From Nen abilities to Ninjutsu hand signs, we have seen various power systems in anime allow characters to perform unfathomable feats of strength and endure great deals of pain. However, one power system has been of particular interest to more than just the animanga community. Breathing techniques have become especially popular with the groundbreaking manga/anime series, Demon Slayer.
Total Concentration Breathing
There are several different swordsmanship techniques known as "breathing styles" that have been established by swordsmen who teach and practice the esoteric Total Concentration Breathing method used by Demon Slayers in battle.
By utilizing the user's movements, methods, and talents, the majority of well-known breathing techniques mimic a certain element of nature (such as flame, water, or wind). Demon Slayers that use Breathing Styles also have longer-ranged weapon attacks because of shockwaves or air pressure created by the weapon itself when swinging and hitting.
To meet the battle demands of a Demon Slayer, new breathing techniques are continuously being created, which encourages the employment of new weaponry when going after demons (i.e. flails and whips). Other elements, such as animals, plants, and emotions, are represented by these breathing patterns (i.e. serpents, flowers and love). However, those who are less skilled and proficient in their style will picture it less than someone who is. When using a Breathing Style, users automatically envision themselves altering the environment, providing the sense that magic is being utilized.
The Ripple (Hamon)
In addition to Demon Slayer, the long-standing popular manga/anime series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure also displays breathing techniques utilized by characters in the earliest parts of the series. The heroes of Phantom Blood and Battle Tendency mostly derive their energy from ripple. In Stardust Crusaders, it makes a brief appearance as well. The force known as The Ripple (Hamon) is utilized in the ancient martial art style known as Sendo (Send, literally "Way of The Hermit"). A person trained in the Ripple technique may produce energy that is identical to the energy of the sun through self-controlled breathing, and this energy appears as ripples all over their body. This energy can be employed in a variety of ways and is lethal to the Pillar Men, zombies, and vampires.
The ripple's energy is the same as that of sun beams. This energy, which the human body can create through regulated breathing, may alter the bloodstream, the rest of the body, and other things that come into touch with it. The Ripple is visible to the normal person and appears as sparks that resemble electricity.
A Ripple user is able to deploy a wide range of methods in conjunction with their own strategies, opening up a wide range of combat styles. By imbuing an item with the Ripple, users may transform any object into a weapon. A Ripple-charged object will gain an enhancement to one or more of its properties, making it a more effective tool or weapon. The ripples are visible in the liquid because water and oil are two liquids that carry the ripples extremely efficiently. Only living objects, such as roses, are able to store the energy; all materials may carry the ripple to some amount.
Real World Application
Wim Hof, sometimes referred to as The Iceman, is a Dutch extreme athlete and motivational speaker famed for his tolerance of cold. He once held Guinness World Records for swimming under ice, maintaining continuous full-body contact with ice, and running a half marathon barefoot on snow and ice. He has been known to survive being totally submerged in ice water for almost 2 hours. This is done through forced exhalation, huff drops his oxygen levels in order to supercharge his body’s thermoregulation and release euphoric chemicals to numb the pain.
References of real world application don't just end with The Iceman, as more notably the Bajau Tribe have been recorded to perform exceptional feats of holding their breath. The Bajau people, commonly known as "Sea Nomads," have traveled the Southeast Asian waters in houseboats for more than 1000 years, foraging for food by free diving with spears. They currently reside on the Indonesian islands and are renowned throughout the region for their exceptional breath-holding abilities. With just a set of weights and a pair of wooden goggles, Bajau divers may descend to depths of 70 meters. The Bajau diving time haven't been accurately reported so it is unknown how long they can stay below, however one of the Bajua told researcher Melissa Ilardo that he once dived for 13 minutes straight.
It's believed that they spend around 60% of the time underwater when fishing. These people were literally born to dive, and because of the way of living that has always been a part of their culture for millennia, their bodies have adapted to the environment with each generation. However, the Bajau tribe's inhabitants were born with the ability to hold their breath for extended periods of time without the need for years of effort or special equipment. People that hold their breath for long periods of time have years of practice training in different techniques, but the tribe people of Bajau are born were truly this.
Breathing techniques are not just another power system from your favorite manga/anime, there are real people in our world attempting to achieve the seemingly impossible through rigorous training and conditioning. Becoming like some of our favorite main characters is more possible than you may have thought. Take a deep breath, and see things from another perspective.
Thanks For Reading!