Breathing techniques in karate

Andrey Kovalenko

CEO and founder of the PROkimono initiative (
Online store for Kyokushinkai and other karate styles’ equipment.
Maintains a thematic blog on the website VKontakte.

Professional with more than 20 years of expertise in management, sales, and sales management. He worked in middle and senior management roles at the corporate offices of significant western consumer electronics corporations for more than ten years.

Andrey practiced the most challenging form of karate, Kyokushinkai,  for more than 20 years in Moscow’s most prestigious club, all under the direction of Russia’s most renowned coach for Kyokushinkai.

Karate is primarily a martial art, as many people are aware. It stands to reason that the majority of this martial art’s exercises focus on honing skills for hand-to-hand combat, including unique breathing techniques.

Three different breathing techniques have been adapted into karate by Chinese culture. Even those who do not practice this martial art can adapt at least one of these for use in daily life.

What benefits does this kind of breathing exercises provide?

In addition to the specific impacts that are important for a fighter, such as the strengthening of the diaphragm and intercostal muscles, nogare increases overall endurance, stimulates physical metabolic processes, prevents respiratory diseases, aids in coping with improper breathing, and significantly calms and aids in the fight against stress.

Proper nogare execution

This breathing pattern is a relaxed one. Smooth movement without tense muscles is required. Breathing should be even and quiet.

  • Breath-holding stage

We draw our palms to our chests as we inhale slowly and deliberately. Never raise your shoulders. Shoulder blades are drawn together, and elbows are brought back.

In the final position, the palms are about 5 to 6 cm from the chest when looking at the chest from the side and are close to the underarms.

  • The exhalation phase
Slowly turn your hands away from you as you start to lower your arms. Your arms are around 30- 45 degrees away from your body at the end of the exhale phase, almost fully straight at the elbows, and your palms are facing away from you.

When doing this, you might experience warmth in your elbow and palm joints. Focus on it and work to make it stronger.

The benefits to your health won’t take longer if you exercise for five to ten minutes each day.

Good health to everyone!

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