Science & The Martial Arts
News and research that provide insight
and understanding of the martial arts and related activities.
Breathing Through The Nose
Your teachers were right. Most of us have had our martial arts, yoga,
qigong or other teacher tell us, “breathe in through your nose
and exhale through your mouth.” We did it, but never knew why.
They probably didn’t know either, but their teachers had told them
the same thing.
Now, science has given a clue as to the “why.” Research
has found that the paranasal sinuses, those cavities in the frontal section
of the skull that are connected to the nasal passage, produce nitric
oxide (NO) which in turn becomes part of the gas intake in nasally derived
What does this mean? Well, for health advocates this is important since
NO acts to help sterilize the sinuses as well as the nasal air passageways.
Thus, NO is part of the body’s immune defense system. Just as important,
however, especially for athletes such as martial artists, NO when taken
in with the breath helps relax and open the air passages that branch
out like an upside down tree. Thus, more air can get to all parts of
the lung (the bronchial tree) so more oxygen can to be absorbed in the
About The Author:
Christopher Caile is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of FightingArts.com.
He has been a student of the martial arts for over 43 years. He first
started in judo. Then he added karate as a student of Phil Koeppel in
1959. Caile introduced karate to Finland in 1960 and then hitch-hiked
eastward. In Japan (1961) he studied under Mas Oyama and later in the
US became a Kyokushinkai Branch Chief. In 1976 he followed Kaicho Tadashi
Nakamura when he formed Seido karate and is now a 6th degree black belt
in that organization's honbu dojo. Other experience includes aikido,
diato-ryu aikijujutsu, kenjutsu, kobudo, Shinto Muso-ryu jodo, kobudo,
boxing and several Chinese fighting arts including Praying mantis, Pak
Mei (White Eyebrow) and shuai chiao. He is also a student of Zen. A long-term
student of one branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qigong, he is
a personal disciple of the qi gong master and teacher of acupuncture
Dr. Zaiwen Shen (M.D., Ph.D.) and is Vice-President of the DS International
Chi Medicine Association. He holds an M.A. in International Relations
from American University in Washington D.C. and has traveled extensively
through South and Southeast Asia. He frequently returns to Japan and
Okinawa to continue his studies in the martial arts, their history and
tradition. In his professional life he has been a businessman, newspaper
journalist, inventor and entrepreneur.