Monday, July 12, 2010


The original Karate Kid movie is a genuine classic, with a story that pulls you in and characters that are genuinely human. The sequel, on the other hand, is a pretty disappointing follow up, as the villains become more cartoony than ever, and the story devolves into a mostly uninteresting piece of fluff. The last time I had seen “The Karate Kid part 2” was most probably more than 20 years ago, when I was still very little. I had very fond memories of the movie, primarily because I found the Japanese landscape that was presented to be so fascinating. While this aspect of the film is still true, sadly, the rest of it just doesn’t hold up. I find the opening sequence to be utterly fantastic, though, but after the words “six months later” appear on screen, things quickly go downhill.


Alright, but what about the martial arts, the physical conditioning and so on? Is there anything concerning physical fitness and activity that is worth talking about? Yes, there is, and I don’t mean the secret to Miyagi-do Karate, either. Seriously, fighting skills that are patterned after a child’s toy drum are pretty much conditioned in us at, what, the age of 3? Ever see kids in a playground try to honestly fight with their fists? It’ll look something like that, yeah. So, needless to say, it’s pretty useless in real life and isn’t what this article is about.


The aspect of “The Karate Kid part 2” that I wish to talk about is the breathing exercise that Miyagi teaches Daniel near the beginning of the film. Does this work in real life? Yes, it absolutely does, and I’ll teach you how to do it.

1.    QUIET

Find a quiet place and sit down on a chair. The area you’re in doesn’t have to be completely sealed in. A bit of background noise is fine (which is almost impossible to avoid in most circumstances in today’s modern world, anyway), but try to find the quietest area you have easy access to.


Now, sit up straight in the chair, with your back resting on it properly. Don’t strain yourself, though. Try to find a position where you know you’re sitting in a perfectly formal and straight position, but still relaxed. Place both hands palms down onto your thighs and close your eyes.

Empty your mind of all thoughts one by one. Our minds are typically overflowing with ideas, which sometimes cause us stress. You’ll find that the less you think about, the more relaxed you become, so that’s what we’re going to do now. Imagine each thought in your head being rolled up like a newspaper page and stored in a drawer. Do this for each thought until your mind is a blank.


Notice your breathing. Inhale deeply and feel your abdominal area expand as it takes in the air. Inhale slower than you normally would, but not too slow, and breath in and out only through the nostrils. Feel your breath going into your nostrils and down into your belly, then feel it rising back up as you exhale. Concentrate on your breathing as if it is the only thing in the world. Do this over and over several times until you are absolutely relaxed.


While doing the exercise, from time to time you might notice that some of the thoughts you locked up in the drawer creep back in to bother you, reminding you of the troubles you might have in the real world. Pay them no mind and return your absolute concentration to your breath. Breath in slowly, feeling all the air entering you seep into every pore of your body, your belly expanding as it does. Then exhale and feel it flowing out of you once again.


You can perform the exercise for as long as you wish. Form some people, 5 minutes is enough, but others take an hour for just this activity. Just don’t fall asleep! However long you wish to do it is up to you, but keep at it until you feel yourself totally at peace, with all your stress removed and your body more energized than any cup of coffee could possibly make you feel. When you feel that you’ve had enough, you should have more clarity in you mind, and be more focused than before.


Will this make you a better carpenter like it did Daniel? Well, that depends, but if you’ve never done carpentry before, the answer will most probably be no, so don’t try that nail trick at home, kids! You might get seriously hurt if you mess up. And don't even think about using this technique to break blocks of ice, either.

You should, however feel very relaxed and focused, as Daniel most probably did in the movie. Reorganizing your thoughts and flushing out all the stress in your body can have amazing benefits that you may never have felt before.


Perform this activity as many times as you wish, wherever you choose, and also in whatever position you wish. It doesn’t need to be performed sitting down, though that is the ideal position for a beginner to get a hang of it. If you try it lying down the first time, the temptation to sleep instead of emptying your mind and relaxing is too great. You can also do it standing up, if you wish, but I wouldn’t recommend doing it while you’re in a queue.

Hopefully you’ll find this technique effective and find some use for it in your daily life. If you have any other questions about this method, or have other breathing techniques that you know about, then drop me a comment below because I’d love to hear about them!
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