View Full Version : Normal vs Reverse Breathing

01-05-2005, 10:38 PM
Hi Paul
As you know I have recently retired and since then I have been digging out my old taichi magazine and re-reading them. I have also purchased your 32 Chen self defence application videos recently. Lately I have been training very religiously and suddenly I realised that you can have more explosive energy by reverse breathing. Your self defense move seems to make sense all of a sudden and I understand the meaning of using force when you are having no force now.
The reason I put this threat is because I have always refused to do or teach reverse breathing thinking this is harmful. This was told to me by my Qigong master from Singapore.
Please advise.

May the flow of Qi be with you always.


01-06-2005, 05:10 PM
Reverse breathing practiced improperly may cause people to hold their breath and develop valsava maneuvre. The blood supply to the heart may be impaired anytime when breathing is not correct.

An old TCM teaching also says that a pregnant woman shouldn't do forceful chen and reverse breathing, which I think is bunk. I did forceful fa jing up to the 7th month of my pregnancy. My 2 daughters are attractive, succesful young ladies and pretty good at Tai Chi, the youngest one won a local competition with Chen 56. I also danced during my pregnancy and my girls are pretty good dancers too.

REverse breathing is often practiced by Chen(and advanced Yang and Sun) stylists to deliver more force. In fact reverse breathing also happens automatically when you need more force, e.g. pushing a car etc. Monica Seles, a world-class tennis star, was nearly dismissed due to her breathing sounds when she naturally did reverse breathing to deliver more powerful forehands. Paul has written an article on"What is internal", so I wouldnt write much here.

I don't know what Paul advises, but I would advise to listen to your body. Do you feel sick and dizzy, than your breathing is incorrect. You seem to feel more force, so probably your technique is correct. View Chen 36 or 32 self-defence move" cover with hand and punch with red fist", than you will catch my drift

Dr. Paul Lam
01-15-2005, 06:54 AM
i agree with the general idea from Soraya. i believe it is important to feel and work with your own body. like the essence of tai chi, the explosive force while strong, should be natural not be forced. when you posture, breathing, internal strength, movement and everything else is right, the force and the breathing should come almost naturally.

Whether it is with or without Chen style force delivering, reverse abdomenal breathing is well accepted by many tai chi practitioners of different styles, I can't understand why it is dangerous provided right precautions were taken.