Shorin-Ryu Karate U.S.A.
Thought For The Week
As karateka, we all know the importance of breathing. Or do we? Maybe the significance
goes even deeper than we normally discuss.
Through our training, we recognize the need for strong breathing and the connection it
has to the physical practice of technique. Master Nagamine refers to breath while
describing attitudes for karate training. "Karate requires a harmony between breath
and action. Therefore, we must learn to adjust our breathing until we reach the point
where each breath coincides with each of the movements during practice."
We also know that breathing is a very important part of the Zen, or spiritual aspect of
our martial arts training. Tanden is breathing, tanden is ki. Anyone who has struggled to
do those last ten deep knee bends they thought they couldn't do, knows very well how
breathing may help one just get through anything.
Yet, there are also significant health benefits from correct breathing. A student
brought to my attention a study that was done on the importance of oxygen to cells. Cells
were removed from two sets of frogs. The cells from the first group were deprived of
oxygen and the cells from the second group were placed in a "normal" oxygen rich
environment. The cells were then reinserted into the original frogs. Those cells which
were stored in the oxygen rich environment were reincorporated by the neighboring cells
once back in the frog and those cells which were stored in the oxygen "deprived"
environment developed, in nearly every case, into a cancerous growth rather than being
reincorporated by the neighboring cells. As Taisen Deshimaru states in the Zen Way To the
Martial Arts "Air contains the energy and life from the universe which we receive
through our lungs and every cell in our bodies, and so it is important to know how to
So just keep breathing!
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