Tactical breathing

We all do it of course! But there is something very special about breathing when it comes to martial arts or some combatives systems. Breathing in martial arts today has taken on a far too common mystical approach. If you study their system and the concepts they offer something very special happens and of course the reward is you become elite perhaps mastering special inner strength and power. It’s a good sales pitch?

What makes the approach so fascinating to so many is that you’ll master your breathing and acquire supernatural abilities, defy the laws of nature and be able to perform super combat feats completely effortlessly. This desire draws a certain type of person and often they seem bent on finding that magic and special energy that has eluded so many practitioners over the years.

Of course I am poking fun at the extreme examples of teachers, masters who preach a load of nonsense!

But seriously you SHOULD pay attention to improving your breathing!



Breathing has been an important part of combat systems from the beginning because in battle warriors found their bodies had needs to keep fighting. And one big aspect every warrior discovered was the importance of breathing to maintain combat performance. Today in most militaries it is taught only as part of marksmanship training, also perhaps to control fear. The degree by which it is taught varies and the value between understanding the various methods is enormous. Scientifically it’s been proven that breathing plays an important role in acquiring that rational combatives state of mind where you can intuitively use your fighting skills. Tactical breathing as I call it oxygenates all your muscles allowing them to perform optimally and at the same time removing the carbon dioxide produced in your cells during that violent confrontation. I find it fascinating just how much mysticism has been given to the subject and just how little importance tactical breathing is given in most modern combatives training. It’s probably because we see it as an Eastern philosophy with tons of misleading methods, teaching and education.

Today I see a lot of soldiers putting time in to building muscles, strengthening them because they unlike so many others have to use them all the time just to walk around under the weight of body armour, assault rigs and weapons. But like we all discover we have limitations to training our muscles. Large muscles although looking good require a lot of fuel to keep them performing in a tactical situation. They enhance the need for oxygen and sugar consumption which can be problematic on operations due to the limited calorie intake, the continuous work load and lack of recovery you have to endure. The environmental stress also says we cannot improve our capacity by brute strength alone.  Therefore I think one should work towards a reduced muscle mass but increase how we get oxygen into our body’s cells so our fighting capacity is not reduced by the stress. In the lead up phase we need to understand it’s what we eat and how we breathe that makes a difference.  But from my experience most people and operators hardly pay enough attention outside of the standard over the counter supplements everyone is forcing down as a means for better performance. And that can be pretty hard to maintain whilst on operations not to mention the unknown long range harm they can do to the body.

What I have learned over the years and regularly teach is tactical breathing for improved combat performance. I know we need to rediscover breathing and what we can gain from it physically and to help achieve our optimal mental focus. After all breathing is how we fill up and the proper cycle of it is how we filter out the negative – good air in, bad air out. Diaphragmatic breathing enhances the quality of air that reaches our lungs, thus it gets to the vital defensive muscle groups increasing performance in the short as well as the long term where we can sustain our battle focus. Did I mention how tactical breathing provides complete mental focus that every warrior has worked to master throughout history when preparing to face a combat situation?

There is no doubt that when under the pressure of combat, whether on a battlefield somewhere or the mean streets of your home town or just in the office making a vital business decision, improving one’s mental awareness spectrum is incredibly important to the proper outcome. Warrior psychology is a very important component of tactical breathing and why I teach it the right way. But like any training, we need to strip the negative mental layers from our body.  It is essential we strive for optimal fitness. The benefits to practicing tactical breathing is certainly important and you should explore those techniques.

So let’s hope we see you on the mats very soon if you want to learn them!