How to breathe when I get punched

How to face a punch in the abdomen

The first thing to say is that breathing is one of the most important tasks in the economy of any kind of fight:

  • While moving
  • While attacking
  • While defending

It helps us to:

  • Increase power
  • Cool our body
  • Manage timing
  • Limit the damages
  • Economize the energies

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For example, inhale while being hit in the solar plexus can be extremely painful and dangerous, it could literally put us out.

How to breathe when we receive a punch

We have simply to follow what occurs naturally. breathe out, accompanying the movement:

  • The more we are fast and able to connect with the blow, the better it is
  • The more our body bends and moves accompanying the blow, the better it is (liquid structure, read The 6DKF’s Liquid and Fluid Contacts)
  • The more our body deviates the blow from its ideal target (eg. rotating), the better it is
  • The more we avoid to be reached in weak points, the better it is
  • The bigger is our lung capacity, the better it is

What does it mean to connect the blow with breathing?

In reality, a perfect synchronization would decrease the potential effectiveness of the accompaniment.

What we have to do is:

  • To use the air as a cushion
  • To start to follow the movement with a small delay
  • To create a passive resistance to the energy we receive

It is not the superficial blows that must frighten us but those that go deep, those that can cause serious damage (eg. something that forces us to stop fighting).

To protect the internal body elements we have to “sacrifice” the superficial ones and use then the resistance of the air as a shield (or better as a car’s airbag).

How to learn to breathe in sync with the blows we receive

The theory is relatively simple but the actual application, in a fraction of a second, not.

The blows arrive at high speed, we will never be able to breathe correctly if we do not force this in our body memory (read also The muscle memory).

A note by Master Kongling – During my career, you cannot imagine how many times I have seen people breathe out after having received the full amount of power of the blow. It is not simple at all, especially outside a controlled context and against a skilled fighter.

The only way to let this mechanism work properly is to convert it in a completely instinctive second nature and to reach this goal, exercising is really fundamental.

To learn to absorb shots, we have to:

  1. Learn to breathe correctly (read Correct breathing)
  2. Learn to consciously use the diaphragmatic breathing (read Diaphragmatic breathing)
  3. Learn to use the warrior’s breathing (read Breathe Yoga: the warrior’s breathing)
  4. Learn to sync all the actions we do with our breathing (read /// Subscribe (it's free!) or Login to see this content ///)
  5. Practice sparring focused on breathing (read Sparring type 1: slow motion fighting)

This will condition our body to limit the damages and will give us the instinctive timing to breathe out.

Final notes

A few conclusive tips and thoughts:

  • Naturally, this is not the only way to face a blow (nor the better in all the occasions)
  • It must be said that it is not always possible to use air as a shield (eg. when we are attacked during the wrong phase of breathing, read also The 6DKF’s combat breathing)
  • This is an effective technique but, like many others, it is not the answer to all the possible questions
  • We will see different ways to face a striking technique but always remembering that each method has specific prerequisites (conditioning, etc.)

In the next article of this series, we will deepen the topic.

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Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • Are you able to use the air as a shield?

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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