Breathing is a fundamental part of the struggle and often marks the difference between winners and losers; every movement that we perform (attacks, displacements, defenses, etc.) should be assigned and synchronized with the correct phase of inhalation and exhalation.
Although it may sound simple, one breath can have a myriad of variants: it can be long or short, regular or irregular, controlled or uncontrolled, deep or shallow, abdominal or chest, in increment or in decrement, fast or slow, loud or silent ( etc.).
For each type of breath corresponds an effect on our body and, consequentially, on a combat situation. In 6DKF we use breathing for a variety of purposes, in terms of fighting for example for:
- Release energy / power against opponents
- Decrease damages
- Give a timing to our body to connect the muscle chain
- Give / maintain / change (abruptly) our pace of struggle
- Cool the body
- Save energy
- Quickly altering our state of mind (at our will)
In a word, to manage our Qi.
The applications are many, but before start talking about Qi and see them one by one we have to impose to our respiratory system some preparatory mechanicals. Here are the first 3 steps to start taking control over our breathing:
- 1) First we need to train ourselves to inhale and exhale at the same time with the nose and mouth (naturally and effortlessly, slowly and fast as our wish)
- 2) Second, we must learn to synchronize our breathing with the movements of opening / closing that our body performs (eg. we inhale while loading a fists, we exhale hurling it)
- 3) The third phase also involves being able to synchronize the speed of our movements with a controlled breathing; once we acquired a certain familiarity we will be able to do the opposite (to impose the rhythm of breathing to our movements)
These are the basics. In order to achieve an effective fighting breathing is important to look in detail (during each training session) inhalation and exhalation; in any case we do not have to perform movements in apnea or worse uncoordinated, we take these three ideas as key points of our training.
In the next article of this discussion we will deepen the bond between release of power, Qi and respiration.
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.