Karate Breathing

Correct breathing seems to be a factor in all martial arts. If we get this wrong we compromise everything. Breathing is almost as fundamental for martial arts as it is for life. No breath, no life.


Exercise spends energy. The only ways to make more energy is by eating or breathing. Exercise will give us an energising effect by improving circulation; it utilizes the energy already in us. And in the long term the cumulative effects of exercise will allow us to have more energy at our disposal. But correct breathing and eating are essential for energy.


Our lungs are fairly large.  Many people get into the habit of using less than half of their lung capacity. Our lungs can be divided into 5 lobes, most people having three on the right. If we get into the habit of only using the lobes at the top of the left and right of our lungs we are only operating at part capacity. Over time it becomes harder to change breathing habits; older people may show atrophy in their lower lungs.


Karate Breathing Exercises

  • Find an area that does not have any pollutants in the air.
  • Find a comfortable position, lying down or sitting in a chair. Standing is ok if you have no other option.
  • Place your hands below your navel, so you can feel your abdomen move.
  • Breathe in slowly through your nose, and hold the breath. Fill your lungs up completely.
  • You should feel your abdomen expand as you breathe, not just your chest.
  • Breathe out through the mouth, taking 50% longer to breathe out that it took to breathe in.
  • Some people advise a 1-4-2 rule for this breathing – Note how long it takes to inhale; hold your breath 4 times as long as this. Then take twice as long for the exhale as it took for the inhale.
  • Try to do this three time a day.


As you learn some karate moves you will learn to exhale at the right time in order to optimize your strength.


A few Myths

Martial Arts supposedly developed at a Shaolin Monastery in about 477 AD.

There apparently was such a monastery, but martial arts in one form or another have existed as long as there has been warfare, and warfare has been here since the beginning of civilization. The Chinese has a legend about their martial arts being developed by the Golden Emperor dating back to 2000 BC. This origin is probably mythical, but the practice already existed. Martial arts predate 477 AD by many centuries.


Military Martial Arts are the Real Thing

This is probably were martial art developed, and the original techniques were appropriate for the time. But today’s military no longer has many armoured opponents on horseback, something encountered even less in civilian life. The military is about defeating the opponent quickly, about organized strategies involving many troops, and is very far removed from sporting events or a street fight.


The origin of anything is not the final word on the subject, and certainly not the latest version. Modern martial arts are for sport, personal development and self-defence. It is not measured against anything except itself.


There is a Technique that works in any situation, to knock out the attacker with a touch.

Just not true, a Hollywood myth. The element of surprise is a good tactic and can be applied to many situations, but this is a generic idea. And if we are learning about self-defence it will really tend to be the attacker who is using the element of surprise. There is no one move that works anywhere. Being prepared is about the only good advice.


Black Belt is the goal, the highest Rank.

Not really true at all. Black belt is the level where things start to get serious. There is a lot to master and many other levels above this. Many people want to achieve a black belt because it sounds like they have mastered the whole art. This is about the same as a car driver graduating past the ‘P’ plates.


Martial Arts Sydney

Learn some martial arts for the sake of developing yourself. It’s not about setting yourself above others, but learning that you don’t need to. Embrace the paradox where you increase your abilities but are more modest about your achievements. Be better for approaching your potential.