt

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    Why breathe in through the nose? Seems totally counterproductive as much more air can pass through the mouth than through the small holes of the nose. Breathing in through the nose seems like obstructing the air inflow in a combustion engine.

    Sportsmen in action usually have an open mouth.
     
  3. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    My Yang shifu use to always say the same thing his shifu said when asked about breathing "Yes you should"

    Had a Xingyiquan Shifu who said if you tie your breathing to your striking, he was referring to exhaling with striking, he will attack you right after you exhale because you have no power on the inhale....same would be true if you ties inhaling to striking.

    Basically train yourself to breath normally at all times, this is an Internal Chinese Martial arts thing (Xingyiquan, Baguazhang, Taijiquan, Yiquan/Dachengquan and possibly LiuheBafa too)

    And a note on "Reverse Breathing", also called Taoist Breathing, to a person who trains Chinese martial arts, I understand this does not apply to styles of other cultures. Reverse breathing means on the inhale pull the stomach and on exhale relax the stomach and let it out, all while remaining relaxed. The other is Buddhist breathing, inhale, expand the stomach, exhale contract the stomach. It all falls under belly breathing, never over expand and never let to much out. But this is a ICMA perspective
     
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  4. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

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    Breathing through your nose helps regulate your rate of breath plus stimulates your lower lungs to allow deeper breathing.

    Also, breathing through your nose stimulates your olfactory bulbs which is connected to your hypothalmus which controls blood pressure, heart rate, etc... Breathing in through your nose helps regulate those. Also, your sinuses create nitric oxide that enters your blood through your breaths.
     
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  5. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I did not know all this, thanks. I only knew it seems to help getting panting under control.
     
  6. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

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  7. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Panting can lead to hyperventilating. You cannot, to my knowledge, hyperventilate breathing in through your nose.

    It's also easier to inhale an insect with your mouth.
     
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  8. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    When there is a problem, there is a solution. In CMA, there is a "section breathing" method. You

    - inhale fully, exhale fully.
    - inhale 1/2, inhale another 1/2, exhale 1/2, exhale another 1/2.
    - ...
    - inhale 1/7, inhale another 1/7, ... exhale 1/7, exhale another 1/7, ....

    The advantage of this method is you know how much air that you still have in you lung. Instead of holding your breath to throw 3 fast punches, you can exhale 1/3 at each punch. You can also reserve 1/4 of your air in your lung after punch. This way, if your opponent punches you, you are not weak at that moment.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
  9. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    Yes, but his reference was to those that lock their breathing to their striking...basically he was saying...don't.
     
  10. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Do your guys agree with the following XingYi theory?

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Most MA systems exhale during punch. The harder that you punch, the harder that you exhale. The XingYi system don't train exhale but train inhale. When you punch out, you don't use force. This way your exhale will be light and slow. When you pull your punch back, you inhale fast.

    This "light out, heavy back" body motion will cause your breathing "light exhale, heavy inhale, long exhale, short inhale".

    [​IMG]

    It's quoted from the following book:

    https://book.douban.com/subject/1924213/
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
  11. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    As far as I know that is not Xingyiquan theory and it is not the xingyi theory I learned, or even mentioned. I learned do not lock inhale or exhale to attacking. Breath normally so you can attack, with power no matter exhale or inhale. Maybe you learned tying inhale to striking, but I never did with 3 different teachers.
     
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  12. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    Everyone is different. And more power to them.

    But, there's some things in life I just won't do. I'll never play cards with a man called Doc, never eat at a place called Mom's, never sleep with a woman whose troubles are greater than my own and I'll never inhale when I punch.
     
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  13. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I think you're missing out, but you know you are right about the woman thing.
     
  14. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    You may be right. I just spent about five minutes punching on the inhale. Not for me, though. I felt like a pushamepullyou.

    Pushamepullyou.jpeg
     
  15. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    - How about kick? Do you inhale when you kick, or do you exhale when you kick?
    - If you use pull to set up push, do you inhale on your pull, or do you inhale on your push?
     
  16. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    If you have a bag-holding partner, try it both ways and ask them which one felt more powerful. That was the eyeopener to me.
     
  17. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    Exhaling on kicking, but I don't really kick that much any more.

    Exhale on the push.
     
  18. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Master of Arts

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    Great post, thanks for that Bill, a timely reminder :)

    Been learning to breathe all over again almost out of necessity this past year and a half, such a powerful tool...

    Have never tried inhale on striking, will have a play :)
     
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  19. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    I like the "slow exhale and fast inhale" method for the following reasons.

    - Air will last longer in my lung.
    - In fighting, I need to obtain air between fast actions.
    - It matches to the swimming method.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
  20. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    Another good post Bill. When I studied TKD I don't remember being taught any breathing other than when winded, breathing in while move one foot forward, and raising our arms sideways, then reversing for several repetitions until we had our breathing more normal. Sounded silly when I was first told to do it. I quickly found out that I was silly as it worked very well.

    In the Hapkido I studied, part of our warmup preparations was meditation and breathing. With our hands at our hips, we breathed out as we moved our hands straight out, and breathed in as we brought them back. Then the same breathing but the hands were moved up, then out from the shoulders and in front of us with our arms straight, then hands were moved down slightly to our inner thighs, same breathing. All the time concentrating on our Tan Jon (the area about three inches below our belly button. I don't know what it did for anyone else, but as time went by it helped me gain gi.

    Breathing out when you are about be struck, especially in the stomach/solar plexus area, with a loud kiai does aid in resisting the blow, and as importantly, or rather as part of it all, not having your wind knocked out of you. I was also taught to kiai on landing from a throw, again to resist any damage.

    As you say, breathing is indeed one of the most important things we can learn in martial arts. Thanks again for teaching all of us again. Reverse breathing looks interesting and I need to practice it to see what I can learn from it.
     
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