Train SMART- Not HARD.



I haven't been around MartialTalk for a long time, and the reason for my absence is the reason for this post. Some of you know me, many of you don't, so here is some background:

I began training in martial arts at the age of seven, in Kyokushinkai. Over the years, I have studied Chung Do Kwan, various styles of Ju Jutsu, and eventually settled on American Kenpo as my base art. I obtained my 1st degree black belt in Kenpo in 1994.

In my teens and early twenties I was drawn to "hard style" martial arts and drew inspiration from such masters as Mas Oyama and Tak Kubota. Their insane training methods particularly held attraction for me. I regularly practiced tamishiwari (breaking) and "conditioning exercises" (IE: striking and kicking hard objects repeatedly). I developed extraordinary abilites at demolishing objects with my fists, elbows, knees, and feet. I would break beer bottles with handswords, tiles with punches, and anything that I could kick. All of the training and conditioning made me feel impenetrable and powerful. Over time, I have repeatedly broken knuckles and toes, as well as chipped and cracked bones in my knees and elbows. My mentors were quite old, and they seemed none the worse for wear after all the years they trained by these methods.

I will be 38 years old this month, and I am now so riddled with arthritis and calcium deposits that I move like 90yo man. I cannot make a fist with my left hand because the knuckles on my index and "happy" finger have frozen solid and are deformed by arthritis. My right hand is starting to follow suit. My left knee swells up like a grapefruit when I mow my lawn. Both of my elbows are red, swollen knots that I cannot even lean on- much less strike with. My arches are big painful knots, and I have bone spurs on my heels. It takes potent anti-inflammatory drugs, sometimes combined with narcotics, just to help me make it through the day.

Needless to say, I have had to give up training. I miss it horribly, but I have no choice. I am paying a HUGE price for the excessive training of my youth.

The reason I came forth to share this with you is to provide you with an example of what NOT to do. You don't have to hit a makiwara 500 times a day, roll coke bottles on your shins, slam your fingers into hot gravel, break cinder blocks with your head, or do any of the "traditional" conditioning exercises to be a good martial artist. If I had been a little smarter in my training, I could still BE TRAINING. We all want to be Superman, but please remember YOU ARE ONLY HUMAN.

Sometimes self-defense means defending yourself FROM yourself. That's a lesson I wish I had learned early on. I sure do know it now.
Great post Vince. I wish you all the best and hope that they find better ways to alieviate your pain.
That was a hard way to learn what not to put the human body through.
I sometimes think that when we are young we think we are superman and nothing we do will hurt us and that we can bounce back from anything. Only in our later years do we come to learn the truth of what the damage really was.
Vincefuess, My best wishes to you in haveing some healing and finding a way to study once again. And Thank you for shareing your story with us.

tshadowchaser :asian:
May I suggest trying some coral calcium (the okinawan formula). I have/had some of the same problems, not quite to the extent that you are problemed with. but it has helped. Not only myself but several other's that I know have had some relief. Hope this can be of some use for you. Wish you well and hope that you can find a way to train again. :asian:
I've reached the time in my life when I have to start accepting that certain things are going to be a lifelong struggle, and other things I can control through work and good sense.

Chronic pain is incredibly hard to live with, and not fun to talk about. Hopefully you have influenced someone who will now not inflict injury on himself (or herself). You can train b@lls out without overtraining. Broken digits are fairly common, but if you keep breaking bones, bleeding, getting stitches, if you always have a pulled muscle or craked rib, how cool is that?

:yinyang: balance. Interesting how the human body is continually seeking homeostasis but the human mind just don't get it.
First I would like to thank you for the warning I'll definately keep that in mind before I do anything crazy!:asian:

I hope everything works out with you and maybe you will be able to train again some day.:D
Thanks for the post. Sometimes we all need a little reminder that there is (hopefully) a future and a price to pay for the things we do to ourselves in the present. I train full-on whenever I can but always try to keep in mind that I have a full time job and a family to support. Can't do my job with a bunch of broken bones and driving for 10 hours a day gets pretty uncomfortable with pulled muscles.
Mas Oyama had his hands x-rayed several times in his later years. There was no abnormality found. People spread rumour about how he couldn't use his fingers blahblahblah. Just rumour.

If you want to train the "hard" conditioning, there are "sound" ways and there are "unsound" ways. Yes, a lot of the traditional methods are hogwash, surefire ways to cripple one's limbs. (Somehow, I suspect they were designed to mislead people to injure themselves so as to discourage others from pursuing this Ikken Hisatsu skills.)

With the current knowledge in medical sicence, you can device a way to condition safely. I found one myself, and was glad to discover that it has also been discovered and used by many more experienced people. But you do not need these secret proprietary methods. Just use Ditajou (sp) to medicate your hands. AND DON"T buy into the BS about breaking the bones so they can grow stronger! That is pure HOGWASH!! And don't believe the BS about punching/conditioning till your tendons are pushed aside such that your knuckles punch with the bones (ewhhhh!! Insane) And do not just condition the striking surface. Must condition every component of the whole system. Go slow and start easy. Give your hands and body time to heal (ignore the BS about must punch X hundreds of times everyday; it will just cause crippling injury) The result will show up in time. And Ikken Hisatsu is within your reach. Ever heard the expression, "The Secret is, THERE IS NO SECRET!" :D There is so much truth in it. Before I started, I used to admire all the masters and grandmasters and experts and what not. Now that I have paid my dues, I found that they don't really know as much as you assume they do.

PS. I was going to LMAO at you being such a nob. LOL. But the Admin has asked me to be nice. LOL :D
Im starting to think some of us hurt ourselves much more when training, than a mugger would during an attack. :p :D

Thanks for the post :asian:
You could try colloidal minerals. I have used them because of bad knees developed from years of dry firing. They worked for me, even through winter, when my knees were at their worst. At times it felt like my knee caps were going to dislocate when I walked, but the minerals helped and my knees are almost perfect. I still can't kneel down though for long periods.


Originally posted by Ben22
Im starting to think some of us hurt ourselves much more when training, than a mugger would during an attack. :p :D

Thanks for the post :asian:

That's the whole idea! Then when we get mugged, we catch him by surprise and belt him with our crutches, or run him down with our wheelchairs.


Thanks for sharing Vince. It's a good point to raise. I haven't run into anybody asking me to do any of that crazy stuff yet, though I do break boards now and again at demonstrations. I've seen some other worse stuff done over the years, too. I wonder, is there a way to do the "hard" training style without injury? If so, it might have some merit, but if all it does is wreck a person's health, what's the point?

Seems to me the purpose of the MAs is to train a body to be stronger and more effective in the arts of war and fighting then it was before-hand, not less so. I guess the lesson is, be careful what you do to yourself. We only have one body. Don't abuse it.

Thank you very much for the post, Vince. If I come across any potential remedies or effective painkillers, I'll let you know, although I get the feeling you've been hunting for both for a long time, and would probably already know them all. That said, if I find anything, I'll let you know.

It might be a good idea to start a thread or a category for threads along the lines of "dealing with injuries." Just a thought to the admins when they have time.

Thanks again, Vince.
That's the whole idea! Then when we get mugged, we catch him by surprise and belt him with our crutches, or run him down with our wheelchairs
We recently did a demo for a retirement home to give the elderly folks some entertainment. It went over very well, but I'm still waiting for the phone call that some of them have decided to come up with walker defense techniques and wheel chair katas!

Vince, I say again, thank you for the warning and wish you all the best in your search for relief. Have you thought about checking into any of the chinese herbal or accupuncture/pressure methods that are available?
I was hoping my post would spur a few suggestions of alternative therapies for my plagued joints. Medical science has pretty much given me their final answers on the condition- drugs that treat the symptoms.

Thank you to all who have responded to this thread, I appreciate all the well wishing as well as the suggested therapies/ treatments. If anyone out there has tried a therapy with success, please post it. The symptoms have only reached their current severity over the past year or so, so being "fresh", I am remaining very hopeful about finding a way to manage, if not beat the arthritis before it takes a bigger toll.

Thanks again for everything.
Vioxx and celebrex are pretty good. I wrestled for a long time so my knee flares up know and agian as well as my neck. My fingers are just a mess but that stuf usally gets me through the day. You are definitly right about conditioning that hard though =-).
I feel sorry that you cannot train anymore. I think it is a good point to train correctly. Training smart, but I still think you can train hard and be OK as long as you train smart too. I know about being carfeul now as I am only 21 but I have crushed two vertabrae in my spine, popped out a hip and have two worn knees. But only the back injury is serious and long-term, however, I am finally getting back to training properly and I can still train hard, but I now MUST be smart because of my back injury. So I must always be careful but can still put burning effort in. It's terrible to be injured for a martial artist, so I hope you will all stay as well as possible. When my back first went I couldn't walk and at the time it seemed like the end of the world and i was told i could not train again. A fate worse than death of course, as training was life. However, I got better. I still have problems but I can do most things now and eventually I will recover back to full strength and beyond. So there is always hope I guess....


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In light of Vince Fuess' testimony, does anyone know of any NON-harmful training methods that can be used to prepare for breaking and other specific actions?
hey vince...

in regards to your arthritis...try giving emu oil a shot. do a google search for it on the web and you should be able to turn up a distributor pretty easily. it's a pretty fascinating thing. it is said to help with arthritis among other things. pretty interesting to read up on it.

i can't promise that it's some miracle treatment that will cure all your illnesses and injuries...but it may help.
Originally posted by Kenpo Yahoo
In light of Vince Fuess' testimony, does anyone know of any NON-harmful training methods that can be used to prepare for breaking and other specific actions?

Breaking wooden boards that are meant to be broken are not likely to cause a problem. I belive injuries are likely to stem from taking breaking too far to other objects (I bilieve tile was mentioned). Is that what you were refering too?

Thanks again for sharring your story vincefuess.