In crucial moments, breathing involuntarily comes to a stop. The circus performer knows this, the athlete knows it, the potter throwing a bowl on the wheel knows it, and so does the cartographer, who unconciously holds his breath when he wants to draw a fine and accurate line. In the tea ceremony, in Noh acting, in judo, and in kendo, the tanden takes the lead in the movements of the body. We have already described how the artist or the calligrapher almost stops breathing when he draws a series of lines and gives new tension to the respiratory muscles every time he comes to an important point. He actually practices what we have called intermittent, or bamboo, exhalation. An elevated type of spiritual activity is manifested in this breathing.
Our contention, then, is that controlled respiration generates spiritual power, and that attention, which is actually spiritual power, can never be exercised without tension in the tanden.
- Katsuki Sekida
Of all the Squat Rx videos I've made, I thought this one, "Breathing & Set-Up" was particularly well done. Except for some notes, I don't script the videos out and it probably shows but, I think the information presented was very good. The idea of breath control in athletics is often overlooked and I was happy I included it in the series. For some people, this is all common sense. For others (like me), it's only after years of unnecessarily painful practice that you come to figure out the subtle nuances. I've had many people report PRs after seeing this video and that's always nice to hear.
Suggested further reading:
The Naked Warrior by Pavel Tsatsouline
Power To The People by Pavel Tsatsouline
Zen Training: Methods and Philosophy by Katsuki Sekida