Rickson Gracie Breathing Technique: The Ultimate Guide

Do you know that a person can survive without food for seven days and two to three days without water, but without oxygen, you cannot survive for more than five minutes? Yes, that is as important as breathing is.

Breathing is an automatic process involving inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide from the body with the help of the respiratory organ lungs.

On average, a person breathes around 20,000 times a day. Breathing is like a device that takes control over the state of your mind. This article will discuss how breathing works, what Gracie’s breathing technique is, and how it is effective for us.

Breathing Mechanism

Breathing is a complex process, and to understand why we breathe, it is necessary first to understand the mechanism of breathing.

The lungs expand and contract without needing muscles; the diaphragm and intercostal muscles assist in moving the lungs. The nose and mouth are also part of the mechanical breathing system.

The phrenic nerve is essential for regulating the diaphragm’s motion and communicating its location to the brain. Breathing causes air to enter your lungs, transferring oxygen to your blood, essential for adequately functioning your muscles.

Simultaneously, waste gas called carbon dioxide travels from your blood to your lungs, where it is expelled. This procedure is known as “gas exchange.”

Why Breathing Is Good for You?

Breathing isn’t only a biological function and is beneficial in improving your physical and mental health. It also impacts the psychological functions in your body.

  • Breathing slowly lowers blood pressure and heart rate
  • It gives you positive energy and improves concentration
  • Decrease the stress hormones in the blood and calms your mind
  • It helps reduce the lactic acid buildup in muscles.
  • Breathing balances the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in our body. 

Difference Between Normal Chest and Diaphragmatic Breathing

Chest Breathing

When breathing through the chest, less air gets to the lower regions of the lungs, which often have higher blood pressure because of gravity.

Chest breathing can quickly pull in more air, which increases the risk of over-breathing, which is unhealthy. Breathing rapidly and shallowly in the chest area tends to expel excess carbon dioxide from the lungs and blood.

Research has shown that low CO2 levels in the lungs can trigger asthma attacks, and low blood CO2 levels can restrict oxygen delivery from hemoglobins to the organs and body tissues.

More prolonged chest breathing will tire you faster than diaphragmatic breathing when doing sports.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

In contrast to chest breathing through the mouth, diaphragmatic breathing via the nose is considered healthier and more effective.

The diaphragm breathing gets the air into the lower part of the lungs, which contains more blood, so more oxygen can diffused in the blood. Breathing with your diaphragm takes air slowly but deeply and doesn’t cause hyper-ventilation.

During workouts or training, if the oxygen levels in your blood are low, you will fatigue quickly; this can be prevented if the diaphragm breathing method is used.

Rickson Gracie Breathing Technique

Rickson Gracie is a great Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter. Gracie has spent his whole life on the mats. He took time to learn how to breathe correctly to make him a better fighter and improve his abilities.

We all have seen Gracie’s great breathing technique in his documentary Choke. He also shares his breathing technique in many health-related seminars. His son, Kron Gracie, a MMA fighter, also uses his father’s fantastic breathing technique to prepare for his fights.

Here’s how Gracie learned the popular breathing technique.

Emergence of Gracie’s Breathing Method

Rickson Gracie learned this effective breathing technique from his friend Orlando Cani, a yoga master. He developed his training technique called Ganastica Natural.

Ganastica Natural blends Jiu-jitsu, animal movement, and Hatha yoga. With 30 years of research behind it, Ginastica Natural is a comprehensive full-body weight training method that improves your quality of life, muscle tone, weight loss, and overall performance.

It gives you physical attributes like strength, endurance, mobility, core stability, balance, flexibility, and coordination. Adopting this technique in his daily routine helps Gracie strengthen his body and prepares him for prolonged fighting tournaments.

An Ultimate Guide to Learning Gracie’s Breathing Techniques

Rickson Gracie says that his breathing technique is relatively easy to learn. It is diaphragmatic breathing rather than chest breathing. You have to follow three simple steps to learn his breathing technique.

  • Step 1: The foremost step to learning his breathing technique is exhaling first. According to him, when we exhale first, it clears out our lungs by removing all the old gas, bringing in more fresh oxygen from the surroundings.
  • Step 2: Now, for exhaling first while breathing, it is also necessary to practice breathing through your diaphragm, which helps take in more oxygen and strengthens your lungs. In diaphragmatic breathing, keep your hand above your belly button instead of putting it on your chest.
  • Step 3: Understanding how to move your diaphragm is essential for the conditioning of your lungs. Your belly is not receiving any air. The diaphragmatic muscle pulls down on the belly as air enters, causing the belly to move. You can move your ribs using the diaphragmatic motion since you have to push the diaphragmatic muscle down to pass the air to the bottom part of the lungs.


Thus, a living organism cannot survive without oxygen. Oxygen is an essential element in our life. We get oxygen by breathing the air through the nose or mouth into the lungs.

Scientists have proved that breathing has numerous physical, mental, and psychological benefits on our bodies. Different breathing techniques help in altering the state of your mind.

Rickson Gracie, an exceptional BJJ fighter, has also adopted one of the breathing techniques in his daily routine to be more focused and relaxed and perform better on the mat. He preferred diaphragmatic breathing over chest breathing due to its numerous benefits on the body.

However, talking with your general physician about its risks and benefits is essential when incorporating this breathing technique into your daily life.

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