Anyone that has been a student of mine knows my favorite word and technique, breathing! This skill is so often ignored or neglected. Students often do not see the value and cheat, sometime instructors do not understand of convey the importance. The following two quotes cover the essence of my teaching.
“In the traditional Japanese arts, whether martial or other, proper breathing is taught as an essential and fundamental factor of concentration. Air contains the energy of life from the universe which we receive through our lungs and every cell in our bodies, so it is important to know how to breathe. We ordinarily breathe fifteen to twenty times a minute, and we breathe superficially, using only one-sixth of the capacity of our lungs. Deep, full breathing does not take place only at the level of the thorax or diaphragm but it is supported by the intestines. One can learn to breathe more slowly, five or six deep, calm breathes a minute. Breathing is taking in supplies, breathing out, slowly and deeply, spreads them through the body.It is important to concentrate on breathing out, on spreading and distributing, because breathing in, stocking up energy, happens unconsciously and automatically.The Japanese martial arts use this way of breathing, and any attack must take place while breathing out [yang], if possible while the adversary is breathing in [yin], because he is then at his most vulnerable.”
Taisen Deshmaru – The Zen Way To The Martial Arts
“When you breath you must fill your entire lungs with air”, he said. “Most people use only the top portion of their lungs. They do not fill the bottom part. If you breathe correctly you will use the bottom of the lungs as well as the top, the same way you automatically breath when asleep.”Imagine that the air you are breathing is fog, and visualize it coming through your nose and throat into your lower abdomen. Let it circulate there and through your body and limbs. Visualize it as it travels around the various channels and meridians of your body. When you exhale, see the fog leaving your mouth.” In the beginning, you may become over conscious of your breathing and begin to pant as though you were doing heavy exercise. When this happens, just start over again.”
Joe Hymans – Zen in the Martial Arts
Stated more clearly, breathing is fuel for your brain and body, neither will function properly without oxygen. Breath to little and your reaction time and thought process will slow down. Breath to quickly and your flight instinct will kick in and panic may ensue. Control of your breathing increases your cognitive and physical functions. Breathing is the foundation of all success in life. Be conscious of your breathing until your control of it is instinctive. Osu!
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