Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

February 22nd, 2015

From Sensei Bob
Ueshiro Northfield Shorin-Ryu Karate Dojo of Minnesota

Thought of the Week: Breathe!

I have the privilege and good fortune of being
able to spend this month in Florida training with Hanshi and the Florida sensei
and deshi. For someone from the cold “hinterlands” of Minnesota, the “sugar” is
overwhelming!! The following Thought of the Week is based on remarks by Hanshi
at Saturday’s full-belt testing this past weekend in West Melbourne,

In a discussion with members of the board of judges, Hanshi spoke of
the importance of breathing in our karate. There are several aspects.

When training basics, we often emphasize the ideal breathing principle of
inhaling with blocks and exhaling with punches and kicks. It is often useful to
train in kata with these breathing principles. For successive moves in which
block follows block, or punch follows punch, the order of breathing would need
to be adjusted to maintain this principle.

2. However, it is often the case,
especially when we are demonstrating kata full speed and power, or doing kata
with varied counts or varied pacings, that it is not possible to continue
breathing regularly while maintaining the block-inhale, punch-exhale principle.
What is most important in this situation is that we breathe normally. The breath
should never be held when doing kata. Normal breathing means we are always
breathing in and out when doing kata. This is, of course, hard to do. But it
takes practice and attention to our breathing at a full power regimen.

3. In
the extreme case, when one actually goes into battle, the ideal, as was stated
by a leading black belt during the Florida weekend, is that the only thing one
is thinking about is breathing. Forget technique, forget tactics and strategy,
focus only on your breath. This is akin to performing kata in a state of mushin
--- without thought.

In his final comments to the deshi at testing today,
Hanshi said that we often talk of body, mind and spirit. People know what body
and mind are. But what is spirit? Essentially spirit is life itself, and the
essence of life is breathing. Breathing is how we absorb our life energy. It is
central to all our activities. It is life!

Domo arigato Hanshi for your
remarkable words and teaching.

Respectfully submitted,
Sensei Bob
Ueshiro Northfield Shorin-Ryu Karate Dojo of Minnesota