Strong Body, Strong Mind, Strong Spirit
There are many people who argue against body conditioning in martial arts, but for me there is no substitute for a conditioning regimen when it comes to martial arts. I know I’m not alone in this belief ,but for me it’s personal. Some will argue that doing constant pounding on your body doesn’t do anything but potentially harm your body, but the long time serious practitioners will tell you that a regular regimen of body pounding not only strengthens the muscles and tendons in your body, but also strengthens the bones and makes the bones more dense. Although there has never been any documented evidence collected or comprehensive studies done, I personally have seen the benefits of this type of body conditioning.
To have bats broken over forearms and shins, doing this to the average person and you would break limbs. This Practitioner in this photo has been Training in Uechi Ryu Karate for many years and following a very punishing body conditioning regimen. But they don’t just condition their limbs but fingers and toes are also conditioned.
In several styles that are based in Chinese Boxing you will find finger strikes and toe strikes. By strengthening your fingers and toes you can use these as weapons with devastating effect. These styles include Crane, Tiger, and Dragon three of the
Five Shaolin styles used in southern styles of Kung Fu that were brought to Okinawa and taught to the locals in the area of Naha. You will also see similarities in other styles like Wu Shu and Wing Chun. These styles also share in the use of extreme body conditioning.
The Makiwara board is used to strengthen the hand and toughen the knuckles so that when the punch is delivered minimal damage is sustained by the fighter delivering the blow. Also used for conditioning the thumb and wrists used for strikes with deadly effect.
There is also conditioning done with a partner called Kote Kitei and Ashi Kitei. This practice (Kote Kitei) involves arm pounding, chest pounding and stomach pounding. The use of Kote Kitei is used to strengthen the chest, forearms and core. When a punch is thrown and blocked by a person who practices kote kitei you could end up with a broken arm. The fore arm and legs are used as weapons and hardened to the point that it will break the limb of anyone that tries to attack. Ashi Kitei is the conditioning of the legs to be used to block attacks and used as a weapon.
These styles also check body conditioning using Sanchin Shime. This is a practice where the student will stand in Sanchin Dachi stance and receive hard heavy blows on particular parts of the body from the instructor that allows the teacher to see were the student is at, and allows the student to see that they can take a much greater level of pain than they thought possible without giving up. This attitude of being able to take a shot is important to a fighter while in a fight, it takes a level of fear away from the fighter and allows them to focus the opponent and not worry about sustaining serious injury. This level of confidence can critically change the outcome of a fight.
Is body conditioning important? In a hand to hand combat situation body conditioning give an undeniable edge to the martial arts practitioner that has a regular body conditioning regimen. I have seen it time and again were a person that practices with body conditioning is able to receive an attack and overpower their opponent with just a few blows.