I’m on a roll today 😉
In catching up on things, I dropped by Jon’s excellent and had to fire across a trackback for his recent post on the importance of correct breathing. I remember when I first started training in karate a number of years ago that I always wondered why the higher grades sounded funny when doing a number of the techniques, particularly during kata. Over time, I learned of the importance of correct breathing in my training, though at first it was mainly to do with being able to keep up with the class without running out of breath during standing punch/block/kicking drills 😉 I found that if I alternated my breathing in/out with my techniques, I was able to make it further without running out of breath. In a way, it was kind of like when I used to train as a swimmer when I was a kid, particularly when doing freestyle – you alternated your breathing with your strokes for maximum efficiency and speed. Mind, I don’t think I would have ever used terms like “maximum efficiency” at the age of 9 or 10 when I used to do a lot of swimming, but the principle remains… though given I was probably just being pragmatic and vain, I worked out that I had a better chance of beating the other kids and was less likely to swallow a mouht full of chlorinated water if I regulated my breathing 🙂
Anywho, breathing continued to become an all-inclusive element of training as time has gone on – it is used to regulate the flow of your technique, increases the speed, efficiency and impact of all your movements, and is essential to learn when sparring in order to minimise the effects of getting winded by blows to the torso. The other week my breathing wasn’t flowing as well as it should be, and sensei commented that I should be focusing on regulating my breathing during my kata as I looked like I was about to explode 😛
There are many things I’ve learned from my karate training with respect to the way my body works – it has taught me how to walk again, it has taught me the importance of core strength, I’ve been able to put my (very limited!) breakfall training into effect, and as noted above, the importance of breathing.
I think there’s probably more I can talk about with regards to breathing and how it is also beneficial to activities outside martial arts training, but I might leave that for a future post. In the interim, please check out Jon’s post on the topic (linked above), it’s an excellent summary on how you should be breathing during training or any type of exercise.