Importance of Breathing in the Martial Arts
Proper breathing and breath control are very important in Taekwondo. There is a direct connection between breathing and technique. Breathing is an integral component of the technique, not separate from it. Correct breathing increases power and coordinates body movements. Proper, controlled breathing is the way synchronize intention and body movements.
After inhaling, the body can be thought of as full of potential for power and movement. Powerful or fast movements are best done in conjunction with an exhalation done in the same manner as the technique, quick and powerful. For a longer exertion, such as lifting a person, a longer, forceful exhalation is used.
After exhaling, the body can be thought of as empty of air and potential for power. Since this a point of weakness, particular attention should be paid to proper breathing during sparring, both offensively and defensively. Trying to either defend or attack from a situation of being empty of air momentarily is likely to be ineffective. Offensively, watch for your opponent's "empty" spots and attack just as he/she finishes exhaling.
The kiai (yell) is used during the execution of Taekwondo techniques to control the breath and focus total concentration and power. See the kiai topic for more information on the kiai.
Holding the breath tenses the body since it is under stress. One should never hold the breath while performing a physical task, Inhaling pulls "ki" into the body, increasing its kinetic energy, while exhaling uses this stored energy. Inhaling relaxes the body, while exhaling tenses it. Inhaling hampers movement and power, while exhaling assists movement and maximizes power. In combat, we are most vulnerable during inhalation, and critically vulnerable if accompanied by dysfunctional breathing patterns. Deep breathing calms and increases mental alertness, reduces blood pressure, slows respiration, and slows heart rate.
- Next >>