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WELSH ACADEMY OF MARTIAL ARTS - BARRY YMCA
BREATHING TECHNIQUES
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RHYDIAN TOLCHER JAMES
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TRAINING AND GRADING SYLLABUS
HALL OF FAME
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LYNNE WITH DAVID MITCHELL author of the "Young Martial Arts Enthusiast"
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CAN MARTIAL ARTS IMPROVE YOUR AWARENESS
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Breathing techniques
 
There are those instructors who will try to convince people that there is only one correct way to breathe for each particular movement or technique. There are others who will tell you to simply breathe naturally all the time. My view lies somewhere in the middle.
 
Inhaling
 
This portion of the breathing cycle provides a lighter feeling when timed with the execution of a technique. When the lungs are filled with more air, the density of the body is lowered. Also, lightness may result from the muscles of the torso being stretched and thus more difficult to tighten. Try breathing in while relaxing the muscles of the torso (especially the chest) and compare this to breathing in while tightening these muscles. Relaxation of these muscles should better facilitate the inhalation.

Exhaling
 
Timing the execution of a technique with this part of the breathing cycle gives a heavier feeling. As the lungs force out the air, the overall density of the body is raised. With the muscles of the torso less stretched, they can more easily be tightened. Timing the tension of other muscles of the upper body with the tension of the muscles involved in the exhalation process is probably more natural than as with inhaling.

Holding
 
Depending on the condition of the body/lungs at the time the breath is held, this could provide for a lighter or heavier feeling. As noted above, however, the timing of the tension of the torso muscles can influence the ability for other muscle groups to coordinate their tensions. Thus, not only is the condition of the lungs important, but the timing of the change of air flow as well.
 
Combining breathing types
 
Try performing a block/counter combination, such as Outside Knee Block/Front Kick, using the following breathing patters:

Inhale/exhale
Inhale/inhale
Inhale/hold
Continuous inhale
Repeat; beginning each combination with an exhalation, then using combinations with holding. How do these breathing patterns change the feeling of your technique, if at all, when you use different patters

Experiment with incomplete breaths. For example, the inhale/inhale combination must either include an exhale in between the inhales or consist of two smaller inhales with a slight pause in between. Please note that this type of practice can lead to hyperventilation if done to excess.

It should be noted that there really is no one correct way to breathe when performing a given technique. There are sometimes ways that are better for certain situations. But you can never really be wrong, unless you hold your breath and keep holding

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