Hojo Undo

SahBumNimRush

Master of Arts
Joined
Dec 17, 2009
Messages
1,814
Reaction score
175
Location
USA
Quote:
Originally Posted by puunui
Also, the intent was to move away from the long wide unnatural stances and go back to the original narrow relaxed natural stances of Okinawan karate, which from the pioneer's perspective, were time tested and made sense from a longevity standpoint.

Dancing Alone: To be fair, the reason why Okinawan karate uses high stances is because the forms are meant to be fighting drills, at least in the lineages that teach bunkai formally or the bunkai ideas in an abstract fashion. I don't get the same feeling from the KKW forms, although by all means correct me if I am wrong. Instead if forms are simply meant to be a means of training the body, then it might be a good thing to adopt low stances to strengthen the legs as is done in many southern Chinese styles.

Okinawan styles also spend a lot of time with hojo undo physical conditioning, so the need for forms to play a role in physical exercise and strengthening isn't there.


Rather than hijack the original thread, I thought I'd start a conversation on the subject of Hojo Undo training. Since I am in MDK TKD, we do not use hojo undo, in fact I remember our KJN saying a long time ago that body conditioning such as building calluses (both soft tissue and bone) was less important in our TKD training than was emphasized in other forms of Karate because we put so much emphasis on technique. Obviously, if you're in martial arts long enough you are going to build up these calluses. We do train this somewhat, but nothing near what was trained in traditional Okinawan Karate.

I personally think it would be a great adjunct to our current training to implement some hojo undo training in our dojang. Especially since most students are so "soft" these days. I am just curious if any TKD people practice any traditional hojo undo, and if so what do you do?

For those who are unfamiliar with hojo undo training, here's what Wiki has to say about it:

Chi shi (weighted levers) are concrete weights that are attached to a wooden pole. The practitioner strongly grips to the end of the wooden pole (opposite the concrete weight), and moves his or her wrist and arms in motions used in techniques normally used in kata or against opponents. This weighted training helps strengthens the fingers, hands, arms, and chest.

Ishi sashi are hand-held weights in the shape of padlocks, traditionally made of stone.

The makiage kigu (wrist roller) is a weight hanging by a rope from a wooden handle. The practitioner grasps the handle with the weight hanging in the middle, and twists the handle to wrap the rope around the handle. The handle is raised and lowered throughout the twisting to strengthen the wrists.



The makiwara (striking board) is used to practice striking a target that provides resistance. There are two types of makiwara: sage-makiwara (hung from the ceiling) and the more common tachi-makiwara (secured in the ground). Of the tachi-makiwara, there are two variations: one flat and one round. The flat makiwara is created with a board placed into the ground and some type of padding on the top. The practitioner stands in front of the makiwara and strikes the top. The round ude-makiwara has a similar construction, but is round on all sides. This allows for additional techniques to be practiced.

Nigiri game
(gripping jars) are ceramic jars filled with sand to different weights. The jars are gripped around a lipped rim. Then, while holding the jars, the practitioner moves in varying stances, in order to strengthen the arms, shoulders, back, and legs.




Tetsu geta (iron clogs) are worn like sandals, but requires gripping the clogs with one's toes. The practitioner then moves around and kicks while wearing these. The extra weight required to move the foot strengthens the leg for kicks.

The jari bako is simply a bowl filled with sand that is used by striking one's fingers into it. This conditions the fingers and fingertips and can also work with a bowl filled with rice.

The "Kongoken" is a metal bar formed into an oval that can vary in weight and is used to condition the arms, legs, strengthen the wrists and core. This was used by wrestlers in Hawaii, and adopted into the Hoju Undo by Chogun Miyagi Sensei.
 

Manny

Senior Master
Joined
Apr 30, 2007
Messages
2,563
Reaction score
125
Location
Veracruz,Mexico
Hi Ben! In the TKD dojans I know there is no such thing as Hojo Undo, I think as the TKD become so sporty the kind of sternght exercises become to be ignored. TKD condition is more a cardiovascular thing these days with some minor sternght exercises like pushups,situps,crunches,etc.

Manny
 
OP
SahBumNimRush

SahBumNimRush

Master of Arts
Joined
Dec 17, 2009
Messages
1,814
Reaction score
175
Location
USA
I know that even though our KJN did not put a large emphasis on it in our classes, that he had to practice it when he was growing up. I have heard him talk about training in the mountains in Korea, training in waterfalls in the winter time, kick 4 inch saplings until they died, etc.. . I have a sinking suspicion that he saw Americans as to "soft" to endure such training when he moved to the states back in the late 60's.
 

dancingalone

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
5,321
Reaction score
278
My teacher always explained that hojo undo produced the type of muscle directly useful for martial movement and technique, in contrast to perhaps weightlifting. You were expected to come early (at least an hour or so) for class for hojo undo and sanchin kata practice under the supervision of the senior students. The people who didn't never lasted a long time - probably because without the conditioning exercises they just didn't progress at all compared to those who participated.

I do not have hojo undo included in the TKD curriculum I am devising. Why not? Well, it's really a big commitment of time, even though the benefits should be obvious. I think in TKD at least it should be more of an optional thing for those who want to do it.
 

punisher73

Senior Master
Joined
Mar 20, 2004
Messages
3,731
Reaction score
785
From alot of research I have read through, in the Naha-Te styles (Uechi and Goju), the first 2-3 years of a student's training was hard physical training to build up the body to prepare it for the rest of their study. Sanchin was taught as the only kata in this time period and the rest was basics and partner drills to condition the body. Their focus was on taking a strike as much as delivering a strike.

Calloused knuckles should be a byproduct of the training and not a goal. Use of the makiwara is designed to develop a focused punch and knuckle pushups are designed to strengthen the muscles and connective tissue/joints used in punching. Both of these when trained long term will build up the skin on the knuckles, but many people mistake that side effect as the goal. This leads to misuse of the makiwara and training until the knuckles are smashed and bloody and the training becomes a macho pain tolerance exercise. This also can lead to harmful side effects in the long term ie: arthritis from misuse of the makiwara.

I think that students/instructors today should place even more emphasis on hojo undo or other conditioning exercises in their study. I realize that classtime is limited, but a structured program should be offered for home use. Today, more and more people have no physical requirements at their jobs and are sitting for longer and longer periods of time during the day. If you were out in a field all day doing hard labor as in days past, you probably didn't need as much in the way of physical conditioning as offered by the hojo undo.
 
OP
SahBumNimRush

SahBumNimRush

Master of Arts
Joined
Dec 17, 2009
Messages
1,814
Reaction score
175
Location
USA
My teacher always explained that hojo undo produced the type of muscle directly useful for martial movement and technique, in contrast to perhaps weightlifting. You were expected to come early (at least an hour or so) for class for hojo undo and sanchin kata practice under the supervision of the senior students. The people who didn't never lasted a long time - probably because without the conditioning exercises they just didn't progress at all compared to those who participated.

I do not have hojo undo included in the TKD curriculum I am devising. Why not? Well, it's really a big commitment of time, even though the benefits should be obvious. I think in TKD at least it should be more of an optional thing for those who want to do it.


After a quick youtube search of Hojo Undo, I'm realizing that I already do alot of this 3x a week with my cross training. The one thing I would steer clear of is some of the Ishi training that requires you to hold the weight in front of you with an outstretched arm (very damaging biomechanically on the shoulder). I use kettlebells 3x a week, which looks similar to the movements used with the chishi, ichi, and nagiri game. I saw one video of a goju guy using a "tou" which looked similar to a wing chun dummy.

I think I'm going to start working on developing a routine geared specifically for my students as a "supplemental cross training" program. See how many people are interested. Regardless I think I'm going to start implementing it in my own workouts.

Out of curiousity, what are some of your favorite hojo undo exercises Dancing?
 

dancingalone

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
5,321
Reaction score
278
Out of curiousity, what are some of your favorite hojo undo exercises Dancing?

I favor the chi shi the most. I do a lot of arm swings and rotations utilizing whole body movement with it. Most beginners don't realize how much of a core workout you get with this exercise. You've probably seen them if you liken the exercises to kettlebell workouts.

My second favorite drill is probably using the sand-filled jars and gripping them palms down straight and cross-armed as I walk across the floor doing forceful abdomenal contractions and leg lunges.
 

puunui

Senior Master
Joined
Dec 7, 2010
Messages
4,378
Reaction score
26
I don't know about hojo undo exercises, I don't think any Taekwondo school does those. But I know elite competitors do weight training, pylometric, and conditioning exercises specifically to build their competition muscles.
 

chrispillertkd

Senior Master
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Messages
2,096
Reaction score
107
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
I do not have hojo undo included in the TKD curriculum I am devising. Why not? Well, it's really a big commitment of time, even though the benefits should be obvious. I think in TKD at least it should be more of an optional thing for those who want to do it.

"Hojo undo" certainly exist in Taekwon-Do. Check out any of Gen. Choi's books for a list of dallyon (forging) exercises and equipment that he brought into Taekwon-Do from karate. The ones lifted directly from karate are:

Nigiri Game (gripping jars; Danji in Korean)
Jari Bako (sand box; dallyon tong in Korean)
Kakite Bikei (blocking post; makgi dae in Korean)
Makiwara (striking post; dallyon goo in Korean)

There's also a forging pendulum (dallyon gune) that he covers.

He also includes knocking exercises (the equivalent of kotekitae) for both knife-hands and forearms.

While many Taekwon-Do schools don't focus on these things I have used them to good effect in my own personal training and at my instructors' school.

Pax,

Chris
 
Last edited:

dancingalone

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
5,321
Reaction score
278
"Hojo undo" certainly exist in Taekwon-Do. Check out any of Gen. Choi's books for a list of dallyon (forging) exercises and equipment that he brought into Taekwon-Do from karate. The ones lifted directly from karate are:

Thanks for the reminder. I recall you mentioning this before. Perhaps this is one of those 'yes, it's in General Choi's books, but we never do it' situations. Certainly, it seems to be a very uncommon practice, no?
 

chrispillertkd

Senior Master
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Messages
2,096
Reaction score
107
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Uncommon, yes. But not absent. It's like anything else that isn't practiced widely but is still part of a system; out of sight out of mind and pretty soon you think it never was.

I know several ITF instructors who use the dallyon goo, for instance. I've personally used the forging post (my instructors have two in their school which they have the students use at times), the finger toughening box, and the gripping jars.

Pax,

Chris
 

dancingalone

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
5,321
Reaction score
278
It's like anything else that isn't practiced widely but is still part of a system; out of sight out of mind and pretty soon you think it never was.
I

No doubt about that.

After the discussions last year about General Choi retaining a hapkido master to create ho shin sool for the ITF, I called around to see if there was anyone who was familiar with the material. I don't want to name names, but my correspondence leads me to believe that this material too is of the elusive variety not commonly practiced.
 
OP
SahBumNimRush

SahBumNimRush

Master of Arts
Joined
Dec 17, 2009
Messages
1,814
Reaction score
175
Location
USA
I don't know about hojo undo exercises, I don't think any Taekwondo school does those. But I know elite competitors do weight training, pylometric, and conditioning exercises specifically to build their competition muscles.


Sure, weight training is great for building mass/strength, plyometrics are AWESOME for building ballistic strength and speed. I can see that both can be tailored to an activity (martial arts, in this case) specific training program, as with any sport. What interests me, is the bone/soft tissue conditioning aspect, which is something that no other sport I know of practices. You don't see football/soccer players kicking wooden poles to build up calluses on their shins. While I do not think that it is essential for training, I like the idea of implementing an "optional supplemental conditioning program" that involves some body hardening. We used to do partner drills that focused on this, blocking, striking, and kicking different aspects of our legs and forearms, etc. But that was 15-20 years ago, when our sahbumnim was younger and more physical in class. I also suspect the softening of society over the past 15-20 years played a part in that exercises' extinction.

My current resistance training consists of Kettlebells (Turkish getups, swings, snatches, cleans, presses, renegade rows, sots press, windmills, squats, etc.), TRX suspension training (push ups, pull ups, rows, lunges, etc.), physioball exercises (push ups, pikes, planks, etc.), and body weight training (pistol squats, hand stand push ups, plyometric push ups, etc.). However, none of that directly addresses building my body up to impact punishment. I can take a good hit, but since I don't have anyone in my class that I can aggressively spar anymore (age and rank issues), I don't have the calluses on my shin and forearm that I did when I was sparring hard on a regular basis.

I am interested in perpetuating Wolfe's Law, and keeping those calluses strong and present!
 

chrispillertkd

Senior Master
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Messages
2,096
Reaction score
107
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
No doubt about that.

After the discussions last year about General Choi retaining a hapkido master to create ho shin sool for the ITF, I called around to see if there was anyone who was familiar with the material. I don't want to name names, but my correspondence leads me to believe that this material too is of the elusive variety not commonly practiced.

Sheesh, if you were talking to people who were actually part of the ITF (any of them!) and not just "ITF style" folks that's just sad. It's in the book and has been since 1972. Last October I had a three hour private lesson with my instructor and all we did was ho sin sul. (The man has been doing ITF Taekwon-Do for 40 years and when doing ho sin sul moves like a low dan ranking hapkidoin.)

I will say that the ho sin sul portion of the ITF syllabus is much less standardized than the fundamental exercises, tul, and the various types of sparring but it's there.

Pax,

Chris
 

puunui

Senior Master
Joined
Dec 7, 2010
Messages
4,378
Reaction score
26
What interests me, is the bone/soft tissue conditioning aspect, which is something that no other sport I know of practices. You don't see football/soccer players kicking wooden poles to build up calluses on their shins. While I do not think that it is essential for training, I like the idea of implementing an "optional supplemental conditioning program" that involves some body hardening. We used to do partner drills that focused on this, blocking, striking, and kicking different aspects of our legs and forearms, etc.


We used to do that stuff, but I don't think it's necessary. There are other ways to develop strength in your bones besides banging your arms against someone else's arms. In this regard, I think the Chinese martial arts have a better approach. My hand looks soft, but I have never injured my hands or wrist, even though I've cracked my share of people in the face. As for forearm, I used to hold a double paddle against my forearm and used to take the whole class's back kicks, inviting them to break my forearm if they could. No one ever came close. Make yourself some jow and experiment. :)
 

dancingalone

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
5,321
Reaction score
278
We used to do that stuff, but I don't think it's necessary. There are other ways to develop strength in your bones besides banging your arms against someone else's arms. In this regard, I think the Chinese martial arts have a better approach.

Hung gar, for example, has plenty of arm banging. Which other bone hardening practices are you referring to?
 

dancingalone

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
5,321
Reaction score
278
Sheesh, if you were talking to people who were actually part of the ITF (any of them!) and not just "ITF style" folks that's just sad. It's in the book and has been since 1972. Last October I had a three hour private lesson with my instructor and all we did was ho sin sul. (The man has been doing ITF Taekwon-Do for 40 years and when doing ho sin sul moves like a low dan ranking hapkidoin.)

I will say that the ho sin sul portion of the ITF syllabus is much less standardized than the fundamental exercises, tul, and the various types of sparring but it's there.

Yeah, I knew to look for ITF or USTF people. Coming from Jhoon Rhee TKD background, I know all too well the problems of assuming stuff. :)

Know anyone in Texas who can teach the General Choi hapkido material? I'm particularly interested in this stuff and not so much the usual 'ho shin sool' bandied around in TKD dojang. There's some legitimate hapkido in Texas also, but like I said I'm interested in the Choi ITF subset.
 

puunui

Senior Master
Joined
Dec 7, 2010
Messages
4,378
Reaction score
26
Hung gar, for example, has plenty of arm banging. Which other bone hardening practices are you referring to?


That's a hard style. You can do that, I've done my share, but there are other ways to get the same or better result. I will say that you will need access to a lot of dit da jow. Make you own if you can. Think iron palm. :)
 

dancingalone

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
5,321
Reaction score
278
That's a hard style. You can do that, I've done my share, but there are other ways to get the same or better result. I will say that you will need access to a lot of dit da jow. Make you own if you can. Think iron palm. :)

Yes, I do make my own. Much cheaper than buying it from a store even when you allow for buying the imported herbs!

Iron palm still involves striking progressively tougher and tougher surfaces to build up your bone and sinew,albeit it's done at a slower rate than kotekitae. It's all good though.
 
Top