“Your Breathing Is Improper,” Kenpo Expert Warns

VANCOUVER—Local Kenpo karate instructor Dick “The Tiger” Rickson has a message for his students: Stop breathing improperly, or die.

As the newest inductee into the Red Belt International Karate Hall of Fame, Rickson knows a little something about breath. More than one hundred eager and respectful learners in his three area Kenpo dojos obviously agree. Some join for health and fitness reasons, others for self-defense–but no matter the primary motivation or goal, all are tutored in the ancient ways of breathing.

Senior student Brent Adler testified to the importance of correct respiration. “When I first met sensei, he said I was weak and had no self-confidence, and it was all due to my lazy, careless breathing habits. At first I didn’t believe it, but then I watched his demonstration.”

B.O.B. training dummy
“B.O.B.” dummy

Happy to share his own hard-won martial arts knowledge, Adler repeats this show monthly for a fresh group of recruits.

“The essence of correct breathing lies in controlling inhalation and exhalation. Always coordinate an advance with your exhale; match a retreat with an inhale. When you strike, breathe out forcefully through the mouth; when you block, breathe in calmly through the nose.” Adler punches a stationary training dummy, known as “Bob”, to prove the effectiveness of his breathing technique. “With time and self-discipline, this drill builds your ki energy power,” he said.

Rickson-sensei is not without his critics. Other martial arts experts have charged that his “proper” Kenpo breathing methods are laughably crude, and blind to the subtleties of combat and medical science. Pointing to a long line of trophies along the window, Rickson dismisses these objections. After winning more than a dozen regional and national one-step sparring competitions, he replies with quiet confidence, his track record speaks for itself.

“To become a true Kenpo warrior,” teaches Tiger Dick, “one must humbly respect and master the art of breath.”


  1. That is just not fair. How can the competition hold up when they find out they are about to fight “Tiger Dick.”


  2. You do manage to find the crackpots don’t you Chris. Blimey, this bloke is completely ‘out to lunch’. Breathing is immensely important and should be considered properly, as in regard to physiology, rather than the load of old tosh Tiger Dick spouts.

  3. Scott,
    The competition cannot hold up. They go limp with fear.

    Jon Law,
    I don’t just find the crackpots, I celebrate them. After all, they keep this blog in business! I think satire like this is more fun than the Bullshido approach of “everybody sucks (but us)”.

  4. He has internal power. His breathing is connected to the core, the dantian/hara. For most this power must be rehabilated by understanding how to engage the dantian in conjunction with breathing or one is lucky enough to be natural. Piezoelectrics of connective tissue allow for hydraulic like mechanics in the body… (for those who think they know physiology or science.) Use of the hara core is basic of internal martial which is now rare. His results should speak for themselves yet still denial. Its not easy.

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