Grandmaster Duk Ki Song with Kim Soo at Kyong-Bok Palace in Seoul Korea, Feburary 1964

Proper breathing is one of the Basic Principles, and it should match the intensity and purpose of your movements.

Chayon-Ryu Ho Hub - Natural Way Breathing

By Grandmaster Kim Soo, 10th. Dan & Founder, Chayon-Ryu Martial Arts
Written by Sabomnim Graeme Cox

Correct breathing technique (Ho Hub), is one of the most important aspects of Chayon-Ryu training. It is responsible for charging your energy, maintaining correct timing and releasing your spirit with each movement. From experience, incorrect breathing can lead to serious health problems such as stomach ulcers and low back pain. Therefore, both performance and health rely on correct breathing.

Inhaling and exhaling correctly are essential to train safely and build endurance. Inhaling through the nose warms, humidifies and filters the air before it gets to the lungs. Exhaling through the mouth expels the air quickly enough to match the speed of your technique. Your kihop is a type of breathing exercise where you combine spirit with your powerful movement.

Proper Chayon-Ryu technique requires abdominal (Dan Jon) breathing as opposed to regular chest breathing. Chest breathing raises the rib cage and creates unwanted tension in the shoulders and upper body. On the other hand, abdominal breathing relies almost exclusively on the diaphragm, lowering the body’s center of gravity and keeping the shoulders relaxed.

The easiest way to learn abdominal breathing is through meditation where you can focus solely on your breathing. Initially, keep the belly relaxed and feel your abdomen expand outwards when you inhale. However, as you begin to understand more, try to keep your abdomen firm and feel your breath drawing deeper into your pelvis. This allows your Dan Jon to remain tight when you move during training.

While it seems difficult to learn this type of breathing, it just takes practice and concentration. As with everything in life, the more difficult something is to achieve, the greater are the rewards.

Breathing during Jong Nyom Sang (meditation) and Dan Jon Ho Hub (Ki-building breathing) are both performed in the same way, in through the nose and out through the mouth. The abdomen expands with inhalation, and contraction of the lower abdominal muscles causes slow, controlled exhalation. Exhalation during Jong Nyom Sang is silent. Exhalation during Dan Jon breathing can be either silent or with a forceful "Ahhhhh" sound. Either is correct if breathing comes from the Dan Jon. Either is wrong if it comes from the chest.

However, using your Ki on a powerful technique is slightly different. This type of exhalation should result in the abdomen "popping" slightly outward, similar to blowing a dart with a sharp, intense breath. This "popping" tightens your Dan Jon and expels your Ki with your breath, maximizing the power of any technique.

Proper breathing is one of the Basic Principles, and it should match the intensity and purpose of your movements. Furthermore, to promote health and longevity, your breathing should be in through the nose and out through the mouth. When executing a strong technique, your abdomen "pops" slightly outward, as opposed to meditation and Dan Jon breathing where your abdomen contracts inward.

Train sincerely and breathe correctly for maximum benefits.