Breathing in Kata:
How to Breathe in Kata

We apply different kind of breathing in kata. The other methods introduced concentrate on exhaling but this breathing concentrates on "holding the air".

Luckily, I found a website explaining the kata breathing in detail, which quotes from Komorizono Masao Kendo Kojutsuroku (Oral Statements of Masao Komorizono).

Unfortunately, this is only available in Japanese on the web, but Kendo World Vol. 4.1 also introduces this in one of the articles called "Breathing in kata".

This is the outline of the kata breathing.

Kata Breathing Outline

  1. Breathe in before moving towards our opponent. 
  2. Hold the air in the seika-tanden.
  3. While moving forwards, i.e. taking three steps forwards, breathe out little by little so that no one can tell that you are breathing out. Do not loosen the seika-tanden
  4. Shout "Yah!" and strike if you are Uchitachi and Shitachi counterattacks with a kiai of "Toh!". 
  5. Without loosing the seika-tanden, breathe normally but quietly. 
  6. Shitachi shows zanshin without breathing after his/her counterattack.
    There is an article related to zanshin.
  7. When going back to the centre, both uchitachi and shitachi breathe normally but quietly.
  8. When lowering the sword, breathe in and fill up the seika-tanden with the air.
  9. Take five steps backwards while breathing out little by little so that no one can tell you that you are breathing out. Make sure that the seika-tanden is not loose. 
  10. Take chudan and breathe in. 
  11. Push the air down to the seika-tanden and complete your chudan no kamae. 
  12. Then breathe out. 
  13. When you take another stance, breathe in. Back to No.1. 

Seika-tanden: It is a part of our body where it is said that the source of energy (ki) is located (or created). It is at about three fingers below the belly button. 

Basically, when we get close to your opponent, we do not want to show our opponent when we breathe in and when we breathe out. Why?

We are very vulnerable when we breathe in and out. That is why we breathe in when we are far away from our opponent and breathe out very slowly.

I suggest that you should worry about the breathing in kata when your kata is improved. At the beginning of learning kata, you are too busy to remember the forms. My suggestion is to concentrate on learning the forms first.

Hope this helps.

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