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 Post subject: Another breathing thread
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:55 pm 
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This subject never seems to find an end. But that's OK I suppose. As long as we're properly mindful on the drawing board, we can be appropriately mindless on the battlefield.

This post comes at the end of the thread Tomoyose Ryuko Sanseiryu

hoshin wrote:
what i find interesting in this, that every martial style has its own "prescribed" method of breathing. everyone thinks they are right and everyone else is wrong. Goju-ryu as taught by Morio Higaonna has long inhalations in thru the nose and then a quick sharp exhale that sounds like a cat choking up a hair ball. i asked my Zen roshi ( who also does Tesshu Style calligraphy and koryu swordsmanship) about the uechi breathing VS the breathing he uses, his reply "no no this is not the right way, i do not understand it" In koryu swordsmanship you breath in thru the nose and out thru the mouth with the strike smooth but with force. in calligraphy you take a deep inhalation in thru the mouth with clenched teeth making a hissing sound then hold for 2 seconds then long extended exhalation as your brush writes on the paper. so my opinion is that as long as your breathing your alive. under stress if your not getting the oxygen needed, your body will let you know.

Just a few comments...

I probably learned more about martial breathing from my Goju Ryu instructor than I did from any other martial artist. The reason probably was because he was a mixed martial artist before MMA had a label, and he had been in special forces. So what he taught was what worked - for him.

There is a Goju Ryu Sanchin that has very particular breathing. But that Goju Sanchin is quite different from the Uechi Ryu Sanchin. Because of the modifications by Miyagi Chojun and his predecessors, the modern Goju Sanchin is done with dynamic tension. Meanwhile the Sanchin brought over from China by Uechi Kanbun is done with relaxed, fluid, fast thrusts and circles.

Apples and oranges.

When I warm up, I often use the principles of dynamic tension taught and executed in Goju Ryu Sanchin, but I'm doing non-martial movement. Breathing can and should match what you're doing with your body. If you're typing you don't engage in heavy breathing, or breathing that is in timing with the keystrokes. If you're lifting max weight, you're probably going to scream. Anything in-between those two extremes requires something in-between in the way of breathing.

Yes, O2 transport to tissue matters. But breathing is more than that. Breathing affects the viscoelastic properties of the core. And if you use your core with movement, breathing is going to be affected. That can be either passive or active.

My point of view, based on what works for me.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:06 am 
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Quote:
everyone thinks they are right and everyone else is wrong.


maybe its possible to be right without everyone else being wrong ? , its not right or wrong it's fit for purpose.

when it becomes dogma , right and wrong , you loose purpose

there is always better , and there's always something to learn .

the reason it keeps coming up is its dogma , more folks teach from rote than experience .

share an experience and people will change if its for the better , without the need for right or wrong . maybe I'm an idealist ....


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 1:39 pm 
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Just to be clear...

I'm not disparaging hoshin. I thought he brought up some interesting perspectives that were worthy of thoughtful commentary.

And thanks, Marcus.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 3:18 pm 
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Opinions vary...here are a couple:

1.
Quote:
Proper Breathing

What, then, is the best way to breathe when weight training or performing a power move in sports? Proper technique involves forced inhalation, holding your breath and forced exhalation.

Simply put, holding your breath creates a rigid chest. This pressure in the thoracic cavity provides added support for your spine. At the same time, you keep your lower spine rigid by contracting your abdominal muscles. The combined effect helps you transfer all the force from your legs to your arms, and in the process you can perform the movement safely.

When you use a partial Valsalva effect in this way, you increase your strength. Studies show that when you hold your breath during a lift or sports move, you exert a greater force. You produce less force when you exhale, and less still when inhaling.

This technique gives you an edge in activities that require a rapid and maximum application of force for a short duration. You want the beneficial effects of increased pressure and tension in the abdominal and chest cavities.


~~~

2.
Quote:
Internal Breathing
Internal breathing is like a tea kettle that is building up steam. As the pressure in the kettle increases, there will be a slow release of pressure though a small hole in the spout. There will always be near constant pressure within.

The lungs take on a similar function with internal breathing methods. There is a release of small bursts of air when delivering each strike.

With a rapid series of strikes, there will either be a release of several short bursts of air, or a release of a continuous stream of air out of the lungs. At the same time there will be air pressure maintained within the lungs, much like the tea kettle.

This turbo-charged type of breathing allows for incredible hand speed combinations that is unmatched by any other means.

The diaphragm and muscles in the body must tense properly to get the most benefit from internal breathing.

The best way to experience this is to exhale and form the mouth as to create a hiss. There should be muscle tension low in the diaphragm and abdomen.

This obtains maximum compression of the oxygen in the lungs and controls the amount of air that leaves the body.

There are other specialized internal breathing techniques that can produce phenomenal results.

World breaking champion Shawn Jewell is an advocate of breathing to develop internal energy. He emphasizes the importance of the diaphragm in the progression of motion that develops this awesome force.

Unlike most other breathing methods, this type of breathing requires precise timing within a sequence of events. As the nervous system fires muscles independently, these muscles contract in sequence to produce a wave of motion through the body.

The diaphragm must contract at the proper instant to continue this flow of motion. If there is a break in the sequence, a loss of energy will result.

These precision breathing methods are useful in many aspects of martial arts training, including grappling and joint manipulation techniques.

For general practice I find it helpful to focus more on the exhale and let the timing of the inhale come naturally.

You can hyperventilate if your breathing becomes too erratic. Breathing must flow with the motion with intermittent bursts of energy when needed.

Exhale when delivering a strike or kick, and train yourself to exhale and tighten the muscles when receiving a blow. This prevents the air from being knocked out of you and prepares your body to absorb the impact.

Proper breathing can improve balance and mobility as well. Inhaling while in motion creates buoyancy for greater foot speed, while exhaling when settling your body weight into a strike aids in better force and fusion upon impact to a target.

Fusion is the moment when the joints of the body lock in position as to allow the entire weight of the body to be behind the strike.


Take your pick.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:26 pm 
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Van

I wouldn't pick either "method". This is a classic example of two blind men touching the elephant, and describing what they feel. Both points are perfectly and independently valid.

More importantly, both get the concept of the torso as a viscoelastic tool in whole-body mechanics.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:04 am 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
Van

I wouldn't pick either "method". This is a classic example of two blind men touching the elephant, and describing what they feel. Both points are perfectly and independently valid.

More importantly, both get the concept of the torso as a viscoelastic tool in whole-body mechanics.

- Bill


>More importantly, both get the concept of the torso as a viscoelastic tool in whole-body mechanics.<

Agree, for me that is the key to a type of breathing that helps in power transfer. I find myself using both methods, plus anything in between, as my body calls for it and I don't fight it.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:55 am 
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i would have replied sooner but i got lost in the thread shuffle.
there are many "sanchin" kata out there, all different, with there own particulars. i really like this one..
http://youtu.be/YLog9TMFfo8 (and the music fits too,, sorry not sure how to actually link it here)
but there are many similarities. Morio Higgaonna says that Miyagi's teacher Kanryu Higgaonna (no relation) who studied in Fuzhou china 1873. did sanchin without the dynamic tension and exhaled quickly like blowing out a candle, done with the strike. this is stark contrast with the Miyagi sanchin. i find it interesting that Gushi sensei does his sanchin with more dynamic tension than anyone else i have seen, tho it may not be uncommon in his generation.

is it possible that the breathing was a reflection of the "type" of kata you were preforming? its common to do three sanchin kata all with different cadence and power, should not the breathing change in each? i seem to remember reading about hung gar kung fu back in the 1980s that they practice multiple methods of breathing all for different purposes. but my memory of it is lost. it would be interesting to do some research on this and find out how common it was in china to have multiple breathing methods.

i also want to add that i dont find anyones methods "wrong". for me at this point i agree with bruce lee when he said " i dont belive in styles anymore. i mean i dont belive there is a thing like the chinese way of fighting or a japanese way of fighting unless a humanbeing has 3 arms and 4 legs, then we will have a different form of fighting" its all about self expression


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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 8:43 pm 
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I extracted this from the Tomoyose Ryuko Sanseiryu thread.

Richard Gibbons wrote:
Hello everyone.

Man, this is tougher than sending morse code, but a discussion too good to be missed.

The unauthorised translation of the Uechi master text refers to kokyu ho breathing. But It says simply that the secret is not to expel large amounts of air.

I certainly cannot argue with that! Sometimes less is more. And in the case of "Uechi breathing" - whatever that is - I think that's perfect. No point unnecessarily putting shackles on what we do. That certainly wasn't Kanei's way.

Richard Gibbons wrote:
Training in Boston back in 2005, a Chinese sifu asked me what was the defining feature between a novice and an expert as they can both do the forms. He said that an expert would be able to strike a minimum of 5 times on a breath. He teaches a related southern chinese system, and internal arts.

Interesting...

An important point here is that their striking cadence wasn't handcuffed to the breathing cadence. They coexisted and supported each other without restricting each other.

Emphasis below in red is my own.

Richard Gibbons wrote:
In my own estimation, what we are actually learning to perform [hopefully] is Taoist reverse abdominal breathing. That is the frame of reference I use to teach it, contrasting it with simple bellows breathing. Ties in critically with sanchin.

Talk about a blast from the past...

This isn't the first time I've heard this link. If you want to understand what "reverse abdominal breathing" is, see the below link.

..... Abdominal Breathing, Reverse Breathing & Vase Breathing

My take on it is that "reverse abdominal breathing" - as described - involves expanding the chest cavity as opposed to lowering the diaphragm into the abdomen. It's decidedly less diaphragm and more intercostal muscle involvement. Why? Not sure, other than to selectively exercise part of the whole.

As to whether or not "Sanchin breathing" is "reverse abdominal breathing", well... I've seen the demonstrations, and I'm not convinced. A few key points to remember.

  • In order for air to go in the lungs, the trunk compartment must get larger. Somewhere.
    ...
  • When a muscle contracts (gets shorter), it gets thicker. I know because I won an AHA grant to study it in the heart muscle, and correlate muscle thickening with myocardial perfusion. That doesn't necessarily mean the compartment below it is getting smaller - especially if every point around that trunk circumference isn't doing the same thing. That is a rather complex proposition. But picture a balloon that is squeezed in one place, and expands elsewhere.

Richard Gibbons wrote:
Chinese styles also use sound, on the inhale and the exhale. Tough to do while you hold your breath.

Toyama sensei had that skill.

This is true of Goju Sanchin breathing as *I* was taught it. And my instructor was in special forces and a mixed martial artist (before MMA became a thing).

Basically if you "sniff" the inhale and "hiss" the exhale (picture the dragon snorting and then breathing fire), then you are clamping down at some point in the breathing passage. It's like tightening down on a valve that controls fluid flow. You are creating resistance to flow, which is like weight lifting for your breathing muscles. It also changes the viscoelastic properties inside the core. All of this has myriad purposes.

Good stuff, Richard!

- Bill


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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 9:56 pm 
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Richard Gibbons wrote:
Back somewhere in the mists of time I remember reading an article on breathing using a comparison of the startle response in cats and humans. Cats exhale, sink and tense for action. Humans breathe in and often experience an opposite body reaction as their core relaxes and extremities tense. Think rollercoaster drop or sudden loss of altitude experienced as an airline passenger. I tested this notion back in '87 on a family trip to Disney's space mountain. Riding with eyes closed in the dark in order to feel and respond without anticipation. It completely defeated the 'heart in the mouth' feeling that normally accompanies a sudden descent.


The startle reflex is something usually seen in babies. It's also called the Moro reflex.

..... Moro reflex while sleeping

This is thought to be a vestigial reflex useful for holding on when in a tree or in mom's arms. If you're falling asleep and lose your grip, the reflex helps you regain it.

Another very different reflex happens when surprised. We "gasp". This is why some martial styles teach a flinch-like block to be done with a sniff, and a subsequent thrust to be done with a hiss. Basically you're going with what your primal wiring will have you do when the bad guy jumps out of the bushes. By training with the anticipated flinch responses, you're able to be halfway to a martial solution before your cognitive brain knows what's going on.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 11:20 pm 
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My take on the reverse abdominal breathing is that it is hard to explain, but I think everyone ends up doing it. Look at the basic regular abdominal breathing as the first step. This is the "right" way to breathe when relaxed. Then all one does is to continue breathing the same way, down into the diaphragm, while keeping tension on the lower abdominal muscles. As air comes in, the abdomen tightens "around" it, and when one breathes out, the abdominal muscles compress downward, as opposed to inward. This should keep tension and pressure on the "outside" while still allowing correct breathing on the "inside".


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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 3:27 am 
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kung fu = breathing, thinking, feeling, moving.


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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 4:50 am 
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What has always been a concern to me is how our training will function under the sudden adrenaline dump that will bewilder unless you have really experienced it before.

This was something I learned the hard way while training with handguns and going through the duelatron scenario with John Farnam.

This includes any breathing we do along with techniques.

The thing to keep in mind is that we need to learn to match any breathing intensity pattern to the intensity of our physical motions/demands.

And the best way to do this is to concentrate on the exhale with intense motions pushing down from the head down to the feet to give the motion structure and grounding while remaining oxygenated.

Breathe normally when not under pressure to deliver power...breathe out forcefully when you need to be powerful in delivery or when trying to control the adrenaline dump that will make you hyperventilate.

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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 5:05 am 
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Van: "And the best way to do this is to concentrate on the exhale with intense motions pushing down from the head down to the feet to give the motion structure and grounding while remaining oxygenated."

I believe this is what our taoist monk is advocating to be practiced, as a way to become familiar with the body's natural reactions during primal levels of stress. "taoist reverse abdominal breathing" sounds very mysterious and un-approachable, but the salient feature is that the abdomen is compressed downward instead of just folding in on itself during the exhale.

I think our taoist friend is saying that we better know how to breathe and move when our body is locked up in an adrenal spasm. That is what I see when I look at Uechi and Goju sanchin, even though they are different in some ways, and also with other types of chi kung using tension.

We are all doing taoist reverse abdominal breathing. :evilbat:


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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 2:20 pm 
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I was in a meeting the other day talking with doctors, nurses, project managers, and business leaders about metabolic syndrome. It's something that was only vaguely known about 20 years ago, when people like me noticed interesting patterns of disease in large populations.

In working with these people, I'm often the person who holds The Rosetta Stone. My biomedical engineering education has served me well, giving me just enough information about all those fields so that I can speak everyone's language. But ultimately we have a job to do, and that job involves attacking a problem while trying to engage a plethora of resources.

In a meeting where I was presenting an experimental design proposal, I described what we were doing as like the tale of the dozen blind men touching and describing the elephant. The person who holds the trunk describes a serpant. The person holding the leg describes something like a tree trunk. The person holding the tusk describes a massive weapon. The person holding the tail describes a rope. All may attempt to generalize with the limited perspective they have, but nobody individually can do that. It takes putting all the pieces and parts together to see that big picture.

I remember a camp I attended (thanks, George) where Bobby Campbell pulled out an anatomy book and challenged students to start giving educated perspectives on what they were doing. Bobby has done the gamut of martial activities. He was a child genius in the Chinese martial arts community. He was a sparring champion under Van and Art Rabesa. He was and always will be a bit of a contrary, wanting to see things his way and wanting to push the envelope. But he's nothing if not passionate and meticulous whenever approaching a problem. And when it comes to breathing, Bobby's point is very well taken.

There are lots of potential problems in deadly force encounters - such as some that Van talks about - which many do not consider. Being neurohormonally overstimulated is one of them. This can create dysfunctional behavior such as deer-in-the-headlamps syndrome, repetitive behavior, and hyperventilation.

There is one thing I want to emphasize. Athletic events and deadly encounters aren't the same thing. A boxer or MMA fighter fights 3 minute rounds in a ring or cage, with short breaks. Wrestlers have their wrestling periods. But most deadly force encounters are over in a *very* short period of time. With that in mind, oxygen transport to tissue is completely irrelevant. In all but a small fraction of deadly force encounters, we are *NOT* engaging our aerobic metabolism. That metabolic system is incapable of generating maximum force. If you want to run cross country or a marathon, train your aerobic system to the max. If you want to run 100 meters or survive the bad guy, you must master the phosphocreatine and glycolitic energy pathways. That's were all the peak force energy resides.

So what's all the fuss about breathing?

More in my book. However, it's really all about two things:

1) Keeping the body in an optimal neurohormonal band. Not too little, and not too much.
This is especially a problem if you're a LEO with way to much time to think before doing a raid, or a victim being interviewed and intimidated by a predator who's intent is to emotionally hijack before victimizing.

2) Learning how to use intrapleural and intraabdominal pressure to enhance physical movement.
Most who practice Uechi Sanchin never get there. Natural athletes actually "get" it before entering a dojo. As George used to say in his classes, sometimes we screw up our best athletes when trying to teach them the right way to move. There has to be a healthy marriage between physical structure and natural, optimal movement. Believe it or not, our primal brain knows more than we realize. Our biggest problem as students of a discipline is getting in the way of ourselves.

The one problem I have with many (NOT all) internal martial artists is that they speak the language of lotus eaters. I know that's harsh, but I speak from both a sound basis in physiologic research and exposure to multilingual experts/authors such as Tim Cartmell. For many who teach eastern arts, much is lost in the translation and the inability to use useful, evidence-based body system paradigms.

The biggest problem I have is trying to squint my mental eyes and extract the wheat from the chaff of fuzzy language. Sometimes the snake oil salesman is a snake oil salesman, and sometimes there's something useful and wonderful in things we've never considered.

The good news is that we all care, and we're mostly doing things right. The challenge we face is optimizing our systems, and those of our students who present with myriad physical and emotional issues when walking in the dojo.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 2:30 pm 
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Good post, Bill
Quote:
However, it's really all about two things:

1) Keeping the body in an optimal neurohormonal band. Not too little, and not too much.

2) Learning how to use intrapleural and intraabdominal pressure to enhance physical movement.


This is the essence of it. The way we should be training to ingrain enhanced physical movement when called upon to perform in survival mode.

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