Kung Fu and breathing

In Kung Fu, there are various types of breathing and the execution of any kind of technique or movement must be subject to it.

Note – This article has been asked by one of our Core Course practitioners on Patreon (see how to attend our home study classes here Learn Kung Fu online: a beginner-to-expert course).

Although it may appear absurd, the secret of some of the most incredible skills of the greatest martial arts masters are purely based on:

  • A wide control of breathing
  • A constant development of the lungs’ capacity

A note by Master Kongling – As you have probably started to understand, 6 Dragons Kung Fu insists on the education of a correct combat instinct (to unleash on the basis of a logical / weighted motivation): even breathing does not escape from this conception, it can indeed take place either through our conscious control or instinctively.

Breathing and movement

Breathing is the key to fully unlock the power of many fundamental skills (like the muscle chain, read Use the body power: the muscle chain) but for now, if you are a total beginner, this is out of your reach.

In this phase, the first thing you need to understand are these 2 fundamental concepts:

  • Air in – An inhalation (Yin) must correspond to a closing / charging / concentration movement (eg. the loading of a punch)
  • Air out – An exhalation (Yang) must correspond to an opening / impulse / distension movement (eg. the throwing of a punch)

Very easy, very intuitive.

How does it work

It is simply a question of coordinating the beginning and the end of your movements in sync with the compressions / expansions of your lungs:

  • When the movement begins, the breath begins
  • When the movement ends, the breath also ends

A note by Master Kongling – Everything must take place within a perfect harmonic nuance. Of course, it is not a forcibly flat trend, the (martial) artist always puts the accent where it is needed: accelerating or intensifying the air flux according to the needs he has (but we will talk about this much later).

The Qi Gong (which we will discuss in more detail in the next chapters) basically focuses on this, on teaching you this specific connection.

Do your experiments

If you do some experiment, even only opening and closing laterally your arms, you will notice how much difference there is in following this method and doing the opposite (but do not worry, during this chapter we will see some exercises to get used your respiratory system to act in the most appropriate way naturally).


  • We do not hide you that there are cases in which the rules described are contradicted but at the moment, this does not concern us
  • Mastering your breathing is not easy, you will need a lot of practice (active and passive), this is the reason why I introduced this theme right away

A note by Master Kongling – When you will become an advanced / expert level practitioner, you will have the feeling that it is directly your breathing that is moving your limbs. A fantastic sensation.

Never hold your breath

The real difficulty lies in bringing the concepts of breathing into the practice, always applying them in a natural way (in combat, training, sports, everyday life, etc.).

A good combat energies economy passes also (especially) through the way we breathe.

Most beginners concatenate endless and exhausting apnea sequences, consuming 10 times faster their resources:

  • During the attack sequences
  • During the defensive phases
  • During the application of the techniques
  • During the maximal efforts
  • Even simply moving

This is completely normal and takes place in the most disparate ways:

  • Without even realizing it (wrong attitude)
  • Through emotional variations (fear, insecurity, etc.)
  • Due to an improper method of concentration

A note by Master Kongling – When I say that our Kung Fu is available to everyone but it is not for everyone, I exactly refer to this kind of topics, which, although not excessively complicated, require an effort that not everyone is willing to do: work on yourself. In this course, it must be clear that we do not aim in any way to entertain or to provide quick tricks. Here (in relation to 6 Dragons Kung Fu), we aim for the highest possible level and to reach it you need to follow a specific path.

In this lesson, we have seen what does it means to connect breath and movement: in the next, we will see specifically the various types of breathing of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

In-depth articles

<< Lesson 4.1IndexLesson 4.3 >>

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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