Lesson 3 – The different breathing types
So many ways to breathe
- Breathing is an advanced topic, not all the categories we will list in this lesson are good for beginners
- Be careful, the incorrect use of breathing techniques can cause dizziness, loss of energies, a bad athletic development, etc.
- Breathing is a vast subject that we will discuss again later in this Kung Fu guide
The principal categories of breathing in 6 Dragons Kung Fu
Those that we are going to list are not exercises or techniques, these are only (the most important) categories of breathing that 6 Dragons Kung Fu implements:
- Normal Breathing – It is an optimized version of normal breathing, it can be used in everyday life, to free our lungs from stale air, to have better performances in effortless activities (working, studying, etc.) and to correctly oxygenate our body
- Speed Breathing – Perfect in combat situations, its goal is to regulate / suddenly change our fighting pace (increasing / decreasing our combat speed, rhythm, etc.); it’s hard to be used constantly but not impossible, it requires a lot of preparation (the risk of hyperventilation and / or excessive energy consumption is high if not done / trained correctly); Speed Breathing can also be used to recover lucidity after excessive relaxation, fatigue, etc.
- Economic Breathing – In connection with Speed Breathing exchanges is the best method to manage your energies and to be unpredictable during a fight (eg. in relation to complexity, duration, difficulty of the scenario)
- Rhythmic Breathing – It is ideal for long-term activities that require endurance; it gives our body a controlled rule to be forced upon (during its development) and to be appealed (during a proof of resistance like a long distance runs, a long struggle, etc.)
- Performance Breathing – To be used only in “special moments” to release the maximum attacking power (for a breaking, a powerful shot, etc.) or defensively to protect our body from big damages; it cannot be used constantly, it is intense and deep, it requires a relatively long time to load
- Recovering Breathing – Its scope is to recover the energies after an effort through a guided path, in a controlled way (after a Performance Breathing, at the end of an exercise, etc.); this breathing also serves to teach our respiratory system to never give up to heavy breathing
- Relaxation Breathing – The application of this kind of breathing is meditation, relaxation, advanced body control (read Advanced body control) and especially to gain a high level of flexibility; it is long, profound, extremely slow and accurate (it is also very useful to control our states of mind, to eliminate physical and mental stress / tensions, to sleep better, etc.)
- Training Breathing – It is a set of training exercises to expand our lungs capacity, apnea time, to calibrate muscle chain, etc.
- Stealth Breathing – It is an ensemble of techniques to hide our breathing in dangerous situations (eg. hiding from an aggressor, etc.), to gain concentration on the environment (catch details, etc.), to breathe in unfavorable situations, etc.
- Healthy Breathing – It consists in a small bundle of respiration techniques good to solve / alleviate body problems, for example, to free stuffy nose (read How to free stuffy nose), to help normal body functionality (digestion, defecation, etc.), to refresh our body during a hot day, etc.
What distinguishes one breathing from the other
Before going into the details of breathing exercises and techniques, it is important that you get an idea of what are the most important elements on which you will have to focus your attention.
Let’s see therefore some of the crucial discriminants that differentiate the various kinds of breathing:
- Use of mouth and / or nose (only with the nose, simultaneously, etc.)
- Duration of inhalation / exhalation (long, short, etc.)
- Difference in the duration of inhalation / exhalation (same duration, longer inhalation, etc.)
- The speed of inhalation / exhalation (fast, extremely slow, etc.)
- Duration of pauses (apnea, sequences of 3, etc.)
- Muscles contraction (general relaxation, diaphragm pressure down, etc.)
- Absorbed air storage direction / concentration (only abdominal area, both abdominal both chest area, etc.)
- Body disposition in the space (in combat movement, cross-legged on the ground, etc.)
- Total duration and number of repetitions (one time, an hour, etc.)
- The situation of execution (during a fight, to recover after an effort, etc.)
- The focus of our Qi (read The use of Qi in the 6DKF’s meaning) in our body (in a damaged area, in the lower dan tien, etc.)
One of the few aspects that all these types of 6DKF’s breathing have in common is the fact of never letting the respiration system to lose control, to reach that kind of fatigue that (for an instant or more) makes us unable to complete our tasks.
In the next article, we will see how to perform thoracic and diaphragmatic breathing.
- Physical conditioning: how it works – Some examples of 6 Dragons Kung Fu’s conditioning.
- Invisibility: how to hide heavy breathing – An example of Stealth Breathing techniques to help you to hide your presence.
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.