Kimetsu No Yaiba: Water Breathing Technique

Water is ever changing, formless, adaptable and a flexible element

It can flow and crash or be calm and gently flowing.

The water breathing technique embodies these characteristics and is a form that is deadly but also involves plenty of finesse in its techniques. It is flexible and includes many techniques to meet different circumstances and can be changed to fit the circumstance.

This breathing style is very prominent in the manga and anime, and in this article we will cover everything you need to know about the water breathing style in Kimetsu no Yaiba

Water Breathing Style

Water breathing style, the first shown style in Kimetsu no Yaiba

In Kimetsu no Yaiba, Water breathing is the very first breathing style readers and anime viewers were introduced to when we first see Giyu Tomioka utilise it during his encounter with Tanjiro and Nezuko. The water breathing technique is also the first breathing style utilised by the main protagonist of Kimetsu no Yaiba, Tanjiro Kamado and like all other breathing styles is a branch from the original breathing technique, the sun breathing technique.

It is not revealed in manga or the anime who originally was the first user of this style but it was said that the origins of the water breathing technique was developed when Yoriichi Tsugikuni passed on the breathing method to a student. The student however was unable to learn the sun breathing technique and instead adapted the breathing technique to his own fighting style and the water breathing style was born

During the main storyline, a majority of the main users of this style had learnt it from a cultivator or trainer one of which was Sakonji Urokodaki who was the water Hashira before Giyu. He personally trained Giyu Tomioka as well as the Tanjiro Kamado to use this style. This makes the 3 of them likely the most powerful and proficient users of this style by the end of the main story even though Tanjiro eventually transitioned to the use of Sun breathing. 

What’s also interesting is that the water breathing style is one of the very few breathing styles where we get to actually see the training methodologies used which involve a lot of training in low oxygen, high altitude climates along with exercises that develop the flexibility, strength and dexterity of the trainee as water style techniques tend to involve more rotations and spins to generate power. The training also places the trainee into plenty of water environments to allow them to better grasp and understand their element and how their techniques flow and move like water. One such training was being submerged in water as well as sitting under a huge waterfall to train their physical and mental strength 

The training also included martial arts and close quarters combat training as well as basic sword handling techniques as well. In addition before a prospective student is deemed worthy of the final selection test, they must be able to cut a giant boulder many times their own size as a show of strength and technique. Its unclear whether this is a method employed by other styles but as we’ve only seen it used by Sakonji this might just be unique to his own personal training style.


Water breathing style techniques and forms

The water breathing style adopts a more fluid and flexible movement in its technique with practitioners visualizing their actions like the flow of water. Most of its attacks involve a flowing motion or a flexible or bending movement of the arms, legs or body to create strong and flowing attacks via the generation of torsion through these movements.

Some of the attacks are also well suited to be used even under water which can create whirlpools and strong underwater currents due to the rapid and strong twisting of the users body. This makes the style quite versatile in both land and water and allows the user to move and adapt to circumstances that normally would not allow them to swing their sword efficiently. 

There are also a good mixture of techniques within the 10 forms varying from slashes to thrusts that give the user of this style a lot of options to choose from when facing difficult opponents. This is what allows the user to be adaptable in any fight and using the right tool for the job.

There are a total of 10 main forms in the water technique as follows

FormTechnique NameDescription
1Water Surface SlashA horizontal one-handed slash that is augmented by the user building momentum prior to attacking
2Water WheelAn attack where the user goes airborne and spins rapidly creating a vertical slash that appears like a wheel
3Flowing DanceA very fast moving and erratic form where the user moves in a winding pattern cutting down everything in its way. Useful against multi-appendage opponents or more than 1 target
4Striking TideThe user twists their body to generate enough force to deliver a 2-handed horizontal slash that can target more than 1 enemy
5Blessed Rain After the DroughtA rather unique form which is a quick decapitation strike typically used to show mercy once an opponent has surrendered.
6WhirlpoolA technique where the user rapidly twists their upper and lower body to create immense torsion and momentum to strengthen their strikes. It becomes more powerful when used in water as the rapid rotations can pull in water creating a vortex which pulls enemies in and further enhances the sword strike
7Drop Ripple ThrustA thrust type attack where the user stabs at the enemy. Can be used multiple times in quick succession and is powerful enough to stop the impact of an object or projectile
8Waterfall BasinAn overhead vertical slash that is visualized as multiple pillars of water striking downwards on the opponent. Its most effective when the user is falling downward and tends to be used after a different technique such as the water wheel
9Splashin Water FlowA movement enhancing technique that reduces the footing the user needs to move and land allowing them to move even in areas with little foothold.
10Constant FluxA continous attack that takes the form of a water dragon and becomes stronger as the technique continues due to the build up of momentum

Many of these techniques are flexible enough to change and combine as the user sees fit, for example the water wheel has several variations depending on the orientation. We’ve also seen combination moves such as the third form: Flowing Dance used in tandem with form 6: Whirlpool to create a defensive move that can block projectiles. This unique trait of combining different forms based on need is not seen in other styles which makes the water breathing style truly embody the adaptability of water.

There is another technique which is the eleventh form of the water breathing technique that was solely developed by Giyu Tomioka and throughout the story was its only user. The 11th form is called dead calm and was first seen used against the lower moon six demon, Rui. This technique at first glance makes it appear as though Giyu is completely open, however when activated he enters a state of complete tranquility and assumes a defensive stance where any attack is deflected or blocked through the use of a high speed sword counter.

In this state his sword moves fast enough that even Rui, a lower moon demon, was not able to perceive the movement of Giyu’s sword. Despite this however, it does not make the technique perfect as any attack fast or numerous enough can penetrate his defenses and still damage him. The technique can also be used offensively as long as the target is within the range of the technique and results in immensely fast and rapid attacks continously overwhelming to target.

Form 11: Dead Calm

The water technique also is the main branch for 2 different styles likely due to its flexibility. The 2 other styles are the flower and serpent breathing styles. While we don’t know in detail how these branches were developed, we can speculate that for the flower style, it’s likely due to the flexibility and gracefulness that the style incorporates which is most similar to the flexibility of movement that water style is known for. This is also likely the same reason the serpent style branches off from the water style mainly due to how flexible the serpent styles movements are. 


Limitations of the water breathing style

In terms of weaknesses there aren’t that many shown as the form has plenty of flexibility and allows the user to change each of its forms to suit a particular situation. The only possible weakness would be due to the form relying on bodily movement and bending to generate significant force, if the user is unable to do so for one reason or another the strength of each blow can be severely diminished.

The attack power of this breathing style is also comparitively lower when compared to other styles as the strikes are empowered only through the torsion of the users body. As such it doesnt rely on raw physical power but rather comes from mechanical means and is unable to further strengthen itself should the initial attack fail. Most users of this style that we’ve seen are not physically brawny which means they will not be able to further augment the attacks using strength alone unlike the fire breathing or stone breathing styles.

Overall the water breathing style is still a powerful style and grants its user a flexible fighting style which they can adapt to many different situations. While it does not inherently have raw brute power the value of the style is in its flexibility and adaptability making it versatile against demons especially since most demon slayers will not know the abilities of a demon when first meeting them.

The graceful and precise attacks of this style makes it just as deadly as more flashier or hard hitting style and definitely holds its own as one of the 5 main branches of breathing techniques.

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