You know that awful feeling you get when you start to get winded and your second wind hasn’t happened yet? That’s when you’re really in trouble in the stamina and the strike department. I learned many years ago in my training, the practice of punching out the candle or palm striking out the candle. If the strikes are on target, the candle flame goes out with a kind of snapping sound. If the strikes are off target, you can wave your hand around for a good amount of time and the flame is simply not going out. In terms of your striking accuracy, yes, you can hit someone or kick someone and probably make them feel it. However, if you’re out of breath and your muscles are starving for oxygen, that strike isn’t going to be as vital as it could be. In a street confrontation that could be a lot more dangerous than in a sanctioned event in the octagon. If you have time this weekend, give the candle trick a try and see what I mean. In the meantime, let’s get into another breath control technique so that when you’re training you can add it in to your extra arsenal. Remember that if you have asthma or any other upper respiratory problems, please consult your physician. Although safe for most, if you are not used to breath control techniques you want to make sure it’s ok for you to proceed.

MMA MIXED UP BREATHING: Remember the rule of always breathing in and out through the nostrils and using good upper body posture when practicing. Breathe in pushing out your abdomen until you feel as if you have almost completed the breath. Hold that for 5 counts. Now, go the extra mile and pull the breath up into the upper lungs while inhaling more. Hold that for 3 counts. Exhale out of the nostrils. Note that this is going to feel very uncomfortable for a few times until you get used to manipulating your breath. The dynamics are kind of like a car I once owned that had 3 carburetors, the two subsequent ones opening at different speeds until the max was reached. This breath works the same way, expanding your lung capacity over time so that it responds to greater need. This breathing technique will also help you to gain control back over your breath if it is erratic.

* Never sit or lay down if you are seriously overheated or out of breath. Slowly walk it off while breathing deeply. As the erratic breath dissipates, you can sit and use this breath to recapture it completely.

Time Needed To Perform: 8-10 minutes
Best Time To Perform: Prior to training; as needed for breath recovery.