The Iceman cometh

Ancient Yogic breathing techniques make a return to the UFC


You might not have heard of Wim Hof, but he’s been creating a big buzz in certain circles and has gained the name “The Iceman” for his incredible acts of endurance and ability to withstand extreme cold using a breathing technique he calls Innerfire. He even climbed Everest in a pair of shorts.  Watch this video to get an idea of what he’s about:

With the MMA world latching on to the new trend in ‘movement‘, it wasn’t going to be long before somebody noticed that Wim’s breathing methods and extraordinary abilities might be quite useful for fighting as well. I just wasn’t expecting it to be UFC title contender Alister Overeem that lead the way.

Overeem has had a chequered history since joining the UFC. There are allegations of juicing in his past, and he failed to live up to his potential in a number of fights. But then I remember being really impressed by his last performance in UFC on FOX 17 in December 2015 when he completely destroyed the always dangerous Junior Dos Santos, ending a dominant fight with a 2nd round KO. I remember thinking at the time that something had changed about Overeem. The arrogance that lost him his bout against Bigfoot Silva in 2014 was gone. Instead he seemed calm, composed and very focussed. Something had changed, and now I know why. He was training Wim Hof’s breathing methods, as this video shows. You can see Overeem doing push ups with breath control and even submerging himself in some very cold water for over 2 minutes.

Highlights from Overeem vs Dos Santos:

Here’s Wim explaining his method himself:

And here he is explaining it to Joe Rogan:

You can’t argue with Overeem’s impressive results, and as he says, breathing is one of the most important things to any fighter, regardless of the sport they’re in. I can see immediately how this level of breathing control and the improved cardio it promises could improve my BJJ, since once you gas, that’s it, you’re done, no matter how much skill you have.

I think I’m going to do more research into Wim and maybe try his methods. There’s even an iPhone app for Innerfire. I’ll keep you updated.

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