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Old 04-26-2009, 09:00 AM   #1
BAP
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Breathing in Aikido

I am wondering what is the best type training relating to breathing which should be practiced related to aikido. I have been reading some information regarding systema and some other arts which all put a high emphasis on proper breathing technique. I know myself I do have a tendency to begin holding my breath while practicing technique and thus building tension. As with most aspects of training I am sure it is just one of those areas you have to notice you have a deficiency in and then begin to try and take some actions to remedy it. I am interested in how others have addressed this issue in their training and any insights that you might want to share.

Blair Presson
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Old 04-26-2009, 12:15 PM   #2
SeiserL
 
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Re: Breathing in Aikido

Initially I learned to breathe in as I entered and blended and breathe out as I execute the technique.

Later, it just seems to be the natural ways to breathe and move.

Find the middle way. Don't hyperventilate and don't hold your breathe. Both fear based breathing patterns common to learning something new and trying too hard.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 04-26-2009, 06:30 PM   #3
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Re: Breathing in Aikido

EXHALE, exhale, exhale.
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Old 04-26-2009, 06:46 PM   #4
dps
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Re: Breathing in Aikido

Inhale first then;

Quote:
Ricky Wood wrote: View Post
EXHALE, exhale, exhale.
David
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Old 04-26-2009, 07:40 PM   #5
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Re: Breathing in Aikido

What is the relationship between the visualization component (aiki-) of the entry and maintaining proper degree of relaxation in the physical performance (-do) of the particular technique? Does the need for proper breathing (thus proper relaxation) come into play upon the initial physical connection or contact or more in the completion of the technique? I remember someone describing the proper progression of technique being see (visualize), breath, and move.

Blair Presson
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Old 04-26-2009, 10:14 PM   #6
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Re: Breathing in Aikido

Shallow breathing, primarily exhaling, isn't a good thing. Worse if you do it fast. Hyperventiling isn't a good thing. And if there is an up there is a down so it goes, hypoventiling isn't good either. I think finding the right balance of inhale and exhale while practicing is in important.

The rate of which you breath depends on how much you exert yourself. If you are doing randori you are going to have to maintain a proper breathing pattern so you get the right amount of air, you don't want to be sucking air, or depriving yourself of air by not getting enough i.e. breathing too shallow, and or fast.

I remember an old movie I seen, I think it was in the thirties the other night, there was a nun telling an excited person how to breath properly, and why it is important to do so. It was a pattern of deep inhales and exhales to calm down and relax the person. I guess we do tell people to do that anymore much. It works.

You have to have the right balance and rhythm and O'Sensei talks about it in his book "Budo Training in Aikido." I also like Shioda Gozo explanation as well it is very practicable and applicable.

All and all modern sports and modern sports medicine has researched in depth all about breathing. I would say look to that to find your optimal performance level. Aikido like other martial arts are arachic in this sense. They use arachic language and concepts to explain or instruct on a process that is so much more better understood by modern science, and modern sports. Martial arts, like Aikido, or bushido as O'Sensei often refers to in his book presents a simple concept in a very coded and complicated (via translation, lack of specific terms and language of such things, etc.) language. What I mean is for an example, if you are out of breath, your weak, you have lost all your power. Think about that during a life or death fight in feudal Japan. But we see in sports (includes MMA), and have you ever did a foot a race and during the race started sucking air, if you have you know what I mean. Improper breathing, it is a big disadvantage.

I don't believe in the mystical, magical, romanized, packaging of the role breathing has- aside from O'Sensei who I think was using such language to code how to breath as he seen it. In contrast to how I am implying it as used as a marketing tool or simply out of martial arts vogue. If your not breathing properly, out of breath, shallow, fast, too not exhaling or inhaling fast enough and out of sync with what your doing and what your body needs are then your going to lose energy, your body isn't going to like it and, you will be at a huge disadvantage. You are in deep [oops] stuff if that happens when your life depends upon it.

JMO.
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:10 AM   #7
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Re: Breathing in Aikido

I'm always at a lost on how to breath actually. I find myself holding my breath on a lot of things. Like testing...you shouldn't feel winded before your first technique!! 0_0
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Old 04-27-2009, 02:50 PM   #8
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Re: Breathing in Aikido

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Inhale first then;

David
This is very wrong
Actually: inhale -> exhale, inhale -> exhale, inhale -> exhale... etc.

Aikidoka that stops breathing becomes blue, and the he dies.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:58 PM   #9
dps
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Re: Breathing in Aikido

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
This is very wrong
Actually: inhale -> exhale, inhale -> exhale, inhale -> exhale... etc.

Aikidoka that stops breathing becomes blue, and the he dies.
Do you mean like this blue guy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJTUMlU5nxM

David
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Old 04-28-2009, 02:54 PM   #10
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Re: Breathing in Aikido

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
I'm always at a lost on how to breath actually. I find myself holding my breath on a lot of things. Like testing...you shouldn't feel winded before your first technique!! 0_0
Waterfall meditation is something heard allot about, I wouldn't doubt that "The Cat" Gogen Yamaguchi was the one who brought it to the attention of western karateka's. I have never done it. I watch one of those food channels where the host, and I forgot his name, he is the one who travels around the world and is a writer and food critic. He is really tall and thin, likes to smokes(ed), likes to drink allot did the waterfall meditation. He liked it. It is something about cold water falling on your head standing in your underwear that is so zen.

I thought I would give it a try once. I couldn't find a waterfall. I had to compromise. One winter's day, I heard about a group called the polar bears where these old guys cut a huge hole in the lake ice and jump into the cold water. I am sure, I don't have to tell you what color the body parts that differentiate us males from the females. But these old guys swear by it. Ok, make the drive, and I get up to the lake and see a bunch of old wrinklely men in speedos. I can't tell you how disturbing that is to see, and embarrassing since I didn't have a speedo.

No, I didn't go nude, I just had standard swim trunks that cover everything. I jump in after allot debate and when I got out allot of self-therapy. And the water was crazy cold, and in the mist of hyperventilation due to the cold water shock, I learned something.I figured something out from the experience, besides understanding the zen purpose of it all. And the relationship it might have had to waterfall meditation. What I learned was to control my breathing, and how to breath. Something, I applied to my Aikido.

How this relates to holding your breath in Aikido is when we want to exert force we will often and naturally hold our breath. For some reason we feel this will give us extra strenght. Say we need to push a heavy object across a floor. We will take a deep breath and hold and push. I don't think this is a bad thing, because possibly the body is using as much of the oxygen as possible, and once that is done we exhale. Now I have read some of the air sacs in the lungs will burst, blood vessals burst, and other such things happen when you hold your breath, and it is harmful. But, the point here is if you holding your breath you are trying to force the technique. Breathing from the oxygen can be taught through the shock of the cold water experience. Proper method under stress happens once you naturally and usually subconsciously try to control that hyperventilation due to the shock of the cold water.

Last edited by Buck : 04-28-2009 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 04-28-2009, 03:33 PM   #11
Charles Hill
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Re: Breathing in Aikido

Hi Blair,

I train in Systema and highly recommend the book/dvd Let Every Breath.. The main point is to keep all the breathing principles at all times, especially to continually breathe. This is going to be too difficult during the stress of training, so it is more useful to begin to integrate them in your daily life. As I was told, when you go to pick up a pencil, make sure you do it with correct breathing. If you find yourself having picked up a pencil without correct breathing, put it down and do it again with correct breathing.

Charles
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Old 04-28-2009, 06:14 PM   #12
Buck
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Re: Breathing in Aikido

I don't know what happened, but that post is missing info. Here is what it should read:

Waterfall meditation is something heard allot about in the martial arts, I wouldn't doubt that it was "The Cat" Gogen Yamaguchi who was the one who brought it to the attention of western karate circles. He was really into doing the waterfall meditation thing, it must of had a real importance to him as a karateka. As impressed with his dedication, I have never done the waterfall meditation thing. I was curious to try it and hope to learn something from the experience.

I watched one of those food channels shows where the host, and I forgot his name, he is the one who travels around the world eating food and is a writer and food critic. He is really tall and thin, likes to smokes(ed), likes to drink allot did the waterfall meditation. He liked it, the waterfall meditation when he was in Japan. He really liked it. I guess the appeal is, it is something about cold water falling on your head standing in your underwear that is so zen.

With that in mind, I thought I would give it a try, but just once. The problem was, I couldn't find a waterfall. I had to compromise. One winter's day, I heard about a group called the polar bears where these old guys cut a huge hole in the lake ice and jump into the cold water. I am sure, I don't have to tell you what color the body parts turn in that cold of water, ya' know the parts that differentiate us males from the females. But these old guys swear by it, having all this stuff about vitality and health. Ok, it's not a waterfall, but it was cold water. Even though it isn't exactly the same thing, I would make the drive. When I get up to the lake, I see a bunch of old wrinklely men in speedos. I can't tell you how disturbing that is to see, and embarrassing since I didn't have a speedo.

No, I didn't go in nude, I just had a standard swim trunks that cover everything. When it was time, I jump in. But only after allot debate why it was important to freeze valued body parts and and when I did get out of the water, why I would need allot of self-therapy. And I got to tell you, the water was crazy cold, and in the mist of hyperventilation due to the cold water shock I experienced once in the water, I learned something. I figured something out from the experience, besides understanding the zen purpose of it all. And I learned something about the relationship it might have had to waterfall meditation. What I learned was to control my breathing, and how to breath. Something, I applied to my Aikido.

How this relates to holding your breath in Aikido? Well, it relates to when we want to exert force we will often and naturally hold our breath while exerting that force. For some reason, we feel this will give us extra strength when we exert the force. Say, for instance, we need to push a heavy object across a floor. We will take a deep breath and hold it in and then push. I don't think this is a bad thing, because possibly the body is using as much of the oxygen in the lungs as possible, and once that is done we exhale. Now I have read some of the air sacs in the lungs will burst, blood vessels burst, and other such things happen when you hold your breath too long and too much when pushing a heavy object or lifting weights, and it is harmful. But, the point here is if you are holding your breath then you are trying to force the technique.

The immediate shock of experiencing cold water causes rapid shallow breathing that is not from the diaphragm. This isn't ideal. And jumping into water rather then having it fall on you also causes you to hold your breath. Not the thing you want to do while training. Breathing from the diaphragm is correct breathing, and this is taught in many disciplines, a notable discipline being singing. The proper method to breath can be taught through the shock of the cold water mediation experience. Once experiencing the stress of being under cold water, you first breath rapidly to maintain body temp. Once this happens you naturally and usually subconsciously try to control that hyperventilation due to the shock of the cold water, by breathing deeper (from the diaphragm) and more evenly and consistently. The purpose of that is to get a steady and proper amount of oxygen, exhaling out the bad air out. This exchange is what keeps the body in gear, slowing the down the tiring and fatiguing.

I don't think inhaling or exhaling at point A) or point B) or here or there really makes any difference. I don't think breathing is a magical, mystical, thing that requires special instruction. I don't think it is the root of any special, magical, secret, or mystical exotic power that makes anyone into a superhuman with magical martial arts powers. You want to learn to breath while fighting and keep the body preforming optimally as possible, talk to a boxing coach. Then apply it to Aikido, so you don't hold your breath and so you can relax. I think relaxation plays a far greater role directly to the result of technique then some funky breathing method.

Last edited by akiy : 04-29-2009 at 10:02 AM. Reason: Fixed quoting
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Old 04-28-2009, 08:03 PM   #13
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Re: Breathing in Aikido

I think prescribed breathing methods can be and are distracting, especially if they are over the top. Such things are full of hot air. Proper breathing is a simple thing, a natural thing, and if we aren't doing it then we are dead. It isn't some kind of esoteric exercise.

(O'Sensei Tip) O'Sensei, used stylized and figurative language in his native tongue and of his time that including breathing. I don't think it was technical instruction and should not be taken literally. I think it had the basics of breathing in it, and it was to get you started on the Yellow Brick of Aikido. That is par for budo ways, to guide and not spoon feed at least during O'Sensei's life. And is it what he seemed to have done most of the time.
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Old 04-28-2009, 09:59 PM   #14
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Re: Breathing in Aikido

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Inhale first then;

David
Inhalation is automatic... exhalation should be the focus. I learned this before whitewater rafting in the Arkansas River in Colorado. We were taught to exhale if we fell out of the raft, for - like I said - inhalation is the natural response.

Drew
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Old 04-29-2009, 08:31 AM   #15
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Re: Breathing in Aikido

Charles,

I have purchased the systema book/dvd and it is helpful. From what I have read so far the emphasis appears to be on keeping a natural style of breathing rather than some particular methodology of breathing in any particular situation. Such as not always inhaling or exhaling in a particular circumstance or situation. Rather the importance is to be relaxed and not have tension built up in your activities, whether it is aikido or otherwise.

When I started to really try and become aware of my breathing patterns and tendencies, it was suprising how often I catch myself not breathing (just doing small every day things), I'm sure that naturally carries over to aikido or anything which I put a lot of concentration and attention into. The whole principle in the systema breathing seems to revolve around general awareness of your breathing. Even the fact that we may not breath in a given circumstance isn't itself bad, but rather it should be be based on a active decision not to breath rather than some natural or subconscious level because of the particular activity. The whole idea behind being conscious of and working actively to control the breathing is based on being relaxed, either maintaining proper oxygen level or in the case of not breathing being aware of that fact and that with experience (intentionally holding breath) that we can function in that situation as well without immediately creating tension physically and fear within ourselves.

Blair

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Old 04-29-2009, 09:49 AM   #16
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Re: Breathing in Aikido

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote: View Post
Hi Blair,

I train in Systema and highly recommend the book/dvd Let Every Breath.. The main point is to keep all the breathing principles at all times, especially to continually breathe. This is going to be too difficult during the stress of training, so it is more useful to begin to integrate them in your daily life. As I was told, when you go to pick up a pencil, make sure you do it with correct breathing. If you find yourself having picked up a pencil without correct breathing, put it down and do it again with correct breathing.

Charles
Onegaishimasu. I also have the Systema book and bought ten copies to hand out to students. Actually, kokyu ho is something that one can do anywhere. The simplest principles I have followed are the instructions by Taisen Deshimaru Roshi: Focus only on the exhalation, and keep the chin in. In gassho, Mark

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Old 04-29-2009, 03:18 PM   #17
Charles Hill
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Re: Breathing in Aikido

Hi Blair,

In systema practice there are a lot of very specific breathing patterns which you can practice to a wide variety of movements. The idea, as I understand it, is that we can breathe naturally and perfectly in response to a given situation but as part the process of growing up in today's society we lose that ability. Through specific breathing methodologies we can begin to regain this ability which we (may have?) had as a small child.

So I would say a qualified yes to your idea on awareness of breath, but understand that there is a very specific methodology. Perhaps it would be more correct to say that one monitors tension and when you discover unnecessary tension you can use specific breathing patterns to rid yourself of it. This is what Vlad teaches in the book/dvd and at seminars.

Hi Mark,

Yes, it is a great book. I also highly recommend it to anyone. There are very specific things to do and they are clearly explained. I guarantee that if anyone were to try them out for even a short period of time, the results will be very positive.

Charles
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Old 05-03-2009, 05:49 PM   #18
Ewan Wilson
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Re: Breathing in Aikido

breathe naturally. if you have a problem with your breathing, slow down, take an extra few seconds between getting up when ukeing. it's not rocket science. I used t suffer from extreme stres and taking your time to take a few very deep breaths works wonders.
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Old 05-04-2009, 05:47 AM   #19
dps
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Re: Breathing in Aikido

Quote:
Drew Gardner wrote: View Post
Inhalation is automatic...
So is inhalation

Quote:
Drew Gardner wrote: View Post
exhalation should be the focus.
Inhalation can be too.

Quote:
Drew Gardner wrote: View Post
inhalation is the natural response.

Drew
So is exhalation.

You need to control and focus both inhalation and exhalation.
David
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Old 05-04-2009, 06:12 AM   #20
dps
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Re: Breathing in Aikido

Quote:
Blair Presson wrote: View Post
I am wondering what is the best type training relating to breathing which should be practiced related to aikido. I have been reading some information regarding systema and some other arts which all put a high emphasis on proper breathing technique. I know myself I do have a tendency to begin holding my breath while practicing technique and thus building tension. As with most aspects of training I am sure it is just one of those areas you have to notice you have a deficiency in and then begin to try and take some actions to remedy it. I am interested in how others have addressed this issue in their training and any insights that you might want to share.
Practice controlled and focused breathing when you are not practicing Aikido. Controlled and focused breathing can bring about a calm mind. A calm mind then will bring about the breathing you have practiced when you practice Aikido.

David
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