Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Body Conditioning for Martial Arts

People who are involved in striking arts will at some point get hit. Even if the style you practise is non contact, it is nearly impossible to never actually take a hit. For those who have not experienced a blow to there bodies, not only can it hurt you, but the shock of getting struck can stun you for a moment, leaving your opponent enough time to finish you off.

For these reasons, it is wise that martial artists practise body conditioning. This is a method of toughening up your skin and muscles to take hits and to also make you aware of what a hit feels like, so when it happens it does not faze you in any way.

For many, the idea of body conditioning involves beating themselves vigorously, making themselves bleed and bruise and sometimes even brake bones with the hope that the body will recover stronger.

Personally I don’t think body conditioning should come to this. Although it should involve taking hits and maybe self hitting, it should be with padded strikes, gradually getting harder over time.

Body conditioning should be limited to the torso, thighs, arms and even areas of the face (through sparring with padded gloves). Conditioning vital areas such as the throat, groin etc is too dangerous and not really advised.

As mentioned, it is best to get struck with padded strikes, such as someone wearing gloves, shin guards of even striking with focus/Thai pads. The strikes should be soft and not for too long to begin with and hardness should be gradually increased to the point where you are getting struck near enough with full contact blows. Allowing a partner to strike you with various punches and kicks is a great way to also get used to getting hit with the actual blows used in combat. To strengthen and condition your own striking weapons, its always best to use a heavy bag without pads.

Also it must be remembered, that through weight training you are building up the strength and tolerance to bumps and blows of the muscles and ligaments. This all helps, especially within the grappling arts where you are constantly taking falls and having your ligaments extended and stretched.

Body conditioning is something that can be practised right from the start of your martial arts training even of you are a beginner and for those wanting to compete in MMA or other full contact matches, it should definitely be a must.


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