Seika Tanden description for Mixed Martial Arts Vancouver

Seika Tanden for Mixed Martial Arts Vancouver

This is an article from the student manual by Tadashi Nakamura who is a pioneer in hard style martial arts. His reference of  ibuki breathing is similar in some respects to our dynamic tension breathing. Some people have been asking about this concept so I am reprinting it to build knowledge and understanding. Enjoy.

Seika tanden is a point approximately four fingers directly below your navel. It corresponds roughly to the lower abdominal part of the body. The tanden is the physical center of gravity of the body. More importantly, though, it becomes the seat of the individual’s psychic energy when the body’s physical and spiritual powers are unified and focused there.

Many Oriental philosophical and spiritual systems, such as Zen, Tao, and Yoga, recognize the connection between breath control, strengthening of the abdominal area and spiritual unification. This may sound abstract to you, but do you know where the power of a punch and the force of a kick come from? Not from strong arms and legs, although they are necessary for a strong technique. The power of a lot of martial arts techniques comes from the seika tanden.

When you are in seated meditation, the position of your hands is meant to encompass and touch the tanden. During our training we practice several types of breathing, all of which are meant to help strengthen tanden. you all know ibuki breathing. This is done by tensing the entire abdominal area, opening the mouth, relaxing the tongue and throat, while  forcefully exhaling the air in the lungs; …. Most students focus on the forceful and noisy exhalation; they make the noise from their throats. The power of the exhalation, however, comes from the tension in the abdominal area, from seika tanden. Similarly, in a kiai, the shout should come not from the throat but from the tanden. Ibuki breathing improves the circulation and tones the entire internal abdominal area.

Again, to get away from abstraction, let me relate a story to you. The other day I was on my way to the post office carrying a small package under my arm, when a strange man, whom I had not noticed, came up to me making loud shouts and threatening gestures. His intention was probably to startle and annoy me more than anything else. In situations like this, fear and panic are common reactions. When this happens to someone, his or her breathing may become rapid, shallow and uncontrolled; it might even stop, and the person becomes literally paralyzed for a short time. Because of my training however, my instant reaction was to tighten the tanden and to jump back into a stance where I could calmly asses the situation.  Keeping my eye on the man, I slowly walked away and no harm was done. This story is to make the point that the benefits of a strong tanden can be applied in daily life. The person who is in control of his breath is in control of himself, and can there fore deal effectively with any situation. Try this exercise. Suppose that someone does or says something that makes you angry; you can feel the anger welling up inside you. Take your hands and place them on tanden, and do three silent cycles of ibuki breathing. After the third one, you will notice that your breathing is more regular, that you are not as upset and that you can better evaluate and control the situation. Believe me, it works.  There is an American expression, ” That man has got guts!”  This means, obviously, that the man has strength and courage. There is a reason for the metaphor, however; strength and courage reside in, or come from, the “guts”, or the center of the body, which is the seika tanden. There is a term in yogic mediation,”to center one’s self”. This also refers to the focusing of one’s energies in tanden. The importance of a strong tanden is recognized but not always remembered. You should constantly work on strengthening the tanden. you can do this by practicing ibuki breathing at home. It is an important part of your training.

This is a good article explaining one of the breathing styles we use in class; especially in conjunction with the 3 breaths, on the second set, representing the mind, body and spirit for Mixed Martial Arts Vancouver.

Mixed Martial Arts Vancouver

Mixed Martial Arts Vancouver

This picture represents some of the variations of dynamic tension breathing for focus, concentration and other benefits for Mixed Martial Arts Vancouver.
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