Training in martial arts, on this case karate, disciplines the body and mind to react otherwise than nature intended. During a self-defense encounter, the body’s natural tendency is the fight-or-flight syndrome. An adrenaline rush causes the body to extend respiration to produce the muscles with additional oxygen for flight. The upside of additional oxygen within the blood is increased strength and speed for a brief time frame to flee.

The downside of increased oxygen levels is seen if a fight ensues. An excessive amount of oxygen within the blood could make one light-headed or possibly faint. Learning and maintaining control of respiration enhances all martial arts skill levels. Training in deep respiration techniques creates the power to regulate inhalation and exhalation, making it easier to keep up proper respiration during a self-defense situation. Proper respiration exercises teach control of the abdominal area, and strengthen the diaphragm.

Ibuki Respiration

  • Get up straight with the feet shoulder width apart, and the arms hanging relaxed at the perimeters.
  • Take a deep breath in through the nose, raise the arms up and across the chest to shoulder level, keeping the hands open.
  • Cross the arms, clench the fists, and tighten the whole body. Set the breath within the lower abdomen for a moment. Tense the abdominal muscles.
  • Form the hands into fists and slowly bring the arms right down to the perimeters.
  • Repeat the exercise two more times.

Ibuki respiration stresses exhaling through the mouth, not the nose, with force while creating tension within the abdominal muscles. When it seems as if all of the air is out of the lungs, tighten the abdominal muscles much more and force more air out. Ibuki respiration is used to revive respiration after strenuous exercise. It’s also used to revive respiration after receiving a strike to the abdomen or diaphragm. As all the time, seek the advice of a physician before starting any physical conditioning, martial art, or self-defense training.

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