How long can you hold your breath?

30 seconds? A minute? Maybe two minutes? Get ready to meet Herbert Nitsch. Herbert Nitsch can hold his breath for an astonishing length of time — over nine minutes, in case you were wondering. Nitsch is the greatest freediver of all time — as in, a diver who doesn’t use any scuba gear. He has taken dives as long as a 70-story skyscraper. He set a world record in 2012 and remains a leader in the field.

His training is intense. He uses breathing techniques like packing, which allows him to hold extra air, compressed down — and believes his age and experience give him the mental strength that he needs. But even Nitsch has suffered major setbacks. To hear about one of his most fateful dives and his bout with decompression sickness, you can check out the entire video here:

Some people aren’t scared to push the limits — to push past the limits — of what most of us can comprehend. Nitsch didn’t let severe illness hold him back, because he knew that he had to return to what he loved. He has changed the perception of what the human body is capable of and blown the world of freediving wide open for divers everywhere. There’s a reason they call him the “deepest man on earth” — and it’s not just about his statistics, it’s his mental strength that is truly inspiring.