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Thread: Hand Conditioning

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    WhiteCrane is offline
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    Default Hand Conditioning

    I am interested in know how many people on this forum do any form of hand conditioning, and what your regimen includes?

    Personally, I use a makiwara composed of two sections of four foot long 2x4 that have been screwed together. The pad is wound rope.

    When I started training I learned the hard way not to hit at full force. Makiwaras build your striking surface through repitition, not force. I only hit the ropes with at most 70% force, and usually less.

    I also had to learn not to continue hitting after my knuckles began to bleed. If I did, I had to wait over a week for the soft tissue damage to heal before I could go back to training.

    It takes a while to get used to striking the rough surface, but my knuckle hardness has really increased and can strike a wall without pain. Using a makiwara also helps with confidence. Once you've spent so much time striking a hard surface you don't feel hesitant toward striking a hard surface on the body like the skull or a joint.

    There is a lot more to makiwara training, but I'll stop there. What kind of hand conditioning do you do? What is your process?

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    Default Re: Hand Conditioning

    Quote Originally Posted by WhiteCrane View Post
    I am interested in know how many people on this forum do any form of hand conditioning, and what your regimen includes?

    Personally, I use a makiwara composed of two sections of four foot long 2x4 that have been screwed together. The pad is wound rope.

    When I started training I learned the hard way not to hit at full force. Makiwaras build your striking surface through repitition, not force. I only hit the ropes with at most 70% force, and usually less.

    I also had to learn not to continue hitting after my knuckles began to bleed. If I did, I had to wait over a week for the soft tissue damage to heal before I could go back to training.

    It takes a while to get used to striking the rough surface, but my knuckle hardness has really increased and can strike a wall without pain. Using a makiwara also helps with confidence. Once you've spent so much time striking a hard surface you don't feel hesitant toward striking a hard surface on the body like the skull or a joint.

    There is a lot more to makiwara training, but I'll stop there. What kind of hand conditioning do you do? What is your process?
    The makiwara was not designed for hand conditioning. It was designed to teach proper body mechanics and strengthen the connecting parts of the punch to hit with focus and power (calloused knuckles was a byproduct and not the goal). Traditionally, it was also not started until; 1) student had stopped growing so as not to damage the bones in the hand and 2) started after about 2 or more years of doing knuckle push ups so the knuckles already had some conditioning on them.

    If you really want to go old school, hand conditioning by the okinawans was based on slapping rocks and other hard surfaces, or thrusting their hand into sand. It was more "hard" in practice than the chinese "iron hand/palm" training, but that is where it had it's basis.

    The makiwara was only one thing used for developing your techniques. The okinawans also used to punch sand bags (heavy bags) to train their techniques as well. They even developed a makiwara that had a moveable arm on it that when trained semi resembeled a wooden dummy to use for trapping and grabbing an arm.
    "For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."

    Romans 13:4

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    Default Re: Hand Conditioning

    Punisher,

    Thanks for your reply. I know there are more benefits to makiwara training than enlarged knuckles, and you are right about body alignmen being a goal. There is also the spiritual aspect of training oneself psychologically to strike without emotion and the lesson that when one strikes another he or she also receives consequences be they physical, emotional, or psychological. I simply didn't want to write a treatise on makiwara training as I was more interested in the different forms of hand conditioning others use.

    I have seen the Okinawans strike solid stone, thrust into sand and rolls of bamboo in the past, though I haven't tried these yet. Currently I'm working on finger strength and later hope to move on to iron palm work. I try to take it one step at a time though, and not bounce from one regimen to another.

    What kind of conditioning are you working with now?

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    Default Re: Hand Conditioning

    I've decided not to pursue any kind of weapon conditioning.

    I don't need to punch through wooden armor etc.
    I don't do breaking demonstrations
    I use appropriate weapons to targets on the body
    I don't want to deform my hands and other extremities in the million-to-one chance that I will need to strike a hard target with a hard weapon one day

    I do work on a heavy bag and a BOB dummy to get better at striking.

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    Default Re: Hand Conditioning

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidCC View Post
    I've decided not to pursue any kind of weapon conditioning.

    I don't need to punch through wooden armor etc.
    I don't do breaking demonstrations
    I use appropriate weapons to targets on the body
    I don't want to deform my hands and other extremities in the million-to-one chance that I will need to strike a hard target with a hard weapon one day

    I do work on a heavy bag and a BOB dummy to get better at striking.

    -David
    That is the same purpose as true makiwara training. It should have enough "spring" to it so you don't damage your hands in anyway. Makiwara was not designed to punch through armor, that is part of the myth about karate being designed by unarmed peasants to fight the samuari.

    Heavy bags and BOB are just the new versions of the old method to insure proper mechanics and develop the connecting parts to transfer effective impact. Even punching to the solar plexus can lead to a broken wrist if the structure is not there to support the transfer of energy.

    Some people like going 'old school' with their training and like using those methods while some prefer more modern things. Either method when used imporperly will cause damage and likewise either method when used properly will not cause damage.
    "For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."

    Romans 13:4

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    Default Re: Hand Conditioning

    Quote Originally Posted by WhiteCrane View Post
    I am interested in know how many people on this forum do any form of hand conditioning, and what your regimen includes?

    Personally, I use a makiwara composed of two sections of four foot long 2x4 that have been screwed together. The pad is wound rope.

    When I started training I learned the hard way not to hit at full force. Makiwaras build your striking surface through repitition, not force. I only hit the ropes with at most 70% force, and usually less.

    I also had to learn not to continue hitting after my knuckles began to bleed. If I did, I had to wait over a week for the soft tissue damage to heal before I could go back to training.

    It takes a while to get used to striking the rough surface, but my knuckle hardness has really increased and can strike a wall without pain. Using a makiwara also helps with confidence. Once you've spent so much time striking a hard surface you don't feel hesitant toward striking a hard surface on the body like the skull or a joint.

    There is a lot more to makiwara training, but I'll stop there. What kind of hand conditioning do you do? What is your process?

    First of all; Welcome to the site and thank you for your post.
    I will defer my comments to those who are familar with the practice except with this remark.

    The alignment issue is paramount in any application.
    Brad Marshall SP
    KKFI

    trgodbm@yahoo.com

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    Default Re: Hand Conditioning

    One of my instructors practices Iron Palm. It's pretty scary stuff. Getting "Palmed" is one of those to feel is to believe moments.
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    Default Re: Hand Conditioning

    Quote Originally Posted by punisher73 View Post
    The makiwara was not designed for hand conditioning. It was designed to teach proper body mechanics and strengthen the connecting parts of the punch to hit with focus and power (calloused knuckles was a byproduct and not the goal). Traditionally, it was also not started until; 1) student had stopped growing so as not to damage the bones in the hand and 2) started after about 2 or more years of doing knuckle push ups so the knuckles already had some conditioning on them.

    If you really want to go old school, hand conditioning by the okinawans was based on slapping rocks and other hard surfaces, or thrusting their hand into sand. It was more "hard" in practice than the chinese "iron hand/palm" training, but that is where it had it's basis.

    The makiwara was only one thing used for developing your techniques. The okinawans also used to punch sand bags (heavy bags) to train their techniques as well. They even developed a makiwara that had a moveable arm on it that when trained semi resembeled a wooden dummy to use for trapping and grabbing an arm.
    I am not saying you are wrong, but my experience is a little different. The Ryukyu guys I knew also used it for hand conditioning. And they did start using it pretty close to beginning. But I was my understanding that developing a proper punch was the primary purpose of the makiwara.
    A little learning is a dangerous thing;
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    there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
    and drinking largely sobers us again. --Alexander Pope

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    Default Re: Hand Conditioning

    Quote Originally Posted by WhiteCrane View Post
    I am interested in know how many people on this forum do any form of hand conditioning, and what your regimen includes?
    I don't because I don't think it is necessary.
    A little learning is a dangerous thing;
    drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
    there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
    and drinking largely sobers us again. --Alexander Pope

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    Default Re: Hand Conditioning

    Quote Originally Posted by WhiteCrane View Post
    Personally, I use a makiwara composed of two sections of four foot long 2x4 that have been screwed together. The pad is wound rope.

    When I started training I learned the hard way not to hit at full force. Makiwaras build your striking surface through repitition, not force. I only hit the ropes with at most 70% force, and usually less.

    I also had to learn not to continue hitting after my knuckles began to bleed. If I did, I had to wait over a week for the soft tissue damage to heal before I could go back to training.
    ------------
    Just curious to know if you use dit da jow or any other "herb wine" medicine before or after each session. Some styles do - some don't.

    We put it on before and after Iron Hand training. It's said to help prevent arthritis sometimes associated with this type of training. We also do a series of hand exercises and isometrics to increase hand strength and flexibility.

    PorterKenpo

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    Default Re: Hand Conditioning

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew View Post
    I am not saying you are wrong, but my experience is a little different. The Ryukyu guys I knew also used it for hand conditioning. And they did start using it pretty close to beginning. But I was my understanding that developing a proper punch was the primary purpose of the makiwara.
    Some do now, but from the readings I have done this is a newer thing as karate became more popular and mainstream. The young and strong would bang away at it and it did become a "knuckle toughener" for some and the 'only way' to develop a punch. Most of my research into the older training methods came from Naha-Te which became Goju-Ryu. It is one of the few styles that really emphasize the supplemental conditioning exercises (hojo-undo). Here are some of them...

    1) Chishi: which is a handle about 24 inches in length with a large weight at the end of it.
    2) Nigiri Gami: gripping jars used to develop the grib strength
    3) Ishi Sashi: "stone key" very similiar to a kettlebell
    4) Jari Bako: bin of sand that you thrust the fingers into
    5) Makiage Kigu: wrist roller exercise with a weight attached
    6) Kongoken: big oval weight about 70 lbs. used to develop grappling techniques and also overall strength
    7) Makiwara

    They also train in kotekitai (forearm conditioning) and kakie (push hands).

    Most of the okinawan styles I am aware of (not including individual dojos that might have adopted practices) only utilize the makiwara and not the other strength exercises. In Goju-ryu they spend time developing the whole body with strength training and it was here that they use the makiwara later in training originally after a base was built doing knuckle push ups and other exercises to prepare the body for makiwara training.

    Here is a clip with a large group training these exercises.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTJNHWDfm24
    "For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."

    Romans 13:4

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    Default Re: Hand Conditioning

    Quote Originally Posted by PorterKenpo View Post
    ------------
    Just curious to know if you use dit da jow or any other "herb wine" medicine before or after each session. Some styles do - some don't.

    We put it on before and after Iron Hand training. It's said to help prevent arthritis sometimes associated with this type of training. We also do a series of hand exercises and isometrics to increase hand strength and flexibility.

    PorterKenpo
    I personally have not used dit da jow, but know others who have and swear by it. Dit da jow has the benefits such as decreasing swelling, promoting healing, and acts as a liniment. I know that most iron palm students swear by it.

    Instead of dit da jow, I do energy restoration after makiwara training. To be honest it is best if one prepares the hands before (wrist stretchs, loosen the arms and shoulders), during (stopping for a moment to shake the hands and increase blood flow), and afterwards (hand chi gung).

    There are also points I use to reset the nervous channels in my hands after makiwara training, but if you don't study kyusho or acupresse then they wouldn't be familiar. I found it is really important to reset the hand points on the palm of the hand or else they numb out energetically. The knuckles are a hard surface so they don't require the same work.

    Regardless of what method one uses to restore oneself after training, it is important that some effort is made to get blood and energy back into the hands.

    Also, Punisher is right about the different body strengthening exercises Okinawan Kempo employs. While it might be hard to find stone locks at the local store, there are several great improvisation that can be made. For example I carry dumbells instead of clay jars, and one can get the same effect by using coffee cans filled with cement.

    I apologize if I ramble a little, but I'm working on a kempo training book right now so the makiwara training is kind of foremost in my mind.

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