training is not recommended at all for those
under 16 years of age. Those individuals
under 18 years of age must get permission
from a parent or guardian before starting
training. Always consult a physician before
beginning any exercise program. Train at
your own risk. These training methods only
reflect personal experience, and Wesler's
Karate, Inc. cannot be held responsible
for any injury resulting from attempting
to train in these techniques.
karate (Japanese) method of training the
hand is the most common type of hand conditioning.
It is found in most hard styles of karate
and crosses over into tae kwon do, which
is extremely popular and accessible in my
area. This is the kind of conditioning to
which I was first introduced.
conditioning focuses primarily on the use
of the makiwara. Makiwara come in various
sizes and shapes, but basically consist
of a slightly flexible wood post wrapped
with rope. The makiwara is struck repeatedly
with increasing intensity, resulting in
toughened, calloused hands and enlarged
(calcified) knuckles. Seiken (forefist)
and tegatana (knifehand) are the two primary
techniques, but any surface such as palm
heel, elbow, knees, and kicks may be used.
can make a simple makiwara by digging a
1'x 3' hole in the ground, filling it with
quick dry cement, and planting a 4"x
4" wooden post in it. The post should
stand at least head high. Straw was traditionally
used for its rumored antiseptic properties,
but in this modern age, cotton clothesline
will do fine. Wrap a double layer (or more)
of the clothesline around the target portion
of the makiwara (shoulder height).
mounted makiwara are available at martial
art stores, but they are often too padded
and soft for proper training.
hand held makiwara is also suitable and
can be made by wrapping clothesline around
a 14" section of 1"x 2" wooden
on the makiwara is fairly basic, simply
hit the post as many times and as often
as you can withstand without injury. If
you suffer a bruise or break in the skin,
you should hold off training until the wound
can also supplement your training by striking
into a bucket filled with sand.
is often neglected in this form of training,
but some karatekas do employ the use of
dit da jow liniment. In my opinion,
a good dit da jow should always be used
before, during, and after training to prevent
injury and discourage the development of
arthritis down the road. Find a dit da jow
that works well for you. The effects will
vary depending on your personal physiology.
should be trained daily, but there is no
strict set regimen. The key is not hitting
the makiwara so hard that you hurt yourself,
but repetition and consistency.
down sides are a tendency to neglect training
due to the lack of schedule, conditioning
only selected surfaces of the hand, possible
slow to medium progression, and extensive
callousing and/or scarring of the hand as
well as an eventual possible loss of dexterity.
hand held makiwara can be very convenient
to carry with you and use all day long.
Makiwara trained hands are rather noticeable
and can be ugly (though I personally find
them quite beautiful in their deadliness,
but that's my problem). If you like to show
off, they are a sure sign of dedicated training
in the old ways.
Oyama (known, at times, as the Godhand),
founder of Kyokushin Kai and world famous
for his tameshiwari skill, developed knuckles
on the makiwara that could withstand the
blow of a hammer. He was best known for
fighting bulls and severing their horns
with his fearsome knifehand.
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