Old School Body Conditioning for Martial Arts

December 23, 20120 Comments

Body hardening training has been a mainstay of many traditional martial arts hailing from China and Okinawa.

And these days you see this type of training more commonly in Okinawan systems of Karate and Southern Chinese systems.

The video above by Morio Higaonna sensei features conditioning techniques called Kote Kitae, which means “forging of the forearms”.

Initially the Kote Kitae type of work are done as a basic drill to harden forearms (and the body), then later put into more sophisticated flow drills and combat applications.

You will also often see training where you strike a makiwara post or bags filled with sand or mung beans as part of ones conditioning regimen (to condition striking tools such as the hand / fist, forearms, shins and feet).

In the same video by Higaonna sensei you also see “Dako” training (using bundles of sticks and heavy sticks)- which can be considered akin to iron body training using instruments (it is often referred to as “Daruma Exercise” as well).

There are other drills that are commonly used as well to get people accustomed to taking impact.

For instance in the video below from Southern Mantis Kung Fu, there are solo body conditioning drills, where one hits and slaps ones own body; and partner drills where the conditioning drills are done as part of a sequence of techniques.

You can also see very similar exercises in more modern arts, for instance in various Hawaiian Kempo lineages, where the solo / isolation drills are seen during warm ups and the partner drills as part of more advanced conditioning training often referred to as “Kiai drills”.

This type of training is often accompanied with Kokyu-ho (breathing techniques) or Kiko / Qigong training (Kiko is the Okinawa Karate version of Qigong).

In Okinawan and Southern Chinese systems you can often see Kiko type of training during the practice of the Sanchin (Sam Chien) form.

Filed in: Karate
Tagged with:

Back to Top