to condition the knuckles or not

jarrod

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i did some shin, foot, & knuckle conditioning early in my training but didn't really maintain it. recently i thought it would fun to revisit it, so i had a good bareknuckle session on the heavy bag. then i realized my knuckles were all skinned up & gross looking, & that i hadn't punched anyone without a glove on my hand in something like 14 years. so it was fun to get back to for a day, but it doesn't seem like the best use of training time for me. how about you?

jf
 

Thesemindz

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i did some shin, foot, & knuckle conditioning early in my training but didn't really maintain it. recently i thought it would fun to revisit it, so i had a good bareknuckle session on the heavy bag. then i realized my knuckles were all skinned up & gross looking, & that i hadn't punched anyone without a glove on my hand in something like 14 years. so it was fun to get back to for a day, but it doesn't seem like the best use of training time for me. how about you?

jf


I think it's less important to condition the knuckles then it is to develop solid structure of the weapon.

In a real combat situation, the thin skin over the knuckles will probably be torn open anyway if you use any significant amount of closed hand strikes. With the adrenaline and endorphins you will most likely have coursing through your system, you won't even feel it. However, being able to deliver powerful strikes without sacrificing weapon structure is key to power transfer. I like to practice punching hardened targets not so that I can develop a pain threshold, or tougher hands, but so that I can develop the ability to strike a resisting target, with a great deal of force, while maintaining proper weapon structure and alignment. I've learned the hard way what happens when your wrist bends under load, or when your fingers roll and collapse into the interior of your fist. Ouch.

As a side note, I think it's equally important to practice striking soft targets. I've found that bricks may hurt to punch, but in some ways their hardened structure allows for a more solid strike. Heavy bags and focus pads can give in unpredictable ways which can also cause your weapons to roll on you. Since humans are made of both hard and squishy parts, and they are my ideal striking surface, I find it useful to train on both types of targets.


-Rob
 

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I think it's less important to condition the knuckles then it is to develop solid structure of the weapon.

In a real combat situation, the thin skin over the knuckles will probably be torn open anyway if you use any significant amount of closed hand strikes. With the adrenaline and endorphins you will most likely have coursing through your system, you won't even feel it. However, being able to deliver powerful strikes without sacrificing weapon structure is key to power transfer. I like to practice punching hardened targets not so that I can develop a pain threshold, or tougher hands, but so that I can develop the ability to strike a resisting target, with a great deal of force, while maintaining proper weapon structure and alignment. I've learned the hard way what happens when your wrist bends under load, or when your fingers roll and collapse into the interior of your fist. Ouch.


As a side note, I think it's equally important to practice striking soft targets. I've found that bricks may hurt to punch, but in some ways their hardened structure allows for a more solid strike. Heavy bags and focus pads can give in unpredictable ways which can also cause your weapons to roll on you. Since humans are made of both hard and squishy parts, and they are my ideal striking surface, I find it useful to train on both types of targets.

-Rob

We have used the Makiwara (striking post) in our training for years. The Makiwara is designed to give the striker resistance as well as allowing you to maintain body structure. It is a very misunderstood tool, and looses its effectiveness as a learning tool when replaced by a punching bag. Once you have grasped the principals of the Makiwara, all others forms of hitting are enhanced.
 

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Having broken my hand a few times with misplaced strikes I know how important proper technique is . Hand conditioning may help you punch stronger against a resistive target but it dose not guarantee that you will hit correctly.
Also long years of hand conditioning have left there mark on me with a case of arthritis ( which I admit I might have got at my age anyway)
I do know that I tended to hit harder when I conditioned my hands but then again I was younger and may have done so with adrenalin flow anyway
 

terryl965

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Conditioning is important and well as positioning and hitting with proper technique.
 

seasoned

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Having broken my hand a few times with misplaced strikes I know how important proper technique is . Hand conditioning may help you punch stronger against a resistive target but it dose not guarantee that you will hit correctly.
Also long years of hand conditioning have left there mark on me with a case of arthritis ( which I admit I might have got at my age anyway)
I do know that I tended to hit harder when I conditioned my hands but then again I was younger and may have done so with adrenalin flow anyway

Good point. I know from experience that hand conditioning is long and tedious, but was a very important part of my beginning years. My art of GoJu (hard/soft) would imply that there is a progression over many years. Because of time restraints or boredom some never attain the latter. Once the softer aspects of the art are realized, or in other words, you are old J , you can still enjoy you art, with a renewed out look. Hard to soft, young to old. At this point it is not how hard we hit, but ever more important, where we hit. This should not be a problem because of the many years of proper structure training.
:asian:
 

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One other point I forgot to mention last night. The people I've trained with have always done the majority of their training bare fisted. No gloves or wraps. The only times we used gear was for intermediate level sparring and when we were doing drills which were extremely intense and involved a high degree of commitment, and concurrently a higher degree of risk. As a result, we learned to hit hard, at odd angles, without losing weapon structure.

For a while we had some MMA students renting mat time in our school, and they always wrapped their hands before doing bag work. They thought it was dangerous of us not to, because it lessened the risk of their wrists rolling if they hit the bag poorly. And while they weren't wrong, that is the difference between sport and combat. Nothing wrong with sport, it just isn't what we were training for.

I'm not training for a combat situation where I will have on wraps and gloves, so I don't train with them. I'm training for an arena where my bare hands may be the only weapon I have, and I want that blade to be as sharp as possible.


-Rob
 

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One other point I forgot to mention last night. The people I've trained with have always done the majority of their training bare fisted. No gloves or wraps. The only times we used gear was for intermediate level sparring and when we were doing drills which were extremely intense and involved a high degree of commitment, and concurrently a higher degree of risk. As a result, we learned to hit hard, at odd angles, without losing weapon structure.

For a while we had some MMA students renting mat time in our school, and they always wrapped their hands before doing bag work. They thought it was dangerous of us not to, because it lessened the risk of their wrists rolling if they hit the bag poorly. And while they weren't wrong, that is the difference between sport and combat. Nothing wrong with sport, it just isn't what we were training for.

I'm not training for a combat situation where I will have on wraps and gloves, so I don't train with them. I'm training for an arena where my bare hands may be the only weapon I have, and I want that blade to be as sharp as possible.


-Rob
And so it is with boxing, great punches, dynamite power, would not want to get hit by a trained boxer. But, a sport it is. You are so correct about the bare fist. In battle you cant worry if you are hitting with the proper part of your hand, that is where training comes in. A broken finger or hand, in a SD situation will limit your survival.
My Sensei always said, why cover your weapons. Train as you would defend yourself.
 

Drac

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We have used the Makiwara (striking post) in our training for years. The Makiwara is designed to give the striker resistance as well as allowing you to maintain body structure. It is a very misunderstood tool, and looses its effectiveness as a learning tool when replaced by a punching bag. Once you have grasped the principals of the Makiwara, all others forms of hitting are enhanced.

Ahhh, another brother from the old school...
 

searcher

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I try to conditionparts that are not going to directly effect my ability to make a living. I condition my shins, elbows, and palms. I try to condition without doind anything that will give me problems. I have invested in quite a bit of Dit Da Jow.
 

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Most of us old timers will remember Tak Kubota and how he use to conditions his body parts...
 

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jks9199

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If you don't condition your weapons, you don't have weapons.

But that doesn't mean you have to damage your body, either. There are ways to condition your hands, feet, and other body weapons that don't leave you crippled. Different styles have different methods of doing this, and each has its merits.
 

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If you don't condition your weapons, you don't have weapons.

But that doesn't mean you have to damage your body, either. There are ways to condition your hands, feet, and other body weapons that don't leave you crippled. Different styles have different methods of doing this, and each has its merits.





In Judo they condition their body for falls, by being thrown. In karate by hitting things. But you are correct, everything in moderation. In this day and age we all have jobs to go to. Not like at the dawning of MA, when all you had to worry about, was the next battle, and could train and abuse your body all day long.
 

Andrew Green

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In Judo they condition their body for falls, by being thrown. In karate by hitting things. But you are correct, everything in moderation. In this day and age we all have jobs to go to. Not like at the dawning of MA, when all you had to worry about, was the next battle, and could train and abuse your body all day long.


This is true, however they condition their bodies through falling on mats. What some people like to do as conditioning is more like smashing your head into the pavement to "condition" against being thrown on your head on "the street."

Conditioning should be strengthening muscles, imroving technique, etc. Not damaging joints so they "rebuild stronger", not if you want to use your hands into old age anyways. Some impact is good, too much will do more harm then good in the long run though.
 

Tez3

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One other point I forgot to mention last night. The people I've trained with have always done the majority of their training bare fisted. No gloves or wraps. The only times we used gear was for intermediate level sparring and when we were doing drills which were extremely intense and involved a high degree of commitment, and concurrently a higher degree of risk. As a result, we learned to hit hard, at odd angles, without losing weapon structure.

For a while we had some MMA students renting mat time in our school, and they always wrapped their hands before doing bag work. They thought it was dangerous of us not to, because it lessened the risk of their wrists rolling if they hit the bag poorly. And while they weren't wrong, that is the difference between sport and combat. Nothing wrong with sport, it just isn't what we were training for.

I'm not training for a combat situation where I will have on wraps and gloves, so I don't train with them. I'm training for an arena where my bare hands may be the only weapon I have, and I want that blade to be as sharp as possible.


-Rob


I will wrap my hands when punching or wear gloves, I also never go into a situation which might turn out 'sticky' without wearing gloves. They are practically the first thing I reach for, my gloves are kevlar lined as are many of my colleagues and useful for a number of reasons.
I think it can sound superior sometimes to say one is training for 'real' combat, wrapping your hands while training has little effect on whether you can use them without wraps when necessary. Wraps as the MMA people have rightly said save your wrists if you hit badly thus enabling you to train wiser and better.
 
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jarrod

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tez raises an interesting point. i think i'll just invest in a good pair of sap gloves.

jf
 

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There are ways of conditioning the hands. But every good one of them is slow and gradual and uses a lot of "eye of newt" medicines. You can get your hands to the point where you can drive tacks into the knuckles. But you can also give yourself traumatic arthritis twenty years down the line and not be able to use your hands for anything except clubs.

You aren't the Emperor's personal guard. You need your hands for lots of things from work to buttoning shirts to typing on Martial Talk. Don't hurt yourself worse in training than the fight you're preparing for in real life.

If you're going to condition anything concentrate on forearms and shins. They make great weapons. Since they aren't joints you can overtrain without permanently hurting yourself. And whole martial arts styles like Cimande Silat and Muay Thai use them to deadly effect.
 

Andy Moynihan

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The other thing to consider is that many of those bone calcifying conditioning techniques were developed at a time when most people didn't live long enough to get arthritis and there were but very few legal aspects to self defense.

It made sense to smash tiles or boards as they would have simulated the armor worn by samurai at that time. Nowadays breaking's just a stunt.

Heavily conditioned hands suggest preparation to use them as bludgeons, and therefore imply intent in a modern courtroom and there's your justified self defense claim in serious jeopardy.

Also you should realize that if you condition your hands to that level you are risking the chance that they will never again be normal, or nonarthritic.


Awful heavy price to pay for doing a stunt.
 

Thesemindz

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I will wrap my hands when punching or wear gloves, I also never go into a situation which might turn out 'sticky' without wearing gloves. They are practically the first thing I reach for, my gloves are kevlar lined as are many of my colleagues and useful for a number of reasons.
I think it can sound superior sometimes to say one is training for 'real' combat, wrapping your hands while training has little effect on whether you can use them without wraps when necessary. Wraps as the MMA people have rightly said save your wrists if you hit badly thus enabling you to train wiser and better.

I understand your point, however I think perhaps you and I are approaching the situation from different angles.

First, it sounds from the tone of your post, and I could certainly be wrong, that you have an occupation which requires you to occasionally "go into a situation which might turn out sticky." I on the other hand, do not. I choose to avoid violence whenever possible, and have no intention of using it as a means of conflict resolution given a suitable alternative. If I find myself in a combat situation, it will be because I was given no other choice, no warning to plan or prepare, and insufficient space to run away. Grabbing a pair of gloves and suiting up simply won't be an option.

As far as sounding superior, that was not my intention at all. It isn't a matter of better or worse, it's a matter of apples and oranges. They are training for sport, where their hands will most definately be both taped and gloved. They should train in exactly that fashion. I, on the other hand, train for self defense, where I will be neither taped, nor gloved. Training with either would hardly adequately prepare me for a situation where I have neither.

You're right, it is more dangerous to work the bag without tape and gloves, because my wrist might roll, and I might hurt myself. I know, because it's happened. Not having the tape and gloves to protect against that eventuality means that I must be that much more conscious of each and every punch I throw. I must focus on form and angle with every strike. And if I roll my wrist, I must somehow fight through the pain.

Just like in the scenario for which I train.


-Rob
 

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