Kung Fu Breathing Exercises

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As a practitioner of kung fu, breathing is an essential aspect of performing movements accurately and maintaining endurance. It connects the mind and body, enhances control, and helps release tension. Despite its importance, breathing exercises are often overlooked in kung fu training. By mastering different breathing techniques, kung fu practitioners can maximize their performance and improve their overall wellness.

In this article, we will discuss the different breathing exercises in kung fu, their benefits, and how to perform them.


What is the importance of breathing in kung fu?

In Kung Fu, breathing is considered a fundamental aspect of the practice and is given great importance. Proper breathing techniques are crucial for several reasons:

  1. Energy and Vitality: Breathing is believed to be the primary source of energy in Kung Fu. By focusing on deep, controlled breathing, practitioners can improve their energy flow, increase vitality, and enhance overall physical performance.
  2. Body Awareness and Control: Conscious breathing helps develop a strong mind-body connection. By paying attention to their breath, practitioners can better sense and control their body movements, allowing for precise and efficient execution of techniques.
  3. Relaxation and Focus: Deep breathing techniques in Kung Fu promote relaxation and help calm the mind. By consciously regulating the breath, practitioners can reduce stress and anxiety, enabling them to maintain focus during training and combat.
  4. Stamina and Endurance: Proper breathing techniques contribute to enhanced stamina and endurance levels. By breathing deeply and efficiently, practitioners can oxygenate their muscles and organs, reducing fatigue and enabling them to sustain physical exertion for longer periods.
  5. Internal Power Generation: Kung Fu places great emphasis on the development of internal power, known as “Nei Jin.” Proper breathing techniques, such as coordinating breath with movement, aid in cultivating this internal power. By utilizing the breath, practitioners can generate and direct power from their core, enhancing the effectiveness of their strikes and techniques.
  6. Injury Prevention: Controlled breathing techniques promote proper alignment, stability, and balance during Kung Fu movements, reducing the risk of injury. Deep breathing also helps improve circulation and oxygen supply to the muscles, promoting quicker recovery and minimizing the likelihood of muscle strain or tension.


What are some basic breathing exercises in kung fu?

One of the most basic breathing exercises in kung fu is deep breathing or Zhong Dan Tian breathing. It involves inhalation through the nose and exhaling through the mouth while focusing on the energy center in the lower abdomen, known as Dan Tian. Another basic exercise is Reverse breathing, which involves breathing, whereby the chest and stomach contract on inhale and expand on exhale. This exercise increases the energy flow in the body for stronger kicks and punches.


What is ‘Iron Shirt’ breathing technique?

The Iron Shirt breathing technique is a popular breathing exercise in kung fu, especially for external martial arts styles. It involves using your mind to draw energy and chi from your surrounding environment and store it in the body’s tissues. By doing so, the muscles continuously receive energy, which enables them to withstand powerful strikes.


What is ‘Seven Star’ breathing technique?

Seven Star breathing technique, also known as Qi Gong breathing, is a fundamental exercise in kung fu that focuses on the seven energy centers, or chakras, throughout the body. It involves inhaling and exhaling forcefully while focusing on each energy center’s location, clearing blockages and creating a free flow of energy. The technique cultivates and circulates internal energy or Chi, strengthening the body and boosting the immune system.


What is ‘Lion’s Roar’ breathing technique?

The Lion’s Roar breathing technique involves exhaling forcefully through the mouth while making a loud roaring sound, similar to a lion’s roar. This exercise helps to release pent-up emotions and breathing inhibitions that restrain full lung expansion. It helps to develop strong expiratory force, which is beneficial in delivering powerful kicks and punches.


What is ‘Dragon’s Breath’ breathing technique?

The Dragon’s Breath breathing technique requires inhaling through the nose, filling the lungs with air and holding your breath for a few seconds before exhaling via the nose or mouth. This exercise provides better lung capacity for improved stamina when performing intense kung fu movements. It also helps to develop focus and control as it requires concentrated breathing and holding of the breath.



In conclusion, mastering different breathing exercises is vital in developing strong kung fu skills. It enables a connection between the mind and body for maximum focus and control, allowing for better performance. Incorporating these exercises in kung fu training helps to enhance breathing technique, boost the immune system, and improve overall wellness.

Maxim Tzfenko

Maxim Tzfenko

"I live and breath Martial Arts"

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