Breathing during the fight

There is much and justifiable focus on breathing techniques aimed at self-regulation. Think tactical breathing, extended exhalation, physiological sighing, 1 breath reset and so on. But what about breathing during the ‘fight’? Did you ever tried to grapple on the mat or on the street with a wrong breathing pattern? Chances are you were out of breath pretty quickly, had to tap out or panicked. Calm down breating techniques are not enough, you also need functional breathing (we just give it a name).

What is functional breathing during “combat” (insert grappling, boxing, physical confrontation, arrest and control…)? Or during resuscitation or inserting an IV. Do you think this will work itself out? That you don’t have to learn to breathe functionally? No there is more to breathing training than mastering selfregulation breathing skills (these are also skills that you have to learn and train). Functional breathing is a skill like any other skill as every martial artist, weightlifter or diver will tel you.

So there is more to breathing training than mastering selfregulation breathing skills (these are also skills taht you have to learn and train). Let’s call it functional breathing for a moment to give it a name. See our masterclass or visit Rick van Dijk who can tell you a lot about functional and dysfunctional breathing habits (yes these are becoming habits).

So functional breathing during combat is a skill that must be learned and does not come naturally. That’s why in strength training you learn to exhale when you apply force or brace when you move a heavy weight. In BJJ, you learn specific ways of breathing for when you are physically under pressure, for example. And in all contact sports (and thus also LEO) you learn “breathing behind the shield”. Disfunctional breathing during combat is not what you want! Listen to the lessons from the old karate, judo but also Gracie jiu-jitsu masters. Functional breathing is a skill and disfunctional breathing a very common problem.

All these skills don’t come naturally, just look at how many people in physical duels hold their breath, exhale badly, brace incorrectly, breathe vertically, etc.

Functional breathing is a skill that, like other skills, you can automate so that in the moment you don’t have to think about it. All that is then required is a piece of “awareness” so that you can adjust your breathing in the moment.

As in motor learning, there is no ideal breathing technique that works for everyone in all situations. That’s why we offer them in our scan and breathe module as options rather than solutions. A concept I learned from Christian Ytterbol from his research on mental skill training for snipers. So: in addition to breathing techniques for self-regulation, functional breathing training is also much needed.

Masterclass Scan en Breathe

Scherpschutters developed a new master class scan and breathe in which you will learn the following:

Effective and science-based breathing and scanning techniques you can use to perform under pressure! Such as Tactical Breathing, Extended Exhalation, Physiological Sigh, scanning procedures!

Sixteen Standard Operational Scan and Breathe Procedures (SOP) to apply every day and under different conditions.

Basic knowledge of the respiratory (breathing) and visual systems.

The fundamental law of performing under pressure

The Scherpschutters mastery pyramid

The Scherpschutters performance cycle


Podcast with Christian Ytterbol about how to deliver mental skills in to a sniper course. He talks about the important concept op offering options rather than solutions. Like we do in our masterclass scan and breathe!