If you have ever rolled with a BJJ master or advanced practitioner, what is something that distinguishes them from beginners in BJJ? It’s not just superior technique. It’s the way they breath.
Very often you will notice that they are breathing in a controlled and calm manner, with regular intervals. Some of them even have patterns for example: a deep inhalation through the nose followed by a few strong exhalations through the nose. Your opponent huffing and puffing is also a sign that he’s gassing and that it would be the right time for you to take advantage of the situation.
Many of us of breath in the wrong way in our everyday lives by only using our lungs. While there isn’t one correct way to breathe during a Jiu-Jitsu roll, the breath should come from the diaphragm (the most efficient breathing muscle). Breathing that way is done by contracting the diaphragm, a muscle located horizontally between the chest cavity and stomach cavity. Air enters the lungs and the belly expands during this type of breathing.
This deep breathing is marked by expansion of the abdomen rather than the chest when breathing. It is considered by some to be a healthier and fuller way to ingest oxygen, and is sometimes used as a therapy for hyperventilation, anxiety disorders and stuttering.
To breathe diaphragmatically, or with the diaphragm, one must draw air into the lungs in a way which will expand the stomach and not the chest. It is best to perform these breaths as long, slow intakes of air – allowing the body to absorb all of the inhaled oxygen while simultaneously relaxing the breather.
Why breath this way: Diaphragmatic breathing actually fills up the majority of the lungs with oxygen – up to 50% more than chest-breathing or shallow breathing.