On March 3, 2013, Joe DeJesus and I attended an Iron Palm Seminar at the Westchester Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Qi-Gong Center in White Plains, NY. I have studied Jeet Kun Do, Shotokan Karate, Krav Maga,Taekwondo, and currently Iwama Aikido.
While at the seminar, I spoke to Master Kwong and his disciple John Rivera, (we are not sure yet if we are related, that will be another blog). As Joe and I spoke to Master Kwong, the conversation developed into breathing. Master Kwong explained something that I have learned from the different martial arts I have studied and every Aikido class I have taken from Sensei Steve: “Breathe.” Breathing is life! No matter what we do, we have to breathe.
When we practice, we need to practice breathing. It is an important part of training. It trains your body and mind to be calm. When we are calm, we are focused, alert, and at the ready for anything. Our vision sees more. Our hearing hears more. Our reaction deals with things more efficiently, and we are able to come out of situations without stress.
When we hold our breath, or breathe rapidly, our mind and body become unfocused and erratic. John Rivera explained to the seminar attendees how he developed his Iron Palm, and all that is involved in training. He stated that if you do not develop your breathing, your training will not flow. He is right.
In Aikido, when we do randori (translated as “ceasing the chaos”), I have noticed that because of not breathing our mind and body become chaotic. But when we control our breathing, we become more alert, our body reacts quicker, our vision can see the opening, and we become less distracted and less tired.
I walked away from the seminar with that in mind, and will train harder to develop breathing into my training. I would like to thank Master Kwong for conversing with Joe and me. I would like to thank John Rivera for his demonstration of Iron Palm, and showing me the importance of breathing.