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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Body Conditioning.

Preparing the body through training for improving in any form of martial arts, sport or to achieve a good fitness level is Body Conditioning. So the conditioning would vary from activity to activity and also as per the goals we set. 
In martial arts like Boxing or even Muay Thai stamina is very vital as in boxing a fight could go on upto 15 rounds, so they start their training daily with a good long jog varying from 10 -20km and then follow it up with lots of skipping. After this they go ahead with other training. This is also a form of body conditioning preparing the body to be able to fight for 15 long rounds.
Similarly in Kung - fu there are lots of various means and equipment for body conditioning, two of the more widely known ones are the plum blossom poles and the wing chun dummy. The plum blossom poles are an assortment of wooden poles of varying heights fitted into the ground and the practitioner stands on top of them improving his stances, balance, co- ordination and perfect flow in leg movements. While the wing chun dummy is like a striking post of wood, which gives the practitioner a chance to simulate a real fight situation from blocking to striking the wood improving his speed, power, technique, strength and conditioning the bones and muscles of the knuckles, palm, forearm and even the feet.
Being more fond of the Japanese martial arts lets look into them too. In Okinawan karate training there are numerous equipment all aiming at strengthening muscle and bones, improving technique, skill, speed and co-ordination. Some of the equipments are Makiwara (striking post), Kongoken ( this is a heavy man sized iron ring which was brought to okinawan by Master Chojun Miyagi after observing wrestlers of Hawaii using them), Makiage Kigu (wrist roller), Kami (they are jars to improve gripping and techniques of the hand), Tou (this  is a bundle of bamboo sticks tied together used to condition and strengthen the fingers and palm) and so many more. All of them aim at toughening flesh and bones into forged steel. In Judo which is basically a grappling art form the practitioners whole body gets conditioned by the numerous falls and throws they execute in practice. The body gets accustomed to breaking falls without any injury even if they are thrown on a tiled floor or the road. In the art of Aikido though they also use lots of break falls but since the techniques are based on joint manipulations their joints like the wrist get conditioned with repetitive practice of the various locks easily able to sustain a lock many times more than an untrained person can.

Body Conditioning is very vital in martial arts training since it improves ones skill, stamina, technique, co-ordination, speed, power, strength, stances, balance and so on. Moreover conditioning the body reduces the scope of injury. Even if one area of the above qualities is underdeveloped it would hamper the martial artists ability and his skill. Many masters get so engrossed with the constant quest to improve that from their breathing, walking style or any daily routine activity is changed in such a manner that they are constantly training for eg :- walking in sanchin dachi or striking the walls while climbing up the stairs and so on. 
I personally am very fond of Body Conditioning and am sure it has helped me improve as a martial artist.   

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