• Bruce Payne

Breathing for Karate - Breath for Health

This article explains two basic ways of breathing for Karate practitioners and for health:

Chest Breathing

Buddhist Breathing 

Breathing is a timeless internal practice, there is no thought, only doing.

In ancient Daoism the masters developed highly refined breathing techniques in very precise ways. They considered conscious breath control to be a type of meditation, an internal practice leading to strength and balance. Practices went far beyond relaxing the body and reducing stress. Breathing was considered a way through which a practitioner could achieve higher awareness, and discover the point between life and the material world. Breath was seen as the link between life force (KI) and physical existence.

You can use the breath to dissolve impurities in the body and the mind. You can awaken the spirit.

“Breathing control gives strength, energy, inspiration and power.”

There is a direct correlation between one’s level of health and the body’s oxygen level or O2 uptake. Even clearer is a direct correlation between your level of health and your ability to take long deep breaths and retain them.

Everyday Breathing “Chest Breathing”. This is the most common type of breathing. Everyday chest breathing will sustain life. But it will not build strength, energy, inspiration and power, or cultivate a deep level of health.

As we age, the diaphragm often becomes lazy and disconnected, so that we take in far less oxygen than we truly need. Deep breathing practices and aKarate can tone the lungs and diaphragm to avoid this problem.

Buddhist Breathing

Abdominal breathing, Diaphragmatic Breathing uses your entire mechanism. It will create a relaxed feeling in your body, quiet your mind, and oxygenate your blood, try it now.

Start by relaxing your body. Especially the face, neck, jaw and shoulders.

Rest the tip of your tongue on your upper palate just behind the upper front teeth. This connects the Du Mai and Ren Mai meridians for healthy energy flow.

Sit with straight spine, eyes closed, and explore your breath with patience and curiosity.

Focus on the practice, but without over-focusing or tensing your body or mind.

Observation is key the key to understanding. Just notice the natural rhythm of your inhalations and exhalations, without changing anything.

Now, place one hand on the front of your chest, and another hand on your lower abdomen, known as the lower dantien. On the inhale, allow your chest and ribs to expand laterally all the way around gently. And allow your abdomen to relax and expand outward into your hand. Keep it gentle without forcing. This should be very relaxing. You may notice that your body begins to receive greater oxygen, “I did this with a Blood oxygen monitor once and the reading went from 95% to 99% in just a few minutes. Do not push yourself or allow tension to creep in.

Try it in daily for 10 -15 minutes. When it is truly comfortable in your body, you can begin to incorporate it into your Karate practice.

Use this as a guide in your practice.

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