I gassed out completely in my first BJJ tournament. A big part was because I didn’t know how to breathe.

Today, we’re talking about the Rickson Gracie breathing technique. Rickson Gracie is a name you have to know if you’re into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This guy is a legend!

Now, I tried a bunch of different ways to control my breathing, but Rickson’s method is a game-changer, especially for BJJ.

When I use it, I feel calmer, my mind gets sharper, and I get way more out of my drilling and rolling sessions. That’s why I want to share this gem with you.

Breathe: The Rickson Gracie Breathing Technique

Who is Rickson Gracie?

If you’re into BJJ or MMA, Rickson Gracie is a name you should know. He’s a legend in the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

He’s part of the Gracie family, the fathers of BJJ. He perfected the art of BJJ and competed around the world.

But he’s not just a fighter; he’s also a teacher. He has his own academy where he teaches BJJ.

Ever seen the documentary “Choke”? If not, you need to check it out. It’s truly inspiring. You’ll see Rickson doing wild yoga moves on the beach and his unique breathing. That breathing isn’t just for show; it played a big role in Rickson’s success and his son Kron’s fighting career.

Origins of Rickson Gracie’s Breathing Method

Rickson didn’t come up with this method all on his own. Rickson learned from Orlando Cani, a yogi who made his own kind of physical training called “Ginastica Natural.”

Now, what’s special about Ginastica Natural? It combines natural body moves, yoga, and breathing methods. Rickson got into this, and that’s how he developed his own breathing exercises that he’s famous for today.

Rickson could fight longer and better using what he learned from Orlando Cani. He didn’t get tired even after hours of going at it. 

The secret? It’s all in the breathing and natural body moves. It’s different from other stuff out there because it’s got that mix of yoga and diaphragmatic breathing.

How to Learn the Rickson Gracie Breathing Technique?

So, you want to learn Rickson Gracie’s breathing method? Good news: Our Instructor Rickson says you can learn it fast! Just pay attention and practice a lot. Here’s how to inhale and exhale correctly.

Step 1: Start with an Exhale

Rickson says the first thing is to breathe out. Yup, exhale through your mouth. This clears out your lungs and lets more fresh air come in. Get all that stale air out first, and you’re off to a good start.

This one felt weird for me in the beginning, but you’ll get used to it.

Step 2: Use Your Diaphragm

The second thing is to breathe with your diaphragm, not just the top part of your lungs. Most people make the mistake of shallow breathing. It’s like using just a small part of your gas tank when you have a lot more. Use the diaphragm to get more oxygen, and your lungs get stronger.

But how to breathe with your diaphragm, you ask? I know it’s hard in the beginning to learn, but it’s important. Here is a Video Instruction on how to do it:

Step 3: Get the Rhythm

Rickson likes what’s called “percussive breathing.” That’s fast breaths in and out for a bit. It’s like a quick warm-up for your lungs. This helps you get used to breathing right and improves your lungs over time.

Bonus: Belly vs. Chest

Quickly, you should know the difference between belly and chest breathing. When you breathe, make sure your belly moves more than your chest. This shows you’re doing it right. Your whole lung fills up, and you get the most out of each breath.

Rickson thinks you’ll get it fast if you keep at it. So don’t give up. Keep trying, and you’ll be breathing like Rickson in no time.

So there it is! Rickson’s big three rules: exhale first, use your diaphragm, and find your rhythm. Stick with these, and you’re on your way to a new level in BJJ or MMA.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Rickson Gracie Breathing

  • Quiet Surrounding: Find a place where it’s quiet. You don’t want anyone to disturb you while you practice.
  • Focus on Your Breath: Keep your mind on your breathing. If you start thinking about other things, just come back to focusing on your breath.
  • Consistency and Patience: Learning this new way to breathe takes time. It won’t feel normal at first. Don’t get upset if it’s hard at the start. Be patient and keep at it, just like with jiu-jitsu.
  • Comfortable Position: Sit or lie down in a comfy position. This helps you relax and focus better.

Importance of Breathing in BJJ

So, let’s understand why breathing matters so much in BJJ and MMA. You might be a talented athlete or fighter, but you’ll tire out fast if you don’t get your breathing right. Trust me, learning to control your breathing when you’re rolling or fighting is key.

When you know how to control your breathing, you can relax more. Your heart doesn’t race as much, and your cardio gets stronger. Often, when both athletes are on similar skill levels, the one with the better cardio wins. And that’s why it’s so important to learn this technique. 

I used to gas out quicker before learning how to breathe correctly. I was at a no time limit tournament recently. And I felt like I had a big advantage during my matches because my opponents gassed out eventually.

When you master the rickson gracie breathing method, you will get better. You can train longer and start getting really good at your technique. You don’t get as tired and can focus on what moves to make next.

What Are The Benefits of Rickson Gracie’s Breathing Exercise?

Mental Benefits

This breathing trick lets a lot more oxygen get into you. That keeps your blood flowing right up to your head. More oxygen up there means you think better and stay calm.

The one who stays cool and collected is the one who wins. It’s what separates the top players from the just-okay ones.

I felt very sharp during my last tournament. I went outside before the tournament started and did my breathing exercises. I came back clear-headed and calm. I usually feel anxious and nervous before competing. But not as much this time. I felt ready.

Physical Benefits

  • Let’s talk about your muscles. With all that extra oxygen, your muscles keep working when others are exhausted. You’ll feel stronger and faster and won’t tire as quickly.
  • You let more oxygen into your lungs when you breathe using your diaphragm. It’s like filling up a big water bottle instead of a tiny cup. Your body loves it because it can keep going much longer.
  • When you’re calm, you breathe better. And when you breathe better, you stay calmer. It’s like a winning circle. You’ll feel more at peace, and that shows when you’re on the mats.

Rickson Gracie Breathing Method vs. Wim Hof Breathing

You’ve heard of Rickson’s breathing method, but have you heard of Wim Hof’s Breathing Technique? Let’s dig into what makes them the same and different.


First off, both methods want you to breathe deep. Not these tiny breaths we all usually do. No, we want full, deep breaths. Also, they both use moves from yoga and natural body movements. It’s like adding a dance to your breathing. 

I did both, and I love them both. I change between them sometimes.


Wim Hof says to inhale first, big and deep, then let the air out till your lungs feel half empty. Rickson goes the other way. He says to exhale all the way first, get rid of the old air, and then let your lungs fill up about halfway.

If you want a Wim Hof Breathing Guide you can check it out here.


In Jiu Jitsu and MMA, how you breathe is a game-changer. Master Rickson Gracie gave us a breathing system to make you a high-performance practitioner. 

You learn to exhale all the way out and inhale just right. This helps you grapple for a longer time and not hyperventilate. Your lungs will run at full capacity. More air means you can do more and be more.

This breathing method also helps you stay mindful. No panicking, just calmness and focus. 

This method helped me a lot. I could feel the change in how I move, think, and even relax after a good roll. And it’s arguably one of the best ways to up your game.

So, give it a try! Learn it, use it, and share it. Master Rickson gave us this gem for a reason. 

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