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Why Breath Matters in Combat Arts

Breathing is required for life, but breathing also gives many other benefits to the body and mind. Breathing cleanses and fully oxygenates the body, clarifying mind and emotions, and producing more energy for training. The martial artist who previously thought little about breathing and using breath techniques who suddenly incorporates them into training will notice a significant difference. 

Unconscious breathing is the norm. Learning to breathe consciously and purposely will trigger a cascade of positive changes, typically including more energy, power, endurance, and speed.

A good example of a martial artist using breath and meditation to improve speed, power, and technique was Bruce Lee, a big proponent of meditation and conscious use of the breath/mind. [1]

Learning how to breathe consciously can be easily accomplished by incorporating breathing exercises into weekly training sessions, and meditation sessions often as possible. Often humans basically live in an unaware state, with thoughts and behavior automatic and unconscious. 

Most people notice very little except the basics such as hunger and thirst, tiredness, pain, fear and desire. Often even joy and excitement are rare.

The body is designed to feel many different sensations and emotions all the time. 

The natural reality of the body includes feeling good, energetic, and full of energy as an attainable state of being. Breath work and meditation are important tools for getting there.

Breath cleanses the body and lungs

Breathing fulfills many necessary requirements within the body such as internal cleansing, improving oxygen delivery to vital organs, muscles, etc., which helps with performance, increasing endurance, and re-energizing the system. 

Breathing in delivers fresh oxygen, nutrients, and energy to the body and blood, while breathing out removes toxic carbon dioxide, along with other toxins and poisons that are taken in or produced through daily living.

It is a fact just beginning to come to light that oxygen has healing abilities, which is why it’s given to fighters after a tough round since it accelerates recovery time after a strenuous athletic event. 

Deep, purposeful breathing, along with other breath exercises such as diaphragmatic breathing, introduce great amounts of oxygen into the body, producing more benefits than simply breathing into the top of the lungs. 

Once different types of breath work are mastered, the martial artist will consistently draw breath into all five lobes of the lungs, including the bottom, clearing out deeply rooted toxins and expanding lung capacity. (Link)3

Effects of Breathing in Combat Arts

Breathing and meditation form a vital part of martial arts training. Breath control is a very powerful tool for the martial artist.

The use of breathing and breath control has a long history in the traditional arts, going back thousands of years, and ultimately, beginning with the ancestor of all internal martial arts which is Gigong. 

Essentially, and meridian expertise. In an interview, Grand Master Xi-Hua Xu had this to say about meridians, healing, Qigong, and the extraordinary abilities advanced training can give to masters. 

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