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Exhaling

In my dojo, we exhale when we strike or block. It sounds like hissing.

The reason for exhaling is to squeeze most of the air out of your lungs and to compress your body. The sound of the exhale is irrelevant and, in fact, it can be done quietly. The purpose of the sound, at least with beginners, is to make sure that they are breathing and exhaling properly.

Students who do not exhale properly look like drums. The vibrations caused by their movements reverberate in their drumlike bodies causing disruptive shockwaves.

Imagine a plastic bottle half-filled with water. If you roll the bottle on the ground, the water will slosh around and cause the bottle to roll unevenly. If you squueze the water out, the bottle will roll smoothly. The same is true of the body. When the air is squeezed out, movements are much cleaner.

Also, lungs filled with air make a good target.

Finally, when you move in a wavelike manner, it is important for the energy not to hit air pockets which will dissipate the wave. When your body is compressed and the air is squeezed out, the wave will go faster as long as the density is maintained and the striking part tapers (like an arm or leg). This is the secret of whips.

See Body Waves.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin