Hapkido- KI Breathing Exercise
By: Prof Dr Rizwan Mustafa Zubairi
Chairman-President cum Founder
Zubairi’s Martial Arts and Sports Federation-International
Pakistan Hapkido Federation
Breathing is a sign of a living or indicating that a human being is alive and within. The breathing in martial arts acts as a core part of training. It has a very major importance to beginners as well as for trained Dan holders. The Hapkido is one of the major Korean martial arts which have deep roots in breathing techniques. In Hapkido dojangs the instructors in Pakistan and around the world define KI-Breathing to the Hapkido beginners that it is the energy rooted in the breath. So we can say that deep breathing exercise is an essential part of Hapkido training. It makes you stronger in body and spirit, and helping to protect not only from attackers but from evil mindedness and act as a channel of energy, focusing the attention. In this way, HAPKIDO serves universal harmony.
There are many ways of performing breathing as explained by Korean Hapkido Grandmasters to there students and regardless of the Hapkido tradition each and every Hapkido art has a number of Breathing techniques. The most widely practiced breathing is identified as “DAN JUN Breathing” This exercises and couple diaphragmatic breathing is an effort to build a strong union between muscle skill and muscle recruitment.
The Dan Jun is believed by Hapkido practitioners to be the center of energy (KI) in the human body. Dan means red or fire and Jun means field, so Dan Jun can be interpreted as meaning the active source of power in the body. As the center of energy, it is the key to human vitality and strength.
As explained by our Hapkido Grandmasters, the Dan Jun is located about three inches below the navel. Through Dan Jun defining exercises, each individual can determine the location of their personal center.
Abdominal breathing is the diaphragmatic kind, where the air is being drawn into the lower lungs by strong use of the abdominal stomach muscles rather than shallowly into the upper lungs as is more normal.
Come in Jhoon Bee (ready) position and start performing Hapkido Dan Jun Ki Breathing.
- Pushing front
- Pushing Inwards (Horizontally – Left and Right)
- Pushing outwards (Horizontally – Left and Right)
- Pushing Upwards
- Pushing Downwards
- Stand in a middle level horse stance. Equal balance is to be on both feet which should feel as if they are gripping the floor. Straighten and align the hips and lower back by pulling the tailbone around and forward while pushing the bottom of the abdomen around and backwards. This also creates tension in the Dan Jun area just below the navel. Align the upper back, head and shoulders. Shoulders are held back in line with the hips while the head is pushed up and the chin pulled backwards. This also aligns the top part of the spine. The arms are held relaxed in the starting position for each exercise.
- Once the basic body positions above are correct then only Dan Jun breathing can commence. Imagine that you are breathing through a hole in your lower abdomen. Inhale through the nose and not the mouth. This allows the diaphragm to drop to its lowest position thereby filling all of the lungs with a deep breath. As you inhale slowly, move your hands in a circular motion so you have open hands (palms facing outwards) at chest level. Imagine you have a big rock directly in front of you and you are getting ready to push it away.
- Once the inhalation is completed and the abdomen is at its lowest point, most of the breath is exhaled softly leaving behind air only in the lower abdomen. This exhalation should also sink you into a lower stance. At this point the exercise should have been completed to a slow count of one.
- It is important to curl your fingers back in a “claw” like position (as opposed to an open palm). This is good practice for the application of Dan Jun breathing techniques to a palm strike or strike-to-grab technique.
- In the next part of the exercise the remaining breath held to a slow count of two and three. You should feel some tension, heat, whatever in the Dan Jun area below your navel which you then visualize being pushed up your torso, down each arm and out into your hands from your Dan Jun.
- On the count four you expel the last of the breath forcibly, imagining that it is being pushed out along with the energy stored in your hands which may vibrate slightly. The tension in the hands is released explosively; the hands are snapped out fast and retracted just as fast. Exhale through the mouth as you push forwards concentrating on focusing the KI energy in the direction of movement.
- You then repeat the process. As you progress through the grades, doing the exercise to a count of 6 and then 8 further develops your Dan Jun breathing.
- At all times the entire body should be relaxed apart from the Dan Jun area and hands prior to the final exhalation. Often students misunderstand this and try to do the exercise by tensing up. Often they will grimace and go red in the face. This is incorrect and potentially dangerous if the student suffers from high blood pressure
Hapkido Dan Jun Ki breathing should be done as part of each Basic or Pattern. Once the student understands the breathing sequence it can then be applied to the patterns. All of the movements should be done while the breath is being circulated or exhaled and breathing in should only occur when the student is changing directions. This also applies to our basics, self defense and free sparring activities.
The writer Prof Dr. Rizwan Mustafa Zubairi is the Practitioner of Korean Martial Arts of Taekwondo and Hapkido. He is a writer/Lecturer on Korean martial Arts. He has done M.Sc (Applied Chemistry) M.B.A (Marketing) and is a qualified International Master Instructor. Achieved The 7 th Dan Black Belt in Taekwondo and The 5 th Dan Black Belt in Hapkido. PhD in Martial Arts. Qualified Sports Administrator by Olympic Council of Asia (IOC) He is a proud member of the Korea Hapkido Federation HaeMuKwan www.haemukwan.com and is the official representative for the country of Pakistan.