How to breath properly in Karate?

Discussion in 'Karate' started by Grimlon332, Jul 7, 2019.

  1. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    As my instructor would say, "Focus on the exhale, God will take care of the inhale". His meaning, is that if you try and hold your breath as long as you can eventually you will have to expel all that air and naturally take an inhale, you can't do any different.

    There are different breathing patterns for different types of things you want to accomplish. A good instructor will be able to teach you these. There is a breathing pattern for a larger power strike versus a flurry of strikes.

    There is an easy method taught to military/police etc. called "tactical breathing" (called triangle breathing by others) in which you breath in for a count of 4, hold it for 4, exhale for 4 and then repeat. It lowers stress and starts to re-establish the logical portion of your brain and overrides the reptilian part.

    https://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcp...ional-wellbeing/Combat-Tactical-Breathing.pdf

    Square breathing is done for a different purposes, and is very similar to the triangle breath, but you hold "empty" for a count of 4 before the inhalation starts. A very good book on breathing methods is from Systema called "Let every breath: Secrets of the Russian Breathmasters" by Vasiliev
     
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  2. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I recently saw some updated information on yawning. It's true it used to be thought to be tied to oxygenation, but there's no detectable rise in oxygenation following a yawn, so they're back to not being quite sure what the purpose is. I think one school of thought is that it's about blood flow (I've forgotten the explanation behind that).

    I do know that anytime someone mentions breathing patterns, I catch myself half-consciously lengthening my breath. I'm the same way when someone talks about jumping - I find my leg muscles tensing like they would if I were about to jump. Apparently, I think everything is a command.
     
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  3. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Like when you see someone get hit in the nuts and you instinctively kinda protect your own :D
     
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  4. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    On another breathing related note...

    For the longest time, we were told to stand upright and put our hands behind our head when we’re out of breath instead of hunching over with our hands on our thighs. The idea was you’re opening up your chest and are able to get more oxygen in. Perfectly logical.

    Studies have shown the hunched over with hands on your thighs actually helps you get your breathing under control more effectively. Who would’ve thunk the instinctual thing to do is actually the best thing to do?
     
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  5. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    I've never actually heard that said before. But as I think about it, I have seen a couple people do it, but very few.

    I sure do know about the hands on the thighs position.
     
  6. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    We were told to do this:
    46FE7F2A-732C-4CE6-9818-09C00DD83585.png

    Who would’ve thought this is actually proven better?
    3860BA9F-D2B3-4005-A78F-80B689654C61.jpeg

    As far as not a lot of people doing the first one, well, I guess human instinct is to do the second one. The first one was really drilled into us by my wrestling coach. Except during matches. He drilled acting like you’re not tired at all.
     
  7. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    I would have done that if a wrestling coach taught it to me. No question.

    You know I hate wrestlers, right? Because you people never get tired. I so hate that. :)
     
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  8. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    You should say “they” because I haven’t been on the mat in too long :)

    It’s not that they don’t get tired, it’s that it’s ingrained to not show it. But compared to a lot of other people, yeah, they don’t get tired. The conditioning they’re put through is horrendous.
     
  9. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    In my day my endurance was as good as anyone I've ever met.....except for wrestlers. I was blessed with circumstance that allowed me to train and study all day.....and that causes your endurance to naturally sky rocket. But damn wrasslers'.....sons o'
     
  10. Hanshi

    Hanshi Orange Belt

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    Very interesting topic. I was taught breathing control almost 60 years ago by my Japanese karate instructor and continued practicing ever since. It is my habit to kiai with any technique; I couldn't stop doing this if my life depended on it. A full breath isn't needed but a deep one is. As a long time Buddhist monk, I've spent vast amounts of time breathing deep while in meditation. This will get one use to putting the breath deep into the abdomen. And for martial arts the breath is deep but not full.
     
  11. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Yeah, we were taught that (hands up high), too. I still catch myself doing it.
     
  12. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Master of Arts

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    Wow really... yeah it feels so much more comfortable to hunch. I know in Kyokushin we were always told hands behind the head, stand up straight, perhaps because it was tougher :p. But I think it was trying to train us to consciously slow our heart rate by ourselves through controlling our breath. Meh, dunno!
     
  13. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I think there was (in general, and this probably translated to Kyokushin practice) the idea that hunching compressed the diaphragm. I'd be interested in the mechanics that counter that thought now.
     
  14. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    I haven't been able to find the studies that people have quoted, just that authors are citing this and saying it is better.

    I am gonna channel Jobo on this one. :)

    What type of breathing was tested? If we note that most people aren't breathing properly in general and after sprinting/exercise etc. and are breathing upper chest versus "lower abdomen" then this makes sense. Try it for yourself. Bend over with hands on your knees and try to breath using the upper chest like most people do. It is actually very hard to do and forces you to use lower abdominal breathing, which we already know is better for you. Standing up with hands behind your head also facilitates using your whole lungs and "opens up" the rib cage. So, if you take a trained athlete who knows proper breathing methods, then which way is better? I have also been told that part of the reason for the hands on the head was so you could keep moving, bending over with your hands on your knees wasn't because of breathing, it was because you just went full out exhertion and then stopped moving which wasn't good. So, the default position to keep the airway open for breathing and moving was hands up.

    Lots of different things would go into that than I am finding to make the statement which one is better overall.
     
  15. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Master of Arts

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    Hmm yeah that may be a factor actually hey.. and makes sense if you want to breathe deeply and properly, you don't want that!
     
  16. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Master of Arts

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    Yeah fascinating.. a few factors here, I wonder which trumps the other... perhaps what's optimal depends on what activity you're doing..
     
  17. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    I agree entirely with your in-depth analysis, but just to add I have neither done either of those, I've never felt the need to be hunched over nor put my hand behind my head, I just stand there or more likely keep moving slowly while panting.

    it's common to see soccer players hunched over in that manner at the final whistle, but only the loosers, winners always seem to have enough energy to dance about do a lap of honour,so a strong psychological aspect I suspect. it's very much the body language of defeat/ disappointment
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019

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