Martial Arts for Your Mind

Picture yourself with an incredible amount of energy and walking into a room. Do you think people would notice? Of course they would, people and animals are hardwired to respond to POWER. It is a fundamental law of nature. If a lion walked into a room, you’d take notice because you respect its power, energy, and abilities. The people who are not aware are usually victims and consequently they also miss much of the BEAUTY in life. How do you attain such powers? Proper breathing is the 1st step.

I first spotted this breathing technique while deployed in Kuwait. Since then, I’ve heard it called four count breathing, combat breathing, yoga breathing, Zen breathing, and concentrated breathing. In Kuwait I was part of a joint task force that included the Army and Air Force. On one afternoon we received a threat of scud missile attack. Grab your chemical warfare gear and head to a bomb shelter. We were anticipating the next alert which would mean putting on our gas masks and bracing for the boom. I kept my mind busy with an improvised game of sand hockey. It’s like air hockey but instead of using a puck we used a dead beetle and it was played in the sand. The Airman next to me was kind of crying and hyperventilating. He was clearly stressed. Some Soldiers and Airmen looked away from him with a bit of disgust. Others watched me flick a beetle around in the sand. I remember there was this one guy that was staring at the crying Airman, as if sizing him up. It only took a moment then he made contact. He reached out and put his hand on the Airman’s shoulder and said “look into my eyes and follow my breathing, breathe in for 1-2-3-4 seconds, hold your breath for 1-2-3-4 seconds, and breathe out for 1-2-3-4 seconds. You feel better now.” They repeated this cycle four times and there was an immediate positive change in the Airman’s physiology. I stopped playing my beetle hockey and found myself mesmerized by what just happened. It was an amazing instant TRANSFORMATION. The Airman had stopped crying, was sitting with good posture and looked composed. How could a person’s disposition change so much in the span of two minutes?

Being a martial artist, my mind raced with excitement about all the applications of this new breathing technique. If I added this to my meditation sessions how quickly could I relax my active mind? What if I did this four count breathing right before my big fights? I could do this in the car while waiting at red lights. My CHI would grow to the point that I would become a Zen Master. Reality set in, breathing is just the first step, but with other steps these ideals could be possible.