Demon Slayer Breathing Method

Taiji-Breathing   Total Concentration

What is the breathing method who masters martial arts?


Manga, TV anime, and movie of “Demon Slayer” are booming not only in Japan but also in Taiwan and China. In this story, each swordsmanship school names breathing, such as “water breathing,” “flame breathing,” and “wind breathing.” In addition, the highest-ranking swordsman of the demon slayer corps is called a “Hashira”, and the minimum requirement for “Hashira” is to have a “total concentration” breathing method.


What is the presence of breathing for those who are trying to master martial arts?  What kind of breathing method do they have if the people who have entered the highest stage of martial arts?


Let me consider about the breathing method of “total concentration”.


Regardless of Karate or Taijiquan, just the form learning the pattern in any school will not work in actual battles. There is a kind of breathing method in order to become a form that performs a technique in response to the movement of the opponent.


Martial arts breathing “total concentration” may contain the following three elements.

  1. Deep breathing method that not shake the body axis and does not get tired
  2. Inhalation method that instantly integrates oneself to the other party
  3. Exhalation method that explodes the power at inside the other party’s body


It’s a bit of an adventure to talk about this topic at my martial arts level, but if you’re interested, please give me your time to read.


Before getting into the main subject, let me briefly explain the essence of breathing and the movement of the lungs.


Cells consume large amounts of oxygen and emit large amounts of carbon dioxide for life maintenance and activity. Oxygen is carried by arteries to cells and carbon dioxide is recovered by veins. The collected carbon dioxide is sent to the lungs through the heart and gas exchanged with oxygen sucked from the outside air. This gas exchange takes place in the alveoli that make up the lungs and the capillaries that surround the alveoli. The essence of respiration is to increase the efficiency of this gas exchange and deliver the necessary oxygen to the cells.


You also need to know that the lungs do not have the muscles to breathe. The lungs expand their volume and take in air under negative pressure, shrink their volume and push out air under positive pressure. Lung breathing consists of contractions of the surrounding muscles, the intercostal muscles and the diaphragm.


Let’s get started.


  • Deep breathing method that does not shake the body axis and does not get tired


When a human body begins to move rapidly, the carbon dioxide content in the veins increases rapidly. How efficiently this carbon dioxide is discharged from the body is important. The human lungs do not have a one-way air flow like birds do. Oxygen and carbon dioxide enter and exit the alveoli while mixing. Deep breathing is required to relax the diaphragm, exhale mixed breaths, and inhale fresh breath.


For that purpose, full range of vertical movement of diaphragm should be used.


Humans cannot sense the movement of the diaphragm. The point is to press the tip of the tongue against the upper jaw and pull out consciousness from the top of the head at the same time. Bring your consciousness to Dantian, the center of gravity of your body, and move the diaphragm up and down deeply with the sensation of controlling abdominal pressure.


Another important factor is to minimize muscle oxygen consumption. To do this, always start moving from Dantian, the center of gravity of the body.  In Taijiquan, the joints serve as swing fulcrums, and force is transmitted from the inside to the outside. There should be no muscle contractions that impede this flow when punching or kicking.  If you use extra muscle strength, your skill will drop and your body axis will shake, so you will soon be out of breath.


In addition, some people raise their shoulder to perform their skills in order not to use their muscles, but this is also a mistake. The starting point of force activation must always be Daintian.


  • Inhalation method that instantly integrates oneself to the other party


Those who can perform “Sen no Sen (Anticipative initiative)” and “Go no Sen (Responsive initiative)” is definitely familiar with this breathing method. Even if you are old, you will not be beaten by young people if you are not forced to fight based on reflexes. In time with the beat of the opponent’s first attack, get into inside of the opponent barrier and fuse yourself with the opponent.


Inhaling in breathing is a state of mental tension in which the sympathetic nerves dominate. It sucks by instantly contracting the diaphragm and external intercostal muscles according to the beat of the opponent’s first attack.


You cannot be aware that the diaphragm is lowered due to contraction, but the feeling that the chest expands a little is similar to the feeling of opening the mind, which leads to harmony with the other party. This is a mental tension in which the tip of the tongue is attached to the upper jaw and the spirit rise to the top of the head, but the whole body is in a power neutralization state. Momentary power neutralization is the opposite of strength, and the opponent cannot response it.  It makes taking the initiative to integrate with the other party.


  • Exhalation method that explodes the power at inside the other party’s body


Isn’t it common to all martial arts to exhale when hitting the opponent? Exhaling is a state of mental relaxation in which the parasympathetic nerves dominate, and the sensation of the body stretching out. This is the release of energy and there should be no muscle contractions that impede the speed of punching or kicking. When exhaling, the contracted diaphragm relaxes and rises, compressing the lungs. When the shock wave sent out by the attack reaches the destruction point in the opponent’s body, the abdominal pressure is increased instantly. This compression of the body accelerates the return of the diaphragm and also accelerates the shock wave passing through the destruction point.


A shock wave is not an ambiguous thing such as “Qi” energy, but a physical force flow due to a kinetic chain of swinging fulcrums of joints.


Please understand that what I have said here is the world that I see at my current martial arts level and that it may change in the future.