Please take a look at Articles on self-defense/conflict/violence for introductions to the references found in the bibliography page.

Please take a look at my bibliography if you do not see a proper reference to a post.

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Hey, NOTHING here is PERSONAL, get over it - Teach Me and I will Learn!

When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:

I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me

I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me

I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull

I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death

I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed

I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes

I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados

I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers

The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn

Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung


The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books. Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.

Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.

“What you are reading right now is a blog. It’s written and posted by me, because I want to. I get no financial remuneration for writing it. I don’t have to meet anyone’s criteria in order to post it. Not only I don’t have an employer or publisher, but I’m not even constrained by having to please an audience. If people won’t like it, they won’t read it, but I won’t lose anything by it. Provided I don’t break any laws (libel, incitement to violence, etc.), I can post whatever I want. This means that I can write openly and honestly, however controversial my opinions may be. It also means that I could write total bullshit; there is no quality control. I could be biased. I could be insane. I could be trolling. … not all sources are equivalent, and all sources have their pros and cons. These needs to be taken into account when evaluating information, and all information should be evaluated. - God’s Bastard, Sourcing Sources (this applies to this and other blogs by me as well; if you follow the idea's, advice or information you are on your own, don't come crying to me, it is all on you do do the work to make sure it works for you!)

“You should prepare yourself to dedicate at least five or six years to your training and practice to understand the philosophy and physiokinetics of martial arts and karate so that you can understand the true spirit of everything and dedicate your mind, body and spirit to the discipline of the art.” - cejames (note: you are on your own, make sure you get expert hands-on guidance in all things martial and self-defense)

“All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice. I should not speak so boldly if it were my due to be believed.” - Montaigne

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The Valsalva Maneuver in Sanchin Kata of Karate

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

I remember lifting weights and using my ability to hold my breath while straining to life that next higher weight. As I understand it now that was what they call the, “Valsalva Maneuver.” I also found that in karate practice of the sanchin kata that most hard-style practitioners resort to this maneuver to achieve the appearance of strength and power. 

The valsalva method in sanchin is about holding your breath and straining the musculature with isometric/isotonic tensing or straining. Apparently this increased pressure can bring about, at its worst, cardiac arrest especially in those vulnerable to heart issues. It was once stated that if you are not vulnerable to heart issues then it should be ok to use and after all they can lift heavier weights easier if they use the method. Well, apparently not so much.

It is also a matter of medical understanding that holding your breath and exerting can cause a stroke. It is also believed in karate communities who practice sanchin that the more strain, the more tensing of our musculature and the slow restricted breathing will help strengthen our lungs and breathing but that is actually simply not true. 

It was also stated by a respiratory therapist taht using the valsalva maneuver, with excessive pressure on the inhale, practitioners can burst a bulb in their lungs as well as create excessive intra-cranial pressure that would possibly cause a stroke. 

In some cases using this type of breathing can cause our windpipes to constrict from the vacuum created and cause a weakening of our windpipe and as a result adversely effect the speaking voice and invite apnea. 

This brings back how one practices sanchin. Yes it is a form of isotonic and isometric type training but the use of our breath is way off kilter. I have advocated that if you need to hold or restrict your breathing then you are doing it wrong be it weight lifting or doing the sanchin breathing exercise. 

I have witnessed many sanchin breathing methods in both sanchin and in other kata where the breathing is loud and the body and breathing either perform the valsalva maneuver or come very close to it. In truth, to practice and benefit from sanchin breathing one must:
  • breath normally and without strain.
  • inhale through the nose.
  • exhale through the mouth.
  • breathe normally and without strain.
  • adjust the muscle tension aspects according to the inhale and exhale, not the other way around (breathe controls the muscle tension, etc.)
  • breath normally and without strain.
  • the degree of muscle tension, i.e., sequential locking and sequential relaxation, should be slight, not hard. It is like flexing the muscles but not to the extent seen in body building demonstrations (body building demo’s tend to resort to the valsalva maneuver because it is believed to pump up the muscles and make them look better).
  • WARNING: I are not a doctor and my recommendations although acceptable to my practice should be validated and approved by appropriate medical authorities before attempting …
I try to remember that pressures applied are actually stresses and dependent on those stresses can be both beneficial and detrimental to our health, fitness and overall longevity. We human males tend to go a bit crazy when we think adding a bit more strain and tensing the muscles a bit more along with controlling our breathing to the point of red faces high loud sounds of breathing are stronger and better and more powerful than they really are, reality can be misleading in our internal mental world vs. the reality of our external world. 


Valsalva maneuver: A maneuver in which one tries with force to exhale with the windpipe closed, impeding the return of venous blood to the heart.

Physiology of the Valsalva effect:

The Valsalva is generally divided into four separate phases.
  • Phase 1: Onset of straining and the beginning of an increase in intrathoracic pressure.
  • Phase 2: The persistent straining and maintenance of the increased intrathoracic pressure.
  • Phase 3: Release of breath-holding and glottic pressure with a sudden drop in the intrathoracic pressure.
  • Phase 4: Sudden increase in cardiac output and aortic pressure.
Note: read the entire article in the third URL under the bibliography that follows this article. 

The VM is the forced exhalation against a closed glottis (the part of your throat that can close and, among other things, prevent exhalation).

There are four phases during the Valsalva maneuver.
  1. Phase one is the onset of straining with increased intrathoracic pressure. The heart rate does not change but blood pressure rises.
  2. Phase two is marked by the decreased venous return and consequent reduction of stroke volume and pulse pressure as straining continues. The heart rate increases and blood pressure drops.
  3. Phase three is the release of straining with decreased intrathoracic pressure and normalization of pulmonary blood flow.
  4. Phase four marks the blood pressure overshoot (in the normal heart) with return of the heart rate to baseline.
Bibliography (Click the link)

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