My Karate Experience
When I was in high school, I learned a Kata (a form which is a structured sequence of techniques) from a friend. He learned it from his Dad who had black belts in Ninjitsu, Shotokan Karate, and Aikido. Since then I have been training this Kata and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. I strongly believe in the saying, "A single Kata takes a lifetime to master". This simple 12 count Kata done in a horse stance, has evolved with me over the years. The Bunkai (breakdown and interpretation) has drastically changed numerous times and continues to do so. There is a constant dynamic between understanding and not understanding. Many people who quit Karate encounter something they don't understand and they judge it incorrectly and close themselves to it. When I don't understand something in Karate/martial arts, I give the benefit of the doubt that the people who invented and carried the style were high level experts that knew what they were doing. So during those times of confusion, I simply keep training and put in the reps until the answer presents itself. And the answer has always presented itself in due time. The answers themselves change overtime too.
The Karate style of breathing that I learned was very constricted and tense. I use this breathing for health and fitness because it strengthens your internal organs. In actual fighting application, this kind of breathing is also realistic because when your in the fight of your life, chances are your not going to be calm and collected, in such a stressful crisis situation, even breathing becomes difficult, so you need a forceful strong technique that fits the moment. Once you accept the crisis situation and are able to use such a breathing technique, then it is possible to control your breathing and become more efficient, which will take you towards the ideal state of being in the zone.