Lightsaber Combat

A Sport for a more Civizied Age

Improve your Battle Breath in 2 weeks

Do you get short on breathe during the middle of drills or when sparring?

Sure, maybe you need to up your cardio game a little, but there may be an easier answer.

——–
What’s your breathing look like?
Do you know off hand?
Maybe you should find out.
This should take about 2 weeks, but could take up to a month depending on where you’re at with your breathing habits.
——–

Phase 1 (Week 1)

Start by taking 3 minutes in the morning to watch your breath. If you start thinking about other things, that’s fine, just ask yourself how you’re breathing feels between thoughts.
Maybe you feel tight in the chest, or belly. Maybe they are little breathes. You have to remember to get your socks out of the microwave. Maybe they’re big breaths. Gasping? Wheezing? Full? Shallow? What’s going on?
You don’t have to change it, you just need to notice it.
Do this every day for a week.
Optimal practice times: When you wake up, during coffee, on your lunch break, or before bed. Whatever you want, it’s your tool. Just make sure to use it. Eventually, you will begin to notice your breathe as second nature, and formal practice can be reduced to when you feel it’s necessary.

Phase 2 (day 7)

Now you’ve been noticing your breath for a while and you’ve started to see some patterns. Maybe you find that you’re gasping on occasion, “what’s that all about,” you might wonder?
It’s probably about irregular breathing patterns, which can be fixed over time, often times by simply being aware of the problem.
Use the same 3 minute exercise and try taking your breath in for 5 long seconds, hold it for 5 long seconds, and then exhale it for 8 LONG. SECONDS. then hold for another 5.
Now you’re playing with the extremes of the spectrum. After the exercise, notice how nice it is to breathe normally. This should provide you a greater level of precision when breathing.
Keep this up till your normal has moved to a place that seems appropriate for you. You should not been breathing deeply all the time, or forgetting to breathe, but taking consistent, manageable breaths.
With some practice, you won’t have to think about it.

Phase 3 (day 11)

Now go for a run. (bike, swim, whatever)
Notice the breath. Are you getting enough oxygen?
Try breathing faster, harder. Does it work?
Cool down. Get back to baseline.
Now try again. Focus on your belly. This time, take in your breath, and hold it inside until you feel as though you’ve got what you want from it. It takes time to absorb oxygen, and the air needs to settle to be absorbed fully (potentially bull-shit statement, but it seems true enough. The rest is legit, try it out yourself, don’t trust me!).
Now let the air out slowly. Try to pause a little between breathes, feel the body aching for more air, then inhale. Start the process over.
Maintaining filled lungs creates a sensation like a piston under pressure, adding bounce to your strides. Instead of drooping as the run progresses, you should feel lifted, buoyant.
It’s really quite remarkable.

aside:

Have you ever been in a yoga class and heard the instructor blithely suggest that you “drink your breathe” as you begin to wonder if your legs will ever go back to their original shape? Well, it may actually be good advice, but you can’t understand the phrase until you experience it. (I’ll try to explain anyways, of course) It’s kind of like relishing your breath the same way you drink a cool glass of water after a long walk. Not chugging, slowly enjoying it as though it’s the only one you get (who knows, it very well could be).
You know what? Try drinking a glass of water, real slow like. It might help the analogy.
Moving right along.

Final Phase (day 14)

It’s time to fight.

Go to Saber practice, and during the warmups, begin to mind your breath. Try over breathing a little, but come back to baseline.
As the drills begin, start your piston cycle.
Moderate breath in, hold and process, ease it out, pause. repeat. 
Better, no?

If this helps, share this with someone that needs it!

love,
Sam
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