The technique of breathing with the diaphragm, which Rickson learned from Orlando Cani in the early eighties, is not as complicated as people tend to think. Its benefits, according to Rickson, are hard to overstate, and encompass many aspects of his life.
Our recent interview with the legend allowed him to speak at length on the subject. Enjoy the first part of his comments below.
“Definitely the breathing system is natural and is easy, because it's already within you—you're born with the potential to breathe properly. The point is: when you're born and you're slapped on the butt and you 'Whaa! Aah! Aah!' you start breathing, and you're well and alive, and it's a done deal—you already know how to survive by breathing, so you know how to breathe. That's not exactly true, because even though you know how to move your lungs and [heavy breathing], if you breathe in the higher lung, which is a smaller part of your—
“The lung is big on the back; here it's small; it's like a pyramid; so the air comes through the back. So if you don't use the lungs properly, every breath you do, you have at least 30 or 40 percent less oxygen than you're supposed to have. And because the oxygen fuel is the most important and relevant for us—you can spend seven days without food, you can spend three days without water, but you cannot spend five minutes without air. So the necessity of hyperventilation is crucial.
“And you see animals: a dog, when they breathe [breathing sounds], they breathe diaphragmatically [dog breathing sounds of different intensities]. They naturally breathe in the diaphragm. Humans breathe here [panting], claustrophobic. So if you don't know how to breathe and you don't learn, you're never gonna grasp the idea of what a deep breath means.”