Like Kenjutsu, ‘Breathing styles’ are techniques executed by swordsmen of the Demon slayer corps in the Taisho period in Japan. The prime motive is to strengthen the physical ability and mental attentiveness, providing them the utmost potential to slaughter vicious demons. There are certain and assiduous breathing patterns, which increase the user’s lungs capacity to intake more oxygen boosting blood.
These can decelerate poison spreading in the bloodstream and hardening wounds faster, even severe ones. Among seven breathing techniques, ‘Breath of the sun’ or ‘Sun breathing’ is considered the parent technique. One will seek constant total concentration breathing, while aiming for the elite rank, Pillars. Even though these techniques are ancient but keep evolving with developing slayers and their techniques.
1. Stone breathing
The foremost ‘Sun breathing’ led to five branches. Among those foundational branches, the breath of stone is the final branch. There are 5 forms under this branch being ‘Serpentinite Bipolar’,’ Upper Smash’, ‘Stone skin’, ‘Volcanic Rock-Rapid Conquest’, ‘Arcs of Justice’. For the most part, it depends on pensive styles, along with mind and body playing center of attraction.
Gyomei Himejima, who is known as the most powerful hashira(pillar), uses this breathing style. It supplies him with extraordinary capability, resilience, and toughness. Gyomei uses a bristle flail and an axe in lieu of a sword while using this style. The distinction is a robust blast that renders the opponent either static or dead.
2. Thunder breathing
Along with 4 other members, this style is a derivative of ‘Sun breathing’. There are six original forms under the breath of thunder, being, ‘Thunderclap and flash’, ‘Rice spirit’, ‘Thunder swarm’, ‘Distant thunder’, ‘Heat lightning’, ‘Rumble and flash’, ‘Honoikazuchi no Kami’. The opponent is unable to comprehend when the sword stabbed and beheaded him, such a barbaric level of speed it bestows its user.
Sunnjigoro Kuwajima uses this style. It is further branched into a breath of 1. Lightning 2. Sound. Breath of Sound is used by Tengen Uzui. The user is capable of predicting the opponent’s move by the sound he produces. Analyzing those rhythmic shifts leads to a truly brutal strike.
3. Wind breathing
It is considered the best derivation of the breath of sun technique. Famous as ‘Strongest Offence’. The most unpredicted form, used in fighting with many at the same time. It makes use of an amplified sense of touch. It produces simultaneous slashes. Sanenmi Shinazugawa uses this form of breathing.
There are 9 forms under it. It is further branched into a breath of 1. Mist 2. Beast. Breath of mist uses the technique of hiding movement out in open. There are 6+1 styles under it. Muichiro Tokit uses this technique. Breath of beast was fabricated by Inosuke Hashibira alone. Provides the user with an enhanced sense of touch and hearing. 10+1 forms are present in this breathing.
4. Water breathing
One of the 5 derivatives of ‘Sun breathing’. Most of the demon slayers know how to use this breathing because it is the easiest to grow. There are 10+1 forms under this branch, being, ‘Water surface slash’, ‘Water wheel’, ‘Flowing dance’, ‘Striking tide’, ‘Blessed rain after the drought’, ‘Whirlpool’, ‘Piercing raindrop’, ‘Waterfall basin’, ‘plashing water flow’, ‘Constant flux’, ‘Dead calm’. Fluid motion seizes the opponent’s speed and turns it against him. It is branched into a breath of 1. Flower 2. Serpent 3. Insect.
Breath of Flower
It is a derivation of water breathing. It contains 7 styles. The user musters his speed by deforming and gyrating and then releasing a series of slashes. Kanae Kochi and Kanao Tsuyuri use it.
Breath of serpent
It can be used while facing audio and visual loss in battle. It makes the user dance like a serpent in battle. Banai Iguro uses this technique. The main idea is to crumple and crook the sword like a snake glide.
Breath of insect
It weaponizes the weak. Rather than slashing the opponent, it reckons on stabbing and piercing him, in order to inject him with ‘wisteria-based poison’. It is a personal iteration of Shinobu Kocho due to a lack of physical strength
5. [Spoiler Alert] Sun breathing
This is the ancient breathing style, created by the first demon slayer himself. It is alternately known as ‘Fire God breathing’. It is being nurtured in the Kamado family for generations. It reportedly contains 13 forms. There are 12 sections that are performed from sunrise to sunset.
It is a great combination of offense and defense. Hanafuda earrings are an integrated part of this fire God style breathing, when a father teaches his son this breathing, he passes these earrings as well. It is yet to be unleashed in anime.