Differences in Rickson Gracie & Wim Hof Breathing Methods

Differences in Rickson Gracie & Wim Hof Breathing Methods

Breathing for BJJ?

You’re at the last 5 minutes of training, you’re rolling with a stronger, heavier yet lower belt. You are already at the end of you capacities, breathing hard and trying to hide your lack of breath. Your smile is less than honest, you pull guard not because you aim for a sweep or an armbar setup, but because all you need is a minute rest to operate at your minimum. You start breathing hard, and you remember, you need even more oxygen, so you add even more breath – what somehow even makes everything worst. What the hell you ask…So you spend all 5 minutes in your own guard making the roll absolute nonsense for you and your partner.




Sure, you go home, and you will google how to improve my BJJ cardio, and you get plenty of useless articles, and a ton of equipment advertisement. You are already busy, so most likely the idea to start adding HIIT sessions to your life is out of the question, so now what?


Have you ever thought about breathing training?

Rickson Gracie and Wim Hof have different approaches to breathing.

Wim Hof emphasizes an over-breathing mediation routine to get your chemicals moving and for lung strength. Rickson Gracie emphasizes forced exhales for intense exercise such as Jiu-Jitsu.

If you’ve been in the bjj scene for a couple of years you’ve probably heard about the Wim Hof Method. This is a breathing method developed by a dutchman of the same name. This is a fella that swims in the Antarctic, rides the Kilimanjaro in shorts and is in impeccable shape.

This odd system rests on 3 pillars:

  •  cold therapy
  • breathing
  • commitment

But enough theory how does it look in practice?

“wim HOF method a breathing technique so it is a simple and easy breathing technique that you can use for your morning routine to start off your day. It is a simple way how to learn the skill of meditation and how to meditate actively and use the breathing to induce those states of relaxation and meditation.

So it is active breathing exercise that is there to help you to improve your focus and start off your day in the right way and oftentimes I can use it before training or even before competition to get myself in the right state of mind and induce some of those flow states that we’re all looking for in our competition training and daily laps” – Artur Paulins said on the Yoga For BJJ channel

How the Gracies breath when doing Jiu-Jitsu:

Rickson Gracie and all members of the Gracie use a special method of breathing when doing Jiu-Jitsu: Percussive breathing. This involves a normal inhalation followed by several short, sharp exhalations (saying shh, shh, shh, shh, shh). These are actually rythmic diaphragmatic contractions.

This was one of the Gracie family’s best kept secret for many years.




Percussive breathing techniques can increase the expansion of the ribcage and the amount of air exchanged through the lungs. The deeper you breathe, the more oxygen you bring into your system.

Percussive breathing is defined as “breath with sound and rhythm.” While a regular breath is seldom noticed, percussive breathing sounds like an orchestra. The rhythmic pattern of inhaling and exhaling is more challenging than it first appears. When the exhalations get longer, you are working to improve your cardiovascular capacity.

How to do Percussive breathing:

Inhale: Inhale deeply, using accordion breathing. Accordion breathing is lateral chest breathing. Imagine that your rib cage is an accordion. On the inhale, the accordion expands laterally, and on the exhale, the accordion squeezes back together.

Exhale: Using percussive breathing, exhale for 5 beats (saying shh, shh, shh, shh, shh).
Percussive breathing is forced exhalation using the abdominal muscles; think of forcing the air out in short percussive blows.