Join Chris on his journey exploring the essence & application of traditional karate
"Chris is one of the most forward thinking martial artists in the world today."
- Paul Enfield Sensei
- Paul Enfield Sensei
Last week I uploaded an article to the site that I'd wrote about makiwara training, which was originally published in Combat Magazine in early 2012...
To supplement this piece, I also added a video to my new YouTube channel that showed a some clips of my personal hand conditioning routine...
So all this week, the subject of traditional conditioning methods and makiwara training had naturally been a focal point in my mind.
I like to spend a little time in the evening relaxing before bed and sometimes I'll pick up my iPad and search YouTube for videos of interest. Taking the subject of makiwara training, I came across a whole host of videos - some great and some not so great - with a few that I found really interesting and inspiring to watch. Therefore in the spirit of sharing, I thought that readers of my blog would enjoy my findings...
Plus they also put my video to shame :-)
The first video shows Morio Higaonna striking the makiwara and canvas bag with impressive force! Having trained with Higaonna Sensei on a number of occasions I know only too well the amazing skill and power this man has. He clearly embodies the very spirit of karate with every movement...
The next video put a smile on my face a mile wide! It shows Yuchoku Higa teaching makiwara to a small group of students outside his Kyudokan dojo in Tsuboya. An amazing piece of footage that (from what I can gather) also shows Isamu Arakaki Sensei and Shinshi Shimabuku Sensei in their younger years!
The third video shows Michiko Onaga of Shorin Ryu facing the makiwara with such elegance, grace, speed and power. The way she effortlessly moves her body (tenshin) is inspiring to watch. her teacher and father, Yoshimitsu Onaga Sensei was originally a student of Yuchoku Higa...
The next clip shows Masaji Taira Sensei demonstrating short range power on the makiwara with ippon ken (single knuckle fist) at the Jundokan Dojo. I really like Taira Sensei's unique approach to kata bunkai and the functional application of his methods can clearly be seen here...
Now, here's some videos that feature some makiwara and hand conditioning tutorials that for me, stand out from the crowd on YouTube...
First up is a couple of videos from a student of Taira Sensei in the US discussing his method of hitting the makiwara and also some of the special dynamics that his teacher specialises in...
And finally, here's a video from Brett Barrell demonstrating his iron fist training. This is only one of many videos by Brett on traditional conditioning methods and the effectiveness of his training can be clearly seen through his impressive demonstrations of breaking. I've chatted with Brett on a number of occasions through Facebook and I really like his genuine and humble approach to training...
There's lots more information out there on makiwara training and hand conditioning, but I would warn you to be a little wary with the content and always make sure that you undertake a sensible approach to your training. The phrase to remember is 'slow, consistent and progressive persistence'.
This is an aspect of my training that I really enjoy...probably because every time I face the makiwara it's a very personal challenge. There's no one else in the equation but me and I'm solely responsible for my progress!
Taking personal responsibility for your training is very important in karate and how the lessons from the art transfer into every day life. Too many people make excuses and blame either their situation or others for not succeeding. There is really only one person to blame and by taking full responsibility for your life, it also becomes very liberating because you also gain full control over it.
Don't let life comfortably drag you around. Push life in the direction YOU want to go, step outside of your comfort zone and enjoy the growth!
So...makiwara and hand conditioning becomes far more than the superficial development of weapons. If approached correctly and with the right mindset, it can help tremendously to the way you life your life.
That's all for now - hope you enjoyed the read!
Chris Denwood has been studying martial arts since childhood and specialises in the practical application of karate's traditional principles for civilian self-defence, personal development, life integration and discovery.