Dan-Jun Breathing

Breathing is an essential and fundamental factor in Martial Arts. It has been used to develop internal power (Ki), self-confidence, concentration, and good health, which in itself lead to a fruitful longevity. Dan-Jun in Korean means “Red Field,” “Hot Point,” or “Center of Energy.” In Japanese, it is pronounced “Tandem;” in Vietnamese, “Dan Dien;” and in Chinese, “Tantien.” It refers to an area located two inches below the navel. This area is the center of gravity of the human body and, at the same time, the seat of “Ki” (internal power of vital energy). Dan-Jun breathing is an important martial arts exercise for the development of “Ki” that is used primarily with: (1) Meditation and (2) Execution of Martial Arts techniques.

Breathing & Meditation Method

Most people only use the top portion of their lung while breathing. They fail to fill the bottom as well as the top portion of their lung. When you inhale, imagine the air fills your entire abdomen with energy while concentrating on your Dan-Jun. When you exhale, imagine this energy travels through your body while the air is being released through your nose.

There are many different breathing formulas while meditating. In all the formulas, Inhaling and exhaling should be executed slowly. Some of the breathing formulas are shown below:

  1. Inhale for 5 seconds and exhale for 5 seconds
  2. Inhale for 5 seconds, hold 5 seconds, and exhale for 5 seconds
  3. Inhale for 5 seconds, hold 5 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds, and hold 5 seconds
  4. Inhale for 5 seconds, hold 10 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds, and hold 5 seconds
  5. Inhale for 10 seconds, hold 15 seconds, exhale for 10 seconds, etc.

The length of time you inhale, hold, and exhale can be gradually increased to the point that you can remain idle for one minute or even longer. Choose one of the above breathing formulas and practice it while meditating or performing Tai-Chi Chuan. As a result, you will increase your “Ki” and attain spiritual unification.

Dan-Jun Breathing and Martial Arts Techniques

Another method of practicing Dan-Jun breathing consists of inhaling and, while holding the air in, forces it down to your Dan-Jun. Now, feel the energy stored in your Dan-Jun travelling to your muscles, giving you a significant and intrinsic power. While you force the air down to your Dan-Jun, you may exhale very slowly (tongue touches your upper teeth slightly). Do not tighten your face as this might cause dizziness. This method allows you to concentrate or focus your “Ki” on the part of the body that is used in the breathing technique.

Similarly, Dan-Jun breathing can be used while practicing Taekwondo forms. When a block or a strike is executed, it should be done while the air inhaled is forced down instantly to the Dan-Jun. Now, imagine the power generated in the Dan-Jun and transferred to your hands or feet. After the technique has been executed with real power, exhale while relaxing your body. You can feel rhythmical movement at the very moment you execute the technique.

Kihap is another kind of Dan-Jun breathing. Kihap is a scream you make without tightening your Dan-Jun. You should feel the air coming out slowly from your abdomen when you make Kihap.

As mentioned above, Dan-Jun is the center of gravity of a human body. Concentrating on the Dan-Jun after inhaling means adding weight to the center of gravity of your body. The heavier this center of gravity is, the more stable your body is. Therefore, you can perform Taekwondo, kicking, punching, or any kind of physical activity.

Dan-Jun Breathing and Breaking

Before executing any type of breaking technique, you should concentrate on Dan-Jun breathing. If executed correctly, you should be able to visualize the power generated at the Dan-Jun and transfer this power to your hand or foot, whichever you use in your breaking. This is a critical moment, the moment of visualization that the breaking technique is successfully executed. Your hand or foot should be very tight only at the moment your hand or foot makes contact with the target. If your arm and hand is tight at the beginning of the execution or before you make contact with the target, you will not be able to obtain maximum speed because your muscle is too tense. When a muscle is too tense, there is no fluid motion.

Dan-Jun Breathing and Free Sparring

Any attack you try to execute must take place while you inhale, concentrate the air in your Dan-Jun, and have the maximum amount of “Ki” ready for use. If possible, attack your opponent while he/she is exhaling, when his/her “Ki” is temporarily drained out. It is at this point that your opponent is more vulnerable.


In general, Dan-Jun breathing can be used in many situations. For example, when you are nervous or under stress, Dan-Jun breathing can help you remain calm; therefore, you can recover your serenity and think more clearly. Practice of Dan-Jun breathing daily will result in better confidence, better concentration, and better health.

The importance of Dan-Jun breathing cannot be over emphasized in the training program of a martial artist. It takes constant practice to be able to do it automatically. It unlocks a tremendous potential by the release of the internal force or vital energy centered on the Dan-Jun. Through proper breathing, one attains self-confidence, good health, and spiritual unification, which is the ultimate goal of a true martial artist and the universal desire of all human beings.