Incorporating the Wim Hof method into martial arts training

Ivan

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Hello again. I have been slowly incorporating the Wim Hof method into my every day life for the last few months now. I take ice cold showers almost daily, and strive to perform some of his exercises as part of a morning routine as well. I started off just doing his pushups exercise, which involves taking 30 breaths as deeply as possibly without taking breaks between inhalation and exhalation to induce that light-headed feeling, which he claims is a result of raising your alkalinity. After the last exhalation, you immediately attempt to do as many pushups as possible while holding your breath. My all time push-up record is around 60 or 70, but I have reached the point where I can do 40 pushups without a single breath. I have also recently started doing his horse stance exercise (which I am struggling with and will make a separate post for it). I also want to start doing his stretching exercises.

Overall I have highly enjoyed it. My intention was to improve my willpower and strengthen my immune system. I am not exactly seeing much change, but its nice to have a morning routine. However, I recently tried his breathing retention exercise and I have to say it has highly impacted me. Not physically from what I can tell, but performing it for the first time was a very surreal experience. The exercise involves the 30 breaths again, but at the end of the last exhalation, you focus on relaxing your body as much as possible and holding your breath for as long as you can; simultaneously, you must become aware of your heartbeat and slow it down to the best of your ability. After you cant hold your breath for any longer, you take a deep inhalation and hold it for 15 seconds, exhale, and start this process all over again. After doing this for 4 times, the physical and mental state I reached was exhilarating.

I could taste the oxygen in the air and in my mouth, and breathing in made a very weird nose like a locomotive engine. You get this weird sensation in your ears, as if you can hear the sounds your body makes passively. Overall, I am wondering what this state is? What does it achieve? Are there any records of this being used in martial arts training? Have any of you tried it And what was your experience with it? Lastly, is the danger to this? Yesterday, I did 8 rounds, reaching a breath retention of 2 minutes and 30 seconds. I wish to push it to even more rounds, to see if there is any other experience to be reached.
 

Oily Dragon

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You and I can have a long (maybe years long) conversation about this.

I have a close family member with Chinese hanzi tattoos they got after studying and training Wim Hof's methods, because they were born barely breathing and spent the next 20 years training.

Lost their father at too young an age. Brain death after 15 minutes without oxygen, whether the heart keeps beating or not.

Nowadays I teach them kung fu and household maintenance. Last night, toilets. Tomorrow, Tai Chi.
 

Gyakuto

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If what youre saying is correct, Wim Hofs knowledge of human physiology is not very. rigorous. Blood pH ranges from 7.35 -7.45 - an amazingly narrow range indeed (neutral is 7)! Breath holding makes you body fluids more acidic due to the accumulation of carbon dioxide but the limit of respiratory acidosis is about 7.35 and respiratory alkalosis (by hyperventilation) is 7.45. Healthy autonomic reflexes will prevent you from exceeding these extremes.

The investigations into cold water immersion (CWI) are fraught with issues. They often include small, single gender sample groups who tend to be fitter than the average and have engaged in cold water immersion for quite some time. There is some scant evidence cold water immersion may have small benefits but a healthy diet, a normal body mass and exercise likely swamps the affects of CWI.

My suspicion is that the noxious stimulus that is cold water immersion, releases endorphin giving the subject feelings of well-being and even euphoria. I live by the sea and, as a case study, have bathed in it during February (6 Celsius) and can attest to it being very unpleasant but it did make me feel very euphoric, no doubt in part due to surviving the ordeal. I am still awaiting the descent in the pitch of my voice and indeed, my testicles
 

Oily Dragon

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To be sure, the methods are not for everyone (and Wim tells everyone this), but the fact remains that his training has produced very real results for certain types of people. Many studies have been done, some mixed, some inconclusive, and some scientists think he's total BS. But....

My friend was born with abnormal lung function, today he's fitter and stronger than anyone I know his age. Swears by Hof's discipline.

HOF holds 26 world records, including running up Mount Kilimanjaro.

This is one of those "the science is vague" areas, imho. Mind over matter.

 

Gyakuto

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To be sure, the methods are not for everyone (and Wim tells everyone this), but the fact remains that his training has produced very real results for certain types of people. Many studies have been done, some mixed, some inconclusive, and some scientists think he's total BS. But....

My friend was born with abnormal lung function, today he's fitter and stronger than anyone I know his age. Swears by Hof's discipline.

HOF holds 26 world records, including running up Mount Kilimanjaro.

This is one of those "the science is vague" areas, imho. Mind over matter.

Yes I agree, we have to be very careful about regarding spontaneous remission as evidence of the efficacy of a therapy especially when it is espoused by someone with a vested interest (money). If you enjoy cold water immersion (in other words, youre a masochist!) and you perform it under supervision (my legs stopped working in 6 Celsius and I understood how people get into trouble in these circumstances) then go ahead and give it a cautious try.

Win Hof佞 I dont know what to make of him. I once saw a very candid interview with him and it became clear he was doing all his physical challenges to ameliorate the emotional effect of the devastating loss of his wife (if I recall correctly). Thats an incredibly powerful type of motivation that cannot simply be conjured out of thin air by the rest of us. I bought one of his books to understand what he was suggesting and his method but it was a nebulous read, to say the least.

Give it a go if you like and then maybe try crystal therapy, reiki, homeopathy佞
 

Oily Dragon

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Yes I agree, we have to be very careful about regarding spontaneous remission as evidence of the efficacy of a therapy especially when it is espoused by someone with a vested interest (money). If you enjoy cold water immersion (in other words, youre a masochist!) and you perform it under supervision (my legs stopped working in 6 Celsius and I understood how people get into trouble in these circumstances) then go ahead and give it a cautious try.

Win Hof佞 I dont know what to make of him. I once saw a very candid interview with him and it became clear he was doing all his physical challenges to ameliorate the emotional effect of the devastating loss of his wife (if I recall correctly). Thats an incredibly powerful type of motivation that cannot simply be conjured out of thin air by the rest of us. I bought one of his books to understand what he was suggesting and his method but it was a nebulous read, to say the least.

Give it a go if you like and then maybe try crystal therapy, reiki, homeopathy佞
I learned the terms "psychosomatic" and "hormesis" reading Hof, so that's something positive.

Reiki, crystals, homeopathy
..anything Gweneth Paltrow sells on goop.com.....let's face it people are still debating whether or not surgical masks inhibit infectious diseases, but will eat all that New Age stuff up.

If you get a chance, watch the Hof episode of Chris Hemsworthts "Limitless". Here is Thor himself. From what I read, he was told to stop doing this stuff so he would survive long enough to make Thor:Love and Thunder. According to Chris, he needed serious R&R after this short series. Stress!!


There's a big debate in the health and fitness world about whether or not Hof is a good example of living to old age healthy. A lot of people don't think he will. And yet he's the closest thing we have to Superman.

Pro athletes use cold therapy all the time. And so do a lot of pro martial artists.

If I had to guess, some people just respond to stress different than others. Some people will jump in an ice bath, and jump out feeling like they conquered death. I've done it.

And others will literally go into shock and die and should never attempt it.

 

Gyakuto

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I learned the terms "psychosomatic" and "hormesis" reading Hof, so that's something positive.
Yes hormesis is very interesting and may account for the lack of genetic mutations at the edges of the Chernobyl site! Psychosomatic/placebo/mind-body axis.there are many trendy terms for it!
Reiki, crystals, homeopathy
..anything Gweneth Paltrow sells on goop.com.....let's face it people are still debating whether or not surgical masks inhibit infectious diseases, but will eat all that New Age stuff up.
Oh shes a proper nut job along the same lines as Elle McPherson/Andrew Wakefield!
If you get a chance, watch the Hof episode of Chris Hemsworthts "Limitless". Here is Thor himself. From what I read, he was told to stop doing this stuff so he would survive long enough to make Thor:Love and Thunder. According to Chris, he needed serious R&R after this short series. Stress!!


There's a big debate in the health and fitness world about whether or not Hof is a good example of living to old age healthy. A lot of people don't think he will. And yet he's the closest thing we have to Superman.
It always surprises me that soccer players die in their late 60/early 70s. Youd think with all their physical training theyd live to a more senior age. It must be due to all the spit roasting they do as young men. Not a good way to prepare their food
Pro athletes use cold therapy all the time. And so do a lot of pro martial artists.
I saw a programme by a U.K. medical doctor and journalist (Micheal Mosely) who did an admittedly somewhat unscientific TV trial placing athletes in either hot or cold baths post exercise. The results were much the same in terms of their recovery, performance and reported effects. Then I found an article about a statistical method used in cold water studies and beloved of sports scientists called magnitude-based inference. Briefly, MBI allows results to have up to a 50% chance of being a false positive (rather than the usual and acceptable 5% or less false positive). This allows the sports scientist to make big claims about their data based on only a few subject (and hence attract further funding!). The other therapy reports that used MBI almost exclusively concerned foam/fascia rolling!
If I had to guess, some people just respond to stress different than others. Some people will jump in an ice bath, and jump out feeling like they conquered death. I've done it.
I bet its very unpleasant.
And others will literally go into shock and die and should never attempt it.

The gasping induced by cold water immersion can cause you to aspirate cold water. This can stimulate the recurrent laryngeal nerve that innervates various bits of the larynx and is a branch of the vagus nerve. This can cause vagal stimulation which can drastically slow or even stop the heart! I believe many deaths in very cold water are caused by this mechanism.
 

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