In Kalaripayattu, students begin their warm-up routine by running for some time. While they are still panting for breath, they are then asked to stand in line and hold their breath for 10 seconds. Then slowly breathe out, breathe in and hold their breath for 20 seconds and so on until 60 seconds.
One beginner student fainted. Another beginner student temporarily lost vision, describing it as a phase where he was standing upright, his eyes were open, but he could see only grey all around him (probably a greyout due to cells in the eye not receiving enough blood/oxygen). After around 30 seconds the master asked him what was wrong, he said he couldn't see anything, and the master said a knowing "Ah". The student was asked to close his eyes and lie down on the floor. When he opened his eyes in around a minute, his vision was back to normal and he had no problems in subsequent classes while holding his breath.
A physical trainer friend of mine told me it's a sign that the master doesn't have sufficient knowledge about onboarding beginners.
In the long-term, does such an exercise of holding breath after intense warm-up actually help a martial artist? I saw a yoga explanation to it, but it didn't seem logical. There are some experiments done on lung capacity of Kalari students, but I guess that'd apply to any martial art even if holding the breath exercises aren't practiced.
Does it really help? Are there other martial arts where this is practiced?