Breathing Exercises from Okinawan Karate…

Breathing Exercises from Okinawan Karate…

GAINING IDEAS AND EXERCISES from other sports to help with “your sport” of choice is always a useful experiment!

Whether it’s simple exercises. Health routines, or any other kind of exercises, anything that can help is worth looking into.

The English Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Association (EGKA) The EGKA is a non-profit making karate association dedicated to teaching the traditional Okinawan martial art of Goju-Ryu Karate in England. They have 30 karate dojos in England and over 1200 active members.

From the GKI website for Okianawan Karate, here is a useful exercise as performed by Martial Artists.

Now I would like to tell you about “Heishu” or “Heishu Kata” and “Kaishu” or “Kaishu Kata” to give some information to those who study karate.

“Heishu” means fundamental Katas. Before entering the way of karate, you have to develop your body and mind by doing Sanchin exercise of Gojuryu.

I will explain in detail. You stand straight firmly with stable stance of feet (like in snooker), and hands positioned properly, breathing harmoniously, then you can feel Sanchin ecstasy. It is a still version of Sanchin.

We also have an active version of Sanchin which has another name “Peppuren”. Usually we call Sanchin for both versions. Tanden (= a point a couple of inches below the navel), the back of the head and the buttocks are three focus points on which you have to concentrate your attention during Sanchin exercise.

Brief instructions are the following. Tuck your chin in. Lift the back of your head high. Focus on Tanden (= a point a couple of inches below the navel) to charge with the energy. Your buttocks should be tucked in. These three focus points are not originally separated from each other, but have inseparable relationship. In addition to them, there is another focus point: the middle point between the eyebrows.

You imagine them lining up to do this in Snooker Dojo’s across the land?

I have heard that principles of Zen and other sitting meditations are the same as Sanchin.

Basic Karate Exercises (not the actual engaging in fighting) provide great focus and concentration as well as balance.


About GKI …

The GKI was formed by Shihan James Rousseau (9th Dan) and Shihan Len Sim (8th Dan) in 1993 and is a non-profit making organisation that is dedicated to the promotion and teaching of classical and traditional Goju Ryu Karate Do based on the ideas of Chojun Miyagi, the founder of Goju Ryu. The GKI conducts regular lectures, seminars and special courses for all students as well as a continuous training programmes for instructors.

With dojos from South Africa, Portugal, Nepal, Spain, Sweden and Belgium joining dojos from the UK – making the GKI a truly international association.

Here, below is a taster of an article from DR STUART MCGILL from BACKLIFTPRO on “Okinawan Strength”

One of the best drills to achieve a neutral spine while learning the forceful breathing is one we recently assessed, and published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (Badiuk, Andersen and McGill, 2014), we named it the “Lewit” after Dr Karel Lewit and his colleague Dr Pavel Kolar of Prague, Czech Republic. Dr Lewit has contributed a lifetime of creative assessment and corrective exercise approaches based on postural and breathing mechanics. His inspiration combined with great insight into several strength correctives refined by my good friend Dr Clayton Skaggs of St Louis, led to this particular exercise. While the masters of Okinawan karate describe “deep abdominal breathing” together with “muscular locks” which involve mindful focus, the “Lewit” forces this torso/abdominal compression with a neutral spine when practiced with the guidelines we published.

The essence of the “Lewit” is to develop engrams of torso stiffness where the torso cylinder remains compressed without ribcage flair. This technique may be employed in pulses or for situations calling for isometric torso strength over longer durations. When the skills acquired during the “Lewit” are transferred to standing, the visual gaze is locked onto the horizontal.


Here is a blogger’s first hand experience of Okinawan Karate and the authentic Sensai training in Okinawa!

READ THE Lessons from Sensei’s here…


Chris Gaynor

Chris Gaynor is a writer with 10 years' experience writing for the web. He loves snooker, CSI and loves cycling off tiramisu!