Conditioning Your Hands

lklawson

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What I have seen with herbs and such for hand conditioning; I have seen it used a lot more in Traditional Chinese Martial Arts (although none of my sifus ever suggested its use) than in things more modern out of China like Sanda/Sanshou
There are various hand/knuckle conditioning ointments and applications recommended for Western Boxing running all the way up through the first 1/3 of the 20th Century.

My favorite is the recipe recommended by Robert Fitzsimmons, but only because it's completely illegal to make now. :)

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

oaktree

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Hi Kirk,
I would be curious to hear some herbs or what was used and compare it to some formulas that Chinese herbs used. Maybe they both used some common herbs or some from
similar plants. If you like you can Pm me if you are more comfortable, If you wish to keep it secret I respect that too.
 

chinto

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OK, here is two cents worth from me..NO REFUNDS lol :angel:

I use a makawara, and yes I was trained on how to use that tool correctly! Please if you are going to do some kind of hand conditioning, get some training in what ever method you are going to use. Make sure the one teaching you knows how to use that tool, as if you do not you may injure your hand and or cause really severe arthritis and or brake things that should not be broken!

that said, some conditioning is not bad, but like anything you can go overboard and cause problems with the look of your hands... especially you women!! but men to!! so get trained and use some common sense in how you do it and how much.
 

lklawson

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Hi Kirk,
I would be curious to hear some herbs or what was used and compare it to some formulas that Chinese herbs used. Maybe they both used some common herbs or some from
similar plants. If you like you can Pm me if you are more comfortable, If you wish to keep it secret I respect that too.
I'd be glad to share. It's not secret, but it can be something of a chore to sift through dozens upon dozens of old books and other reference material until you accidentally run across them. There doesn't seem to be much in the way of herbs used, a few here and there, but that's not the gist of it usually.

I have republished an article by my friend Keith Myers: Won't You Break Your Hand? Check out the "Conditioning Methods" section.

Additionally, here's a list of the references I've collected:

  • Dempsey - Camphor Ice
  • Pickling hands in Tom Sayer's Turps
  • Fitzsimmon's recipe from Fox's "Boxing and how to Train." and alcohol (including "laudanum")
  • O'Brien - Tincture of Benzion, rubbing alcohol, sea-salt solution
  • Tea - old boxing trick
  • Heenan - Walnut pickling solution
  • Billy Edwards - Tannic Acid, Rosin, Pickle Brine

I've got Edwards manual and "Boxing and how to Train" on my lulu site free PDF download. I have O'Brien available too but not on my lulu site. We don't know exactly what Tom Sayer's Turps is, being a reference from a biography, but we surmise it was some sort of turpentine solution. Tea and Walnut contain Tannic Acid (as specified by Edwards) so it's the same sort of thing.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

oaktree

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Thanks Kirk interesting stuff.

I know in one Chinese formula turpentine is or was a listed ingredient in Woodlock.
I have heard of Tea bags being refered to as a home remedy for I believe stopping bleed from dental surgery.
 

jks9199

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Wasn't there at least one classical boxer who recommended literally pickling the hands, as in soaking them in pickling brine?

Personally -- I trained bareknuckle on a canvass heavy bag, and used a standard speed bag filled with rice as my main hand conditioning tools. Some other stuff specifically for breaking, basically striking a board with increasing force. And I punched trees... Really. But you've got to know the trees and bark to hit... It's possible to condition your hands without destroying them.
 

rickster

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OK, here is two cents worth from me..NO REFUNDS lol :angel:

I use a makawara, and yes I was trained on how to use that tool correctly! Please if you are going to do some kind of hand conditioning, get some training in what ever method you are going to use. Make sure the one teaching you knows how to use that tool, as if you do not you may injure your hand and or cause really severe arthritis and or brake things that should not be broken!

that said, some conditioning is not bad, but like anything you can go overboard and cause problems with the look of your hands... especially you women!! but men to!! so get trained and use some common sense in how you do it and how much.

But why condition the hands?

How often do you expect to hit so hard as to have the hands so-conditioned?

Why would one keep up such a conditioning activity that forces them to use a special ointment?
(Besides, if the ointment is using a type of alcohol, the alcohol is thus the main active ingredient.)

Instead of so much emphasis upon such conditioning, should more be placed upon proper method?

Will conditioning compensate that much for lack of proper method?
 

lklawson

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Thanks Kirk interesting stuff.

I know in one Chinese formula turpentine is or was a listed ingredient in Woodlock.
Interesting.

[edit]
The book "Claret and Cross-Buttock." The quote I'm referring to was:

"Some said he was an argument against the Ring: that he should'nt be let loose against a fightin' sportsman. That he fought like wild beast. That he never knew when to lay off. He hated gloves. Why go to all the trouble to pickle your hands in Tom Sayer's brew of turps, whiskey vinegar, horse radish and saltpetre, if ye were goin' to cover them up? Ye were supposed to use your hands to hurt him, not protect him."


I have heard of Tea bags being refered to as a home remedy for I believe stopping bleed from dental surgery.
Yes, that's right.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

lklawson

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Wasn't there at least one classical boxer who recommended literally pickling the hands, as in soaking them in pickling brine?
Yes, that's right.


Billy Edwards' "Art of Boxing and Manual of Training" from 1888

"If at first they should get a little raw or rubbed, a few applications of weak tannic acid solution, or rosin, or good strong pickle out of the salt-pork barrel, will soon make the hands and knuckles tough."


Personally -- I trained bareknuckle on a canvass heavy bag, and used a standard speed bag filled with rice as my main hand conditioning tools.
Which is not unheard of in the western tradition. :)

It's possible to condition your hands without destroying them.
Agreed.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

chinto

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But why condition the hands?

How often do you expect to hit so hard as to have the hands so-conditioned?

Why would one keep up such a conditioning activity that forces them to use a special ointment?
(Besides, if the ointment is using a type of alcohol, the alcohol is thus the main active ingredient.)

Instead of so much emphasis upon such conditioning, should more be placed upon proper method?

Will conditioning compensate that much for lack of proper method?

the makawara teaches proper method, and strengthens the bones, and it also teaches focus, and strengthens the muscles in the wrist. I do not use any ointments when doing it,
and the Okinawan Tradition does not use them either that I am aware of.

using a makawara makes the hands bones less likely to brake, and your punches more effective if needed. You can go way to far with it, but again that is the individuals choice.

If you do not wish to condition your hand at all, then do not. I have known people who got into an altercation when attacked and broke carpels in their hands from hitting the individual. but either way it is an option. if you do decide to do it, get instruction from a qualified instructor .
 

rickster

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the makawara teaches proper method, and strengthens the bones, and it also teaches focus, and strengthens the muscles in the wrist. I do not use any ointments when doing it,
and the Okinawan Tradition does not use them either that I am aware of.

using a makawara makes the hands bones less likely to brake, and your punches more effective if needed. You can go way to far with it, but again that is the individuals choice.

If you do not wish to condition your hand at all, then do not. I have known people who got into an altercation when attacked and broke carpels in their hands from hitting the individual. but either way it is an option. if you do decide to do it, get instruction from a qualified instructor .

Agreed.

But I have also known people who had not any (extreme) conditioning who got into fisticuffs flurry with fists and not damage the hands in any strong degree.

Then I known people who did hard core conditioning, only to not even use their hands or not get into a fight which warranted said training.

Then I know people, who did not condition, but got out of so many scrapes without using/not hurting their hands

Then I knew one person, who I thought was bad***, who had arms and hands of steel. Only to get shot to death because he only trained with his physical weapon, not the one which puts humans on top-his brain.

All goes back to my previous questions;

How often do you expect to hit so hard as to have the hands so-conditioned?

Why would one keep up such a conditioning activity that forces them to use a special ointment?
(Besides, if the ointment is using a type of alcohol, the alcohol is thus the main active ingredient.)

Instead of so much emphasis upon such conditioning, should more be placed upon proper method?

Will conditioning compensate that much for lack of proper method?
 

lklawson

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Hi Kirk,
I would be curious to hear some herbs or what was used and compare it to some formulas that Chinese herbs used. Maybe they both used some common herbs or some from similar plants.
Here's the Fitzsimmons' recipe I was mentioning:

"Fitzsimmon's jow from Fox's Boxing and how to Train.:
To the hands, however, too much attention cannot be paid, and I have found nothing better than corned beef brine. This does not smell very nice, it is true, and should be applied three times a day after eating. I would never allow my man to apply it before eating, as it might affect his stomach, which would be bad. But, although the brine does not smell anywhere near as good as Florida water, it does the business, and that is all that is required. After the brine is applied and well rubbed in, the following liniment should also be rubbed in. It can be obtained at any first class drug store, and the ingredients are as follows ; Laudanum, three ounces ; spirits of hartshorn, four ounces ; alcohol. one quart ; iodine, two ounces ; eucalyptic, three ounces. These mixed up together with ten cents worth of horseradish and five cents worth of alum, make a liniment which cannot be equalled for strengthening and hardening the bone, and when applied and well rubbed in it has a tendency to make a man feel fresh and strong."
-Robert Fitzsimmons, Fox's Boxing and How to Train, Richard K. Fox Publishing Company, New York City, 1913​

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Supra Vijai

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Agreed.

But I have also known people who had not any (extreme) conditioning who got into fisticuffs flurry with fists and not damage the hands in any strong degree.

Then I known people who did hard core conditioning, only to not even use their hands or not get into a fight which warranted said training.

Then I know people, who did not condition, but got out of so many scrapes without using/not hurting their hands

Then I knew one person, who I thought was bad***, who had arms and hands of steel. Only to get shot to death because he only trained with his physical weapon, not the one which puts humans on top-his brain.

All goes back to my previous questions;

How often do you expect to hit so hard as to have the hands so-conditioned?

Why would one keep up such a conditioning activity that forces them to use a special ointment?
(Besides, if the ointment is using a type of alcohol, the alcohol is thus the main active ingredient.)

Instead of so much emphasis upon such conditioning, should more be placed upon proper method?

Will conditioning compensate that much for lack of proper method?

Rickster,

Just an observation without trying to be rude. The last 2 threads we've both posted in are this one and another on "Breaking" and in both, you have presented your view that you don't believe these things to have value. You've given examples of people without training doing things in a real world situation and seem to say that is proof enough that these things are wasted effort. There was a story recently in the UK about an old lady who fought off a gang of thieves who were breaking into a store with her handbag. That doesn't mean we can say avoid all martial arts training, you can do the same or in this case, better with a handbag! Might I point out that while your system(s) may not use these methods or teach them, it might be worth noting that others do teach them because they perceive some value. If something doesn't work for you, then don't use it - as you appear to be doing. However questioning the motives or training method of another system, which may have completely different ideals, training methodologies, strategies etc to your own isn't going to go anywhere. Especially given most of these systems are well established and have a long history of doing things their way. One person saying things shouldn't be a certain way isn't going to even register on their radar :) Live and let live seems an appropriate motto here.

With regards to your questions though, I'd like to put forth my own opinions (and these are my own):


How often do you expect to hit so hard as to have the hands so-conditioned? Honestly, I don't expect to hit that hard at all. But, if I did need to, I want to make sure I only have to hit once. A point made above was using a palm strike against a hard target like the skull and a similar anecdote our instructor tells is of Mike Tyson breaking his hand by punching someone in the head during a street fight. Given that the palm is a softer surface, I for one can definitely see the value of conditioning it so as to definitely and consistently (not based on luck or any other variables) do damage if I need to.

Why would one keep up such a conditioning activity that forces them to use a special ointment? Discipline for one. With our hand conditioning, it's not forced that we have to use the ointment. The ointment simply aids the healing process. As I've mentioned in an earlier post, we approach it as a 30 day program where you discipline yourself to pick a skill and drill it for 30 days. If you miss a day, you start again. If nothing else, it teaches you commitment and ideally, it gets you good at whatever skill you've chosen to work on.

Instead of so much emphasis upon such conditioning, should more be placed upon proper method? No one says you can or should replace method or technique with conditioning. That isn't martial arts, that's wailing on a bag/tyre/pad while thinking you are some awesome warrior. Youtube fantasy stuff. Combine both technique and conditioning though and your results are bound to go up dramatically.

Will conditioning compensate that much for lack of proper method? See above. That said, in a real fight, under adrenaline, you can expect your intricate forms and techniques to go out the window. What most people are left with will be incredibly gross motor actions. Now, given you can't rely on proper method 100% of the time in a real situation, conditioning which also factors in power generation and getting used to striking could be a life saver - literally.
 

Chris Parker

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Rickster, bluntly you seem to be coming from a rather ill-informed approach here. You talk about conditioning as a way of making up for lack of proper technique... except conditioning is done specifically to ensure proper technique, and strengthen it as well as can be done (according to the methods of the school/system itself). You can't really condition your strikes without proper technique, as you'll be conditioning the wrong thing/area. So separating them out is to have a fundamental lack of understanding of conditioning in the first place.
 

Supra Vijai

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Then I known people who did hard core conditioning, only to not even use their hands or not get into a fight which warranted said training.

Then I know people, who did not condition, but got out of so many scrapes without using/not hurting their hands

Posting again as I forgot to include these in my last response.

These 2 in particular to me are perfect examples of training. The end goal of training as I see it, is not to get into fights to prove your skills. It's avoiding violence yet being prepared should violence be thrust upon you. Those who did the hard core conditioning and never needed to use their hands or better yet, never got into a fight are not weaker for it. They just had no reason to use their skills and presumably went on to live peaceful lives. Perfect! That doesn't mean their conditioning was not warranted. The only situation(s) I can see where you can use the term "unwarranted" would be if someone training specifically for demos whether it be breaking or XMA style kata and then refusing to enter any demonstrations; or where a civilian states they want to be trained the same as a special forces operative just because it's cool.

As for the second example of the people who got out of scrapes without resorting to using their hands, I'm taking that to mean their verbal deescalation skills were top notch. Again, brilliant! I for one, wouldn't be discounting the people mentioned in either example or the art they had trained in with any sort of hurry.
 

rickster

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Rickster,

Just an observation without trying to be rude. The last 2 threads we've both posted in are this one and another on "Breaking" and in both, you have presented your view that you don't believe these things to have value. You've given examples of people without training doing things in a real world situation and seem to say that is proof enough that these things are wasted effort. There was a story recently in the UK about an old lady who fought off a gang of thieves who were breaking into a store with her handbag. That doesn't mean we can say avoid all martial arts training, you can do the same or in this case, better with a handbag! Might I point out that while your system(s) may not use these methods or teach them, it might be worth noting that others do teach them because they perceive some value. If something doesn't work for you, then don't use it - as you appear to be doing. However questioning the motives or training method of another system, which may have completely different ideals, training methodologies, strategies etc to your own isn't going to go anywhere. Especially given most of these systems are well established and have a long history of doing things their way. One person saying things shouldn't be a certain way isn't going to even register on their radar Live and let live seems an appropriate motto here.

I do not think your response is rude -Thanks for the polite opening

I do not think, I have actually stated that conditioning has no value. In fact, I do not think I have used the wording "no value". It isn't about questioning the ideas or motives of what others do, for the sake to belittle-or degrade. My posts, for the large part, are rhetoric conversations. Some of which take upon the position of Advocatus Diaboli (out of historical context).

And just because a system is established doing something a set for a long period of time, does not lend it will remain efficient or effect. The world changes, and martial arts have been changing and evolving since the dawn on man vs. man.

As for modern martial arts, if I was to say my system does a Triple Lundy Leap to kick off a horsemen, others could state that this method could be antiquated or inquire on "what's the point"

In other words, anything can be open for rhetorical discussion and critiqued



With regards to your ANSWERS, I'd like to put forth my own rhetorical replies (although these are my own, they are not confined to my logical approach):


How often do you expect to hit so hard as to have the hands so-conditioned? Honestly, I don't expect to hit that hard at all. But, if I did need to, I want to make sure I only have to hit once. A point made above was using a palm strike against a hard target like the skull and a similar anecdote our instructor tells is of Mike Tyson breaking his hand by punching someone in the head during a street fight. Given that the palm is a softer surface, I for one can definitely see the value of conditioning it so as to definitely and consistently (not based on luck or any other variables) do damage if I need to.
There are a few a problems associated with putting faith into a "one-hit"
1.) The target would have to be not in motion. (People move in fights)
2.) Accuracy. If one should miss, one should have a arsenal of other methods
3.) If one is being attacked with a barrage of hits, one does not have the effort to retaliate with "one hit"



Why would one keep up such a conditioning activity that forces them to use a special ointment? Discipline for one. With our hand conditioning, it's not forced that we have to use the ointment. The ointment simply aids the healing process. As I've mentioned in an earlier post, we approach it as a 30 day program where you discipline yourself to pick a skill and drill it for 30 days. If you miss a day, you start again. If nothing else, it teaches you commitment and ideally, it gets you good at whatever skill you've chosen to work on. .
That said, to continue to subject the body to such stress as to keep having it medicated, would "seem" extreme, given that modern combat does not heavily rely on this. (For example, if martial arts had any link to military ways (art), most of the military today, do not do this type of hand conditioning.

From my past experiences/observations, "most" actual brawls end quickly, and no one really strikes hard enough to warrant conditioning the hand. Sure, one can get their hands hurt in a brawl, but under the fast pace with adrenaline, the action does not slow down when the hands get hurt.



Instead of so much emphasis upon such conditioning, should more be placed upon proper method? No one says you can or should replace method or technique with conditioning. That isn't martial arts, that's wailing on a bag/tyre/pad while thinking you are some awesome warrior. Youtube fantasy stuff. Combine both technique and conditioning though and your results are bound to go up dramatically.
I agree. I want to emphasize that there must be a balance of both without either being extreme



Will conditioning compensate that much for lack of proper method? See above. That said, in a real fight, under adrenaline, you can expect your intricate forms and techniques to go out the window. What most people are left with will be incredibly gross motor actions. Now, given you can't rely on proper method 100% of the time in a real situation, conditioning which also factors in power generation and getting used to striking could be a life saver - literally.
So much for training to hit hard with conditioning. Per my above
 

Supra Vijai

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I do not think your response is rude -Thanks for the polite opening

Of course :) This is after all, a friendly discussion board ;)

I do not think, I have actually stated that conditioning has no value. In fact, I do not think I have used the wording "no value". It isn't about questioning the ideas or motives of what others do, for the sake to belittle-or degrade. My posts, for the large part, are rhetoric conversations. Some of which take upon the position of Advocatus Diaboli (out of historical context).

And just because a system is established doing something a set for a long period of time, does not lend it will remain efficient or effect. The world changes, and martial arts have been changing and evolving since the dawn on man vs. man.

As for modern martial arts, if I was to say my system does a Triple Lundy Leap to kick off a horsemen, others could state that this method could be antiquated or inquire on "what's the point"

In other words, anything can be open for rhetorical discussion and critiqued

Agreed I was over simplifying things as part of the conversation, the no value approach was my perception of what was put forth, not to say that you explicitly stated that in as many words. Playing the Devil's advocate can be fun and can generate some good discussion but at what point does it go from banter and an exchange of information to simply arguing the same point over and over in different words?

Sure the world is ever changing but not everyone studying a martial art is looking for self defense. There are specific self defense programs out there. Again, they are two very different animals and to say that everyone training an art form is looking to apply it in a real world confrontation is to (often) miss the point of training in the first place. People train for a range of reasons and for most, little to none of their motivation is based on applying their art as is to a modern situation. I for one train to better myself in a range of areas not limited in the slightest to fighting. I don't train for competitions, I don't train for duels or especially not fighting on the streets. If I can take the lessons from my art however and apply it as I need to in a self defense situation, I'd count that as success and time well spent.

The thing to remember also is that to be studying a certain art, you need to study the art. The art was designed the way it was for a reason and it was completely applicable in it's time and place. The world changing does not mean an art has to, only the martial artists approach to applying the lessons within. If your system did a kick designed to knock off a horseman, granted you may not employ it in that fashion these days but you still get the benefits of training something like that: lower body strength and conditioning, the ability to either jump fairly high or the flexibility to kick as high (depending on the specific kick), timing, distancing, angling etc. You might never kick someone off a horse but it doesn't mean you've wasted effort, just that the particular expression of the technique in your system isn't applicable "as is" anymore.

With regards to your ANSWERS, I'd like to put forth my own rhetorical replies (although these are my own, they are not confined to my logical approach):

There are a few a problems associated with putting faith into a "one-hit"
1.) The target would have to be not in motion. (People move in fights)
2.) Accuracy. If one should miss, one should have a arsenal of other methods
3.) If one is being attacked with a barrage of hits, one does not have the effort to retaliate with "one hit"

Granted about putting blind faith into one hit victories. I've never stated that I expect to win a fight with one hit. Hell, I've never stated I want to "win" a fight. The point of my statement about one hit was that I don't want to be in a situation where I get caught up trying to fight. In my mindset, my ideal is to strike as few times as possible and only as necessary so as to allow me to escape the situation. The longer I stay in that situation, the more the chances that I will get hurt go up dramatically and that's not something I like the idea of. I agree the target would be in motion during a fight, but if you're waiting for them to hit first and then respond, you are going to put yourself at a disadvantage immediately. Knowing your local laws is a must in this case. For us, we are allowed a pre-emptive strike if we feel in danger and the aggressor is close enough to carry out the threat, so I will use that. If all I do is stun the aggressor for a moment while I get distance and get the hell out of there, I'm happy. I have no need to stick around and see who goes the distance so to speak. If my friends think less of me for not using my death touch or what not, then that's their loss. To be honest though, most of the people I hang around with regularly are martial artists so they have more sense than that! If the opponent is moving however, you strike where you can for the same effect, going in with a predetermined target is a dangerous thing and something we get trained out of very quickly in our school. If we miss our target, simply move on, don't dwell on it and don't stop to think about it. Having a couple of tried and tested responses that come out naturally appeals to me more than having an arsenal of moves I need to think my way through. As for being attacked with a barrage of hits, yes one will not have the calm mindset to retaliate with one all powerful hit that ends everything. As my instructor jokes, this isn't the Matrix, we aren't Neo and the aggressor isn't Agent Smith. Doesn't matter, you still simply do what you can and what you have to in order to survive. Just so you know, we do train under those conditions as well - multiple aggressors, dealing with a barrage of incoming hits, on the ground etc

I guess that's the most important thing. Mindset. We train to survive, not win. Goes a long way in influencing how we think or approach situations like that.


That said, to continue to subject the body to such stress as to keep having it medicated, would "seem" extreme, given that modern combat does not heavily rely on this. (For example, if martial arts had any link to military ways (art), most of the military today, do not do this type of hand conditioning.

From my past experiences/observations, "most" actual brawls end quickly, and no one really strikes hard enough to warrant conditioning the hand. Sure, one can get their hands hurt in a brawl, but under the fast pace with adrenaline, the action does not slow down when the hands get hurt.

First about the military and modern combat. Sure the military don't condition their hands as part of basic training. Then again, I don't carry around a M4 Carbine, a backup sidearm, a knife or any other sort of weapon and I'm not wearing body armor. The military simply don't need to focus as heavily on unarmed combat because they have guns! You said it yourself in an earlier post. A martial artist with arms of steel still ain't gonna stop a bullet so why would the average soldier need a dozen black belts when they can shoot you from a dozen or more feet away? This is of course ignoring the assumption that hand conditioning must be done in a manner which puts your body under extreme stress. There is, as with everything, a right way and a wrong way to do things. Learn from a qualified instructor and you won't do something silly enough to injure yourself in the long run.

The only reason people keep going during those fights with injuries is because of said adrenaline. Adrenaline makes you faster, stronger and feel less pain but it's a temporary thing. Most people by accounts don't even know they've been stabbed in a fight, they just think they were punched. Coming down off the adrenaline though is a very different situation. Drop in blood pressure, shock setting in, dizziness, tears are all a normal part of the process. We had a first hand look at the after effects in class just the other night when one of the students got a little bit more pressure than he was used to and went through a major adrenaline dump. Few minutes later, he was fine and kept training but it was still a valuable lesson - if that's in the Dojo, think about how much worse it will be on the streets when it's actually life or death.


I agree. I want to emphasize that there must be a balance of both without either being extreme

I don't see what you mean by extreme technique? If you are talking about repetitive and ongoing drilling of a technique, then isn't that kinda the point of training in an art and wanting to get good at it? Again, no arguments here about there being a balance between the two but if done correctly, conditioning (or breaking) will enhance technique, not detract from it.


So much for training to hit hard with conditioning. Per my above

I don't follow. What I said was you can't always rely on fine motor skills or 100% precision, not that conditioning will cause your technique to fail. If anything, conditioning will make even your gross motor strikes hit that much harder because a) your striking surface is used to impact and b) it's used to generating impact using correct technique, some part of that at least will be instilled in your muscle memory (gross motor)
 

chinto

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again I agree that it all goes together. conditioning the hands is a way to prepare your hands if you need them in a self defense situation, it is also discipline, and it is part of the art I study. perhaps it is not of the one you study?

as to ointments, they are not part of the Okinawan tradition as far as I know. and as I also said, if you do not wish to condition your hands, do not do so.
 
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