Breathing is a fundamental and vital life process. Proper breathing means to provide optimal oxygen to the body, especially in sports. So, everyone must be aware of the importance of breathing techniques for fighting.
Breathing is the natural reflex of the human body that is voluntary. However, anyone who does proper sports should train the appropriate breathing techniques.
A control over breathing boosts the efficiency in the fight as well as in training. It is essential to control breathing consciously and optimize it in order to deliver maximum power.
Understand the breathing process first…
Breathing is the process in which air flows through the nose or the mouth into the lungs. There are tiny hairs present in the nose which clean the air passing through it. Then there is the mucous membrane that warms and humidifies the air.
When air is passed to the lungs, alveoli present in the lungs absorb oxygen into the blood.
On the other hand, carbon dioxide is released from the alveoli back to the air through the respiratory tract.
The oxygen absorbed in the blood is then delivered to different organs and muscles of the body for efficient working via blood circulation.
So, proper breathing plays a vital role in the movement of the muscles and fighting.
Martial Arts Breathing Techniques
One of the significant aspects of martial arts is proper breathing and martial arts breathing techniques play a key role in it.
There are a number of breathing exercises to help fighters have full control over the breathing process.
While practicing breathing techniques for fighting, one must concentrate on breathing through the nose both during exhaling and inhaling.
While training in martial arts, breathing only through the nose is impossible as the demand of the body for oxygen increases, and the nose alone can’t handle the flow or provide sufficient oxygen.
However, the martial arts breathing techniques can help you to breathe through the nose for the maximum time.
The regular practice of abdominal breathing offers tangible and quick results.
This breathing technique is easy to learn and you can never do it incorrectly. It also makes your abdominal muscles healthy.
During abdominal breathing, the muscles in the abdomen region move constantly and their constant movement massages the internal organs of the body and enhances the blood circulation.
The basic idea of abdominal breathing is filling the lungs completely.
For abdominal breathing, you can start with the posture that is comfortable for you. Inhale air via the nose, expand your abdomen slowly by pushing out as the oxygen is filling your lower lung cavity.
Focus your mind on expanding the abdomen. Do not become anxious or force the abdominal wall.
Try to achieve a very smooth and gentle expansion of the abdominal wall with the inhalation of air.
When your abdomen is full of air, exhale via the nose and now move the abdomen back into the body gently by compressing your lungs from the bottom.
With inhalation of air, the abdomen expands, and when air is exhaled the abdomen contracts and comes back to the body.
The point here to focus on is that you should not contact or expand the chest.
Among the martial arts breathing techniques, in this technique, you need to feel that you are drawing air deep into your lower body. Repeat 10 cycles of inhalation and exhalation, fill the maximum capacity of your abdomen, and then empty it entirely with every breath.
Reverse Abdominal Breathing
In reverse abdominal breathing, you have to reverse the natural flow of the breath, which makes it difficult as compared to abdominal breathing.
Regular practice of this technique makes breathing strong during the fighting and strengthens the abdominal muscles.
For this technique, try to blow up a balloon while keeping a hand on the abdomen. As you are blowing out the balloon, the abdomen expands instead of contracting.
This breathing technique infuses the breather with power.
Start with a posture that is comfortable for you and inhale through the nose.
Draw the abdomen in and up gradually and you will feel that the upper chest naturally expands as oxygen fills the lungs.
While inhaling contract the muscles of the perineum. When you are pulling up and contracting this area, you will be able to focus on the abdominal region.
Try to keep your motion smooth and relaxed instead of forcing your abdominal muscles.
When your lungs are full, exhale the air through the nose and move your abdomen down and out.
Repeat this exercise for ten cycles of exhalation and inhalation, by filling the lungs thoroughly and then emptying them with every breath.
Breathing via nose is of the prime importance when it comes to martial arts breathing techniques whether it is Kung Fu breathing, Muay Thai breathing, boxing breathing or karate breathing techniques. There are many natural defense mechanisms inside the nose that prevent impurities or the cold air from entering the human body.
- First, there are hairs in the nose to trap the dust particles or other impurities and prevent them from entering in the body that can harm you if you breathe through the mouth.
- Then the long passage of airway is lined with a mucous membrane where the cold air is warmed and the fine dust particles that escaped from the nose hairs are trapped.
- Finally, there are glands in the inner nose that fight off the bacteria left.
Nose panting is a beneficial exercise to release stress and to energize your system if you are feeling sleepy. To do this exercise, imagine that you are blowing a piece of dust present in your nose out by puffing out through your nostrils sharply. After this, you will experience an immediate intake of the air through the nose. Repeat this in-and-out ventilation for ten times. When you become comfortable with this breathing exercise, you can increase the intensity and number of repetitions.
When you start this exercise, your focus should be on the nose and your upper chest while breathing.
While progressing further in this exercise shift your attention to the abdomen.
When you are doing abdominal nose panting, contract your abdomen as you puff off through the nose.
You can also do reverse abdominal nose panting by expanding the abdomen when you puff out.
While you are doing nose panting, after finishing a session, do a couple of deep and slow breaths to calm down the whole body.
As the name indicates, attention breathing means to focus on the natural rhythm of your breath.
It is one of the simplest and foremost techniques among the breathing techniques for fighting. It means to simply observe the bodily functions while breathing not to control it.
Awareness of the breathing process is the tool that you can use to shift from the unconscious to conscious breathing.
To achieve this, you need to focus on the feelings of your body as you breathe.
Feel the air entering your nostrils, moving to the lungs and try to feel how deep it reaches into the lungs. Pay full attention to your breathing and follow it back while you are exhaling the air. As far as you understand the breathing process, you will experience more relaxed and smoother breathing.
Remember, during attention breathing techniques, you will not have to change your breathing.
The aim of this exercise is to observe the difference between natural breathing and the dynamic one.
Try to practice attention breathing for five minutes every day at the same time of the day.
You can do it as you wake up in the morning or at night when you are trying to sleep. When you become a pro at this technique, you can also find time to focus on breathing in other times of the day as well.
The Complete Breath
It is a dynamic breathing exercise that is complex, as well as simple. By practicing this exercise regularly, the capacity of the lungs increases, which provides control over the natural breathing process and makes it smoother.
The complete breath exercise maximizes the oxygen intake of the body and enables the oxygen-rich blood to reach all organs.
When you start this exercise, it is best to practice it in the lying down posture so that you can pay full attention and concentration to the exercise. The complete breath consists of four aspects, inhalation, retention, exhalation, and suspension.
The initial step of this exercise is inhalation. For this inhale through the nose. Expand your lower abdomen and push it out as well as down. When the abdomen is full, inhale and expand your lungs to fill the upper lungs. While inhaling, raise your shoulders and collarbone. Fill the nose and throat and now stop.
This step involves holding of the breath in. Now focus your whole attention of the body. Feel the expansion of your body and the oxygen-rich blood circulating inside. Hold the breath in for 10 seconds.
Next step is to exhale the air held inside through the nose. Push the lower abdomen in and up by contracting it. Squeeze out the air from the chest and lungs while you exhale. Lower your shoulders and collarbone. Exhale the whole air by emptying out from the lungs and abdomen and then stop.
In this step, you have to hold the breath out. It involves focusing on the emptiness of the body. Feel that your body is like an empty balloon that is waiting to be filled. Continue to suspend breathing for ten seconds.
Now repeat this process, but for the next inhalation don’t grasp for the air. Smoothly and calmly inhale the air. Feel the air entering your body and filling your body like a balloon.
Breathing Techniques in Boxing
Boxing is an interesting as well as an intricate sport. This sport may seem simple on the surface, but beneath there are many techniques and these techniques involve so many details.
Practitioners spend years mastering the specific techniques of boxing and hours upon hours are spent in the boxing gym to perfect the skills required to reach a certain level.
Repetition plays a vital role in the growth of a boxer and there comes the point when the body develops muscle memory. Every little movement is significant when it comes to boxing and professional boxers focus on every small detail. Proper breathing is one of the most crucial and most often overlooked aspect of boxing.
Proper breathing has a critical influence on how a boxer performs in the ring and it affects the game more than you can think.
Every boxer must train to have full control over breathing and here are the reasons why breathing techniques for fighting are so crucial. By practicing proper breathing techniques at the early stages of boxing training, you can easily get a rhythm and develop a habit that benefits you in the long run.
It Gives You More Power
Proper breathing ensures that the boxer is delivering maximum power. It might seem that breathing doesn’t play any significant role in the punching power of a person, but breathing techniques must be considered while throwing every punch. According to the general rule, the boxer should exhale through the nose every time when he throws a punch to his opponent.
When the boxer retracts the punch, there will be a sudden release of oxygen, inviting an influx of air, thus feeding oxygen and nutrients back to the muscles. This cycle allows the boxer to throw punches while conserving power. On the other hand, if you do not follow the proper breathing technique, you will run out of power in a short time.
While throwing punches, proper breathing technique maximizes the power output and also boosts the speed of the fighter.
More Energy down the Stretch
Proper breathing ensures that the boxer utilizes the least amount of effort and energy that is required to be effective with boxing techniques.
If the boxer breathes properly, it helps him not to gas out down the stretch. In the championship rounds, proper breathing has the most significance. In these rounds, it is vital to conserve energy for the end of the fights. If you have more energy at the end of the fight as compared to your opponent, you can easily defeat him according to your will.
Prevents Running Out of Gas
One of the biggest problems faced by boxers is energy expenditure. Every punch needs a certain amount of energy to be powerful. Once a fighter runs out of it, it is quite difficult to catch a second wind. Here the breathing technique plays its role. By mastering proper breathing, especially while using high impact defense and offense techniques, a boxer can optimize the energy expenditure conveniently.
When there is a 12-round bout, the victory and defeat both are dependent on proper breathing. Conditioning and stamina are the vital aspects of each boxing match and every boxer must strive to manage these two aspects better.
Flow in Movement
Improper breathing leads to lack of oxygen in the body, as a result, the muscles don’t get the nutrients required for flexibility, proper movement and execution of punches. Boxing involves maximum utilization of lower body and constant movement. In order to conserve energy to last of match, a person needs to focus on breathing as when oxygen is not supplied to the body properly, the person becomes lethargic.
You can take the example of the ocean. While moving underwater, the muscles are burdened with the additional weight of the ocean. That’s how a boxer feels if he doesn’t practice proper breathing and the muscles don’t get enough oxygen to function efficiently. By remaining calm in the fight and practicing proper breathing, you can easily prevent getting sea legs and will be able to move more effectively.
Breathing in Muay Thai
In martial arts or Muay Thai, the accurate breathing technique is of great significance. The fighter needs to exhale in rhythm with the kicks and punches. As you can hear the fighters moaning loud during the fight or workout. This assists them to put maximum power in the punch.
Breathing with Mouth Guard
Some fighters feel themselves restricted when it comes to breathing while the mouth guard is in their mouth. For this, you need to train with the mouth guard and practice breathing with it during the training sessions. You can do running with the mouth guard. It helps to have control over the breathing techniques with the mouth guard.
For Muay Thai breathing, one must practice to breathe through the nose because the mouth is closed on the mouthguard to reduce the chances of injury. Wearing a mouth guard requires a period of time to adjust and to get familiar with the nasal breathing. One needs to wear it often even when he is not training. A mouth guard having a bottom and a top piece contains a hole in the middle that can be used to exhale when needed.
Muay Thai Breathing Exercises
Exercises like yoga can lead to better breathing, particularly for fighters.
Everyone knows that deep breathing is used as a therapy in stressful conditions. Even for the fight or during training sessions, deep breathing prepares a fighter for the challenges ahead and provide sufficient oxygen to the organs for proper functioning. Deep breathing is one of the vital Muay Thai breathing exercises.
For the deep breathing exercise, sit in the upright position or stand straight. Relax your arms and hang them loose. Now breathe strong and deep through the nose. Taking a deep breath is vital so that the air passes into the chest and the stomach. Then breathe the air out through the mouth.
It’s normal for the beginners to get nervous when they enter the boxing ring for the first time, but nervousness can be a reason for your defeat. Beginners often enhance their breathing rate while moving around in the ring and tend to hold their breath while throwing punches.
The combination of holding breath and rapid breathing leads to lack of oxygen in the body because of which fighter has to open the mouth or become tired. Staying calm is the key to control breathing. First of all, remain calm and even if you are not able to breathe properly during the match, you can use the time in between rounds to inhale deeply through the mouth.
Slow and Steady
After developing a habit of breathing through the nose, practice moving around in the stance of a boxer and take steady and slow breaths. Boxing is the game that requires power and it can cause shortening of breath, but the best technique is to keep the breathing rhythmic, slow and consistent. Deep and slow breathing keep the heart rate low and helps to conserve energy.
Punching and Leg Work
Breathing accurately while punching your opponent adds power to your punches while keeping your lungs full of oxygen and prevents overtiring of the fighter. Exhale sharply as you punch the opponent, either by opening your mouth slightly or through the nose.
If you are exhaling through the mouth, try to keep the jaws together. While you watch boxing on TV, you can hear the sound of rapid exhalation when the boxer throws a punch. While bringing the hand back to the body, inhale so that your lungs are again full of oxygen.
Kung Fu Breathing Techniques
Breathing is a symbol of life. Many fighting techniques and postures target the nose, mouth and throat, so martial arts breathing techniques are crucial to learn so that you can overcome your breathing issues during the fight. During a fight, if you are not able to control your breath, eventually you will not be able to defend yourself properly. Controlling your breath during vigorous Kung Fu martial arts is one of the secrets to master this martial art.
Breath control is one of the most critical Kung Fu breathing techniques. While practicing Kung Fu, you must practice your breath control too. Do not confuse breath control with holding your breath, it doesn’t mean to hold your breath.
Sometimes people tend to hold their breath without even realizing. For instance, when a person is nervous, the diaphragm muscles become tense and the person will face difficulty in breathing deep or in filling the lungs properly. When it comes to Kung Fu breathing exercises, breath control means to understand your natural breathing and coordinate it with different Kung Fu practices.
Evolve Your Breathing Method Naturally
When you focus on breathing, you become able to coordinate it naturally. Kung Fu breathing exercises help you to coordinate breathing with movements. They make you able to perform long movements with long inhalation and exhalation of air. You will learn to have the breath at the beginning of the movement and exhale it when the movement finishes.
Kung Fu breathing techniques offer a good time to relax for your body and mind as well as tune them with each other. Once you become a master at controlling your breath, you will feel the flow in your movements. There will be a time when you will feel that your breaths are actually creating and driving the movements.
While you are doing Kung Fu, you are in a form and need time to catch up breath for the next one. Imagine how much time will be needed to relax your breathing and prepare for the next move. The goal of Kung Fu breathing exercises is to recover your breath quickly when you finish a form and then perform the next one again as soon as possible.
This will help you to develop concentration and breath control. Remember talking between Kung Fu forms not only destroy your breath control development but also distracts your concentration from the Kung Fu breathing techniques. Staying calm and practicing breath control while training is the critical part of the Kung Fu breathing exercises.
Benefits of Kung Fu Breathing
- Keeps you focused towards your training.
- Improves the delivery of oxygen to the crucial organs of the body and muscles, which in turn helps to perform best during martial art activities.
- The Kung Fu breathing exercises lowers the center of gravity because the person keeps the breath low in the abdomen.
- The psychological benefits of breath control are calmness of mind, reduction in stress and relaxation.
Karate Breathing Techniques
Proper Karate breathing techniques stimulate heart action, promote active muscular coordination, improve performance and boost the overall health. In Karate the fighter needs maximum physical as well as psychological strength at some critical moments. In the fight, you might be surprised by the opponent and he can defeat you by your minor mistake. By this, you may become excited, blank out or gasp for breath.
Here the Karate breathing techniques come to the rescue. When you perform these techniques properly, they train the body and make you able to perform at the peak efficiency even at the time of extreme danger. Karate breathing techniques help you to deliver maximum power and defend yourself successfully even if you are caught unaware by the opponent or become short of breath.
The first and foremost requirement of Karate breathing techniques is correct posture. If your neck drops, spine curves as you walk, shoulders slump forward, stomach bulges and back look like ‘S’, then you might learn Karate fight techniques, but without proper posture, you can never perform the correct Karate breathing techniques. A simple solution to this problem is to maintain a proper posture. Stand erect, head up, your shoulders should be on the back and don’t slump forward and back should be straight.
Karate breathing techniques become easy to perform when you know the proper standing positions. Stand straight, your arms should be on the side, head up and leave your abdomen relaxed. Exhale the air inside completely. Wait for a second and now inhale. Hold your breath for a second and then exhale. This is the primary breathing exercise. It helps you to learn to control the breathing muscles and the proper filling of your lungs.
- There are many exercises that you can do by standing in this position. For this, first of all, raise your arms high above the head. Bend your body forward and touch the toes while you exhale. When you inhale return to the original position. This is one of the Karate breathing techniques that clean all the impurities from the lungs.
- Stand straight, move your arms in front of you and they should be on the level with your shoulders. When you inhale, bring the hands back to the shoulders. Bend the elbows by ensuring that they are on the level with the shoulders. Force the elbows back properly. This exercise helps to expand the upper front chest.
- In this exercise, you stand erect and bend the body to the right side with exhaling the air. Now raise the left arm straight with inhaling the air, then lower the arm and go back to the original position with exhaling the air. Now bend the body to the left side, raise your right arm as you take the breath inside and with exhaling return back to the original position. This exercise helps to raise the lower ribs.
By learning the correct breathing techniques, you can easily and conveniently improve your Karate.
How to Practice Breathing?
The primary goal of breathing practice is to relax the body and make the person able to move naturally with flexibility. It doesn’t mean to force your body to breathe faster or breathe slower. Breathing practice means to provide your body as much oxygen as it needs in the hour of need.
The aim of breathing practice is to get used to fighting without letting the outside factors affect your breathing, which include the pressure from the opponent and nervousness and this is gained by breathing techniques for fighting. By these techniques, you can sync the fighting rhythm with the breathing rhythm.
When a fighter fights at his rhythm, he feels more comfortable in the fight, easily punches the opponent, defends himself more accurately and gets the performance he desires while using a little energy. A fighter who is able to control his breath can control his pace, movements, rhythm and his fight as well. If you are not able to develop breathing rhythm, you will feel hectic while attacking the opponent, defending yourself and also will not be able to catch a breath.
Slow Breathing Practice
The best way to practice slow breathing is by doing some fast movements with slow breathing. For this, skipping rope is the perfect exercise. If you learn slow breathing while skipping rope, you can also perform well in the ring. Another way to have a control on breathing while fighting is by moving around in the ring with a partner who throws many light tapping shots on your elbows.
This tip is more beneficial for the beginners because they practice with the heavy bags and become panic easily when they face a live opponent in the ring. Try to get used to deep and slow nose breathing as often as possible because nose breathing carries the oxygen deep inside the body and relaxes the body completely. Practice nose breathing throughout the day not only while practicing, but you can also do it at home, in office, at school and in the morning runs.
Fast Breathing Practice
You can easily practice fast breathing by doing rapid combination movements. To practice this, you can throw combinations on the heavy bag or use shadowboxing for quick bursts of movements. Take a quick breath for each quick movement. The aim of this exercise is to get used to fast breathing by exhaling just adequate air for every effective movement.
When you are exhaling quickly, it is quite easy to run out of air. If you keep getting tired, this means you are doing it wrong and using the improper technique. You can easily get tired if you breathe faster and more powerfully.
The purpose of breathing techniques for fighting is to make you aware of your breathing process. When you understand the breathing process, you can use it efficiently to perform your best. Breathing gives energy to all of your movements during a fight. Deep movements need deep breaths and slow movements need slow breaths.
Similarly, bursting and fast type of movements need fast burst breaths. With the character of your movements, the character of the breath must also change. To learn how to breathe during a fight, you must learn how to breathe in different ways.