Evidence of shin conditioning dangers

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Socrastein, Oct 6, 2006.

  1. Socrastein

    Socrastein The Boxing Philosopher

    I need some.

    Nutshell: tonight in my MT class, my instructors were talking to eachother out loud in front of the class about how they like to condition their shins. One said he rolls Sobi bottles up and down his, another said he taps his with Coke bottles, and they all agreed that smacking yourself in the shins with sticks was a great method.


    I spoke up. "Why on earth would you do that?"

    Why, to toughen up your shins and seperate the muscle from the bone, of course.

    I retorted, as politely as possible, saying that as far as I know this is terrible for you, it causes nerve damage, brittle bones, increases risk of arthritis, etc. I asked them why they don't just hit the heavy bag and reap all the benefits without all the dangers?

    They told me, also politely, that every fighter they know and train with does the same, and they've never had any problems.

    I asked if they would reconsider upon my bringing evidence to them of the dangers of what they do. They said they would look at it.

    Now, here's the problem. It seems a "given" that you don't smack yourself in the shins and what not on MAP. Anyone who's anyone knows that, right? Everyone knows that it causes damage, and only morons do it, etc. However, as far as I can see from sifting through threads, nobody can support this fact with concrete proof. I need this concrete proof. I need evidence, scientific studies, of why this is bad, and why you should never hit your shins on anything harder than your shins. I can't very well prove this point to them by citing the posts of a bunch of people on an internet forum, as much as I love and respect you all :love:

    I've been searching google and MAP for the past couple hours, I can't find anything. Maybe I'm retarded? Maybe I'm using bad keywords? Point is, if anyone has studies, and respectable articles, etc., please show them to me, so I can show them to my trainers, and save their shins, and the shins of everyone else in my class - not to mention save my own dignity, because I am certain everyone in my class assumed that I had no idea what I was talking about. :cry:

    I'm not debating that kicking trees and poles and hitting yourself with hard things is bad - I accept that it is. But I need some proof of this to show my instructors. Please don't tell me to simply find other instructors - there aren't any others where I live... I've looked. In little po dunk Idaho you don't find good Muay Thai gyms. The class is awesome otherwise, my instructors know a lot about fighting, but I've noticed they don't know much of anything about the other aspects of training, like cardio conditioning (They advocate running for miles to build your 3 min round endurance), weight training ("I wish I had a bow flex" :eek: ...actual quote), and shin conditioning, obviously.

    Please help.
  2. kenpoguy

    kenpoguy The Last Dragon


    It sounds like your instructors aren't doing anything wrong. Although i've never heard of rolling coke bottles on your shins, i have heard of and used other rolling devices. It sounds like more or less that your not happy with their quality of instruction/or doubt their qualifications. What im reading into it is that you'd like to find a better instructor but your limited to your abilities in finding a new school. I own a martial arts school and have the exact same problem. I live in St. Louis and there are tons of schools. But very few "authentic ones". In otherwards, different from TKD schools or mcdojo's.

    Shin conditioning can be very safe, or it can be very dangerous. Like you said, common sense tells you that it can cause arthritis, can cause bone damage, and can cause several other negative side effects. Yet plenty of people practice it and never have any of the above systems. Simply put, if you know what your doing when you train you PROBABLY wont get hurt. That's not to say you won't, becuase there's always a fairly good chance of that. I've been practicing iron body conditioning for the past several years and have had very few injuries.(I use the stick methods) In the process of training some of my nerves have been decensitized, but not permanately damaged. If I dont practice conditioning for longer periods of time, they do return back to normal. To me it was worth it. It made me a better rounded fighter, and enabled me to do things that I hadn't really pictured myself being able to do. To the "old school" martial artists who train this form of body conditioning they also have their own reasons.

    As far as "running for miles" goes, it is great for cardio conditioning. But obviously, to be honest, not everyone is capable of dedicating that sort of time towards training. And not everyone is phsycically capable of doing that. Again running is another "old school" method. As far as the bowflex goes, I wish I had one too :p. What a bowflex does is use resistance training. Similar to doing pull ups, but with a million variations possible. It's a great device, and probably would be a good idea to have in a martial arts studio. It's also much safer than regular plated weights.

    Regular weight training can be great also. There is an age old debate about it. If you train with weights you can get alot stronger and become very healthy physcially. But you can also risk losing your striking speed, increase the chances of injury, or any other number of side effects.
  3. ItalianStallion

    ItalianStallion Valued Member

    The point isnt about time, or about capabilities, its that HIIT is a more effective way to develop anaerobic conditioning, which is needed in a 3min round, not saying that LSD running is useless, but in most cases HIIT is much more effective.
    Bowflex sucks. Period. 99% of machines suck. The bowflex is not safer. Its only safer for idiots who have no damn clue what the hell they are doing in the gym, and I suppose that accounts for most of the gym going population...so I suppose you are right there :rolleyes:

    Errr...wow....there is no 'debate' about it. Weights dont make you slow, or increase chance of injury, or any other side effects, were you going to say make you huge and inflexible? ....

    And sorry Socrastein, I havent seen any valid sources on the whole shin rolling thing.
  4. kenpoguy

    kenpoguy The Last Dragon

    Seems like you came looking for an argument here, so lets argue :D

    First off I dont know what HIIT is, please clarify :p And hopefully your not talking about the drug LSD. As far as I know running, while on LSD is a bad thing :p

    Second off I agree that most people who go to gyms are idiots :p But not all.

    But the bowflex does tend to be alot safer. The risk of injury is reduced considerably. If your saying the bowflex isn't effective then your pretty much saying that pushups, freestanding squats, sit ups, and other excersies of that nature are useless. Your using virtually your own bodyweight during the resistance training, which can build mass and other desired effects. As far as machines go, well alot of them do suck :p. They tend to be marketed as "get fit quick" machines. Genereally the principle behind them almost always works. But what they dont tell you is what you have to do, along with the excerise. Take the ab roller for example. One of the best selling home excersie machines of all time. You could do thousands of situps a day on the thing and never get a visible six pack. You'll have a rock hard stomach and be incredible muscle on your abs, but it won't be visible. They don't mention the layer of fat that most people have over their stomach. In order to have a six pack for example be visible, the layer of fat has to be lost. And there is really no machine out there that can lose it for you. Losing the extra fat is done through cardio training and aerobic training.

    As far as the weight machines go, those do work. They isolate the muscles. By using seperate machines you can work each muscle group seperatly, which is a very good thing. In doing so, you risk over lifting, pulling and straining muscles and the whole nine yards. You also risk flexiblity. This isn't to say you'll lose flexibility, because as long as you train the right way you can keep it. But the more mass you add onto your arms and body, the slower you tend to get.(Again, unless you do avidly train in martial arts or another fast paced activity).

    And there is a HUGE debate about weights vs. bodyweight training. I don't think there is a right answer about which is better. Whatever works for you works, whatever doesn't doesnt. Plain and simple...
  5. ItalianStallion

    ItalianStallion Valued Member

    BTW, for this whole argument, please make a new thread, delete your post (as will I) and paste it in the new thread, If you want of course. I dont want to hijack this post any more than I already have.
  6. kenpoguy

    kenpoguy The Last Dragon


    Will do just that in the morning. Im gonna hit the sack for now :D If there is one thing that burns my bridges its a thread hijacking Italion Stallion. Cmon and give it up. There's only one true italion stallion. Thats identity theft your commiting ;p It appears that we have a criminal in the mist... :D
  7. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter

    Ok, I'll go through this step by step. See if you feel my response makes any sense.

    The rolling of coke bottles on the shins is largely a myth. Though it appears the two you mention have taken it seriously and actually do it.
    As for rolling something to simulate something that is a completely different action... as in a striking impact... I don't quite think that's gonna give you the desired results. As well it's a rather shortsighted way to approach conditioning to say 'Oh there are no problems now' - people who ram McDonalds down their fat cakeholes don't worry while they're eating it... but years later when they are dead from complications related to health problems from a crap diet they'll no doubt wish that had taken a longer term view.

    The myth of kicking tree's stemmed from a misunderstanding of what nak muays in Thailand were doing in terms of conditioning. I've posted a thread recently for those with overactive imaginations who believe nak muays were out kicking hardwood tree's - in reality they were kicking banana tree's. Not the same thing at all. Again - any Thai knows this... but westerners are always on the lookout for exotic and extreme training methods. :rolleyes:

    The myth of kicking tree's was largely reinforced by the movie Kickboxer - starring Jean Claude Van Damme. At one point he goes extreme and trains by kicking a tree... LOL! :D Movie fu at it's finest.
    He is someone who never fought or trained in Muay Thai.
    So no surprise he got it wrong.

    Case and point would be the vast majority of gyms in Thailand - they fight full contact and have arguably some of the hardest and most repetive kicks in the world (given the number of full contact kicks thrown and checked with an opponents shin over a 5 round fight and then multiplied by the average number of fights a fighter has over the span of his fight career) and they seem to get on fine without such silly methods. In fact they never kick anything harder in training and conditioning than the heavybag, a stack of used truck tires or the MT pads.

    I've brought up the subject at several gyms I've trained at with the Thai's there and they laugh... the general consensus was that it's some idiocy that confused westerners have come up with.

    Yes it appears they're looking for more than anecdotal stories of those who are professional fighters who train and fight for a living. Interesting. I wonder if there are studies out there. Maybe... we might be able to draw some conclusions based on physiology and what not... I'll have a look.

    The catch here is going to be that it's got to have come across the radar of those in sports science or in the medical community. If it has - then perhaps there is going to some sort of abstract that one can find on the internet that will weigh in against it. Though a single study isn't really conclusive either. I think the big issue for those in the world that see the world in terms of absolute truths is that martial arts conditioning methods by and large don't make the radar of the scientific or medical community. Maybe because most of it is common sense? :confused: :p

    On MAP I am sure the best you're going to find is the article I've posted on ossification. But if I remember correctly that article isn't a scientific study.
    But give it a read. Again - these 'facts' are not going to come from MAP... anything that will stand up to the criteria that you're setting is going to come from a peer review article or abstract in something like JAMA (Journal of American Medicine) or The Lancet or some similar medical peer review journal.
    Perhaps something more sports science based is going to be the place to look.

    Fair enough. I can't imagine Idaho is replete with MT gyms. So you have my sympathy. I'm curious though - your instructors train fighters who fight in competitions under what sanctioning body? Are these professional Muay Thai fighters or are they amatuers? Are there any names known in the MT world?
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2006
  8. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter

    Here is an article that is germain to the subject... though it may not be the hard science you're hoping to find:

    Again I think there is going to be a very hard time to find scientific studies on the issue. Chances are the most relevant studies are going to be in womens health...that is studies done regarding the causes and prevention of osteoperosis and ostepenia.

    It's been shown that loading the axial skeleton has a good effect on the increased bone mineral density in response to axial loading. What is axial loading? Squats, deadlifts, cleans, bench press... All of the heavy, structural, multi-joint movements. Single joint, fitness gym types of lifting don't cut it.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2006
  9. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter

    Another place that came to mind that you might possibly find some studies is on the practitioners of Uechi Ryu. They train using similar conditiong methods and using makiwara. Believe it or not this debate is not unique to the Muay Thai community. :D

    Though I believe that even in the Ueichi Ryu community this sort of conditioning is done very slow and very gradual - building up to a point of striking much harder objects. Again - I'm not completely familiar with the techniques they use but it might be a place to find more info.

    Perhaps there have been studies done on this.
    There is a rumour that Mas Oyama eventually ended up with severe arthritis because of his conditioning methods for his hands. I'm not sure if this is true and if it's attributable to his conditioning methods.


    Ah here you go - not exactly proof of what you're looking for but rather another MA that does something similar to what you've describe your instructors as doing.

    Last edited: Oct 6, 2006
  10. Ad McG

    Ad McG Troll-killer Supporter

    Nice thread here guys :)

    Socrastein - I will have to agree with slips very good points. Unfortunately there have been no long-term studies (that I am aware of) because 1. it's dumb and 2. it's dumb :D I'm not going to explain but slip has given you all the ammunition you may need. I do believe that Mas Oyama's arthritis has a large amount to do with the conditioning, as many other "grandmasters" and high-ranking chiefs who swear by this stuff are now beginning to experience the same effects. It's simple physiology. Simply hitting the bag and pads will be plenty enough to condition them to the point that is needed without causing permanent, serious damage.

    kenpoguy - I would read Italian Stallions post carefully (fully referenced) then do a few searches around this forum, there are a couple of bowflex/machine training type threads. You will probably conclude the following:

    Isolation sucks, therefore bowflex sucks.

    Big dumb machines = lot of money, therefore bowflex sucks.

    Freeweights = cheaper, miles better workout in every single way possible, therefore freeweights do not suck.

    It is incredibly unlikely that you will ever get slow or inflexible solely because you weight train. The opposite will in fact happen if you train correctly, and not with a damn bowflex!
  11. Socrastein

    Socrastein The Boxing Philosopher

    Slip, thanks for all of your input, I appreciate it greatly. I'll print out and give my instructors the article you quoted, as well as another one I found while rummaging last night.

    As far as I know, my instructors neither train nor train with any big name fighters, they're all local amateur fighters. Especially if they said that everyone they train with beats their shins with glass bottles and sticks, I can hardly imagine they're training with any respectable fighters.

    Slip, you've already done so much, I hate to ask for more, but you mentioned that the people you train with and have spoken with, particularly Thai fighters, condition soley with pads and bags and rubber, and laugh at the idea of people over here cracking hard things against their shins.

    I was curious as to whether or not you know where I can find some quotes by such fighters, real Thai fighters, saying that they only condition on the bag, or that Westerners are stupid for the way they often condition. Or maybe you know where I can find some online training regiments of Thai fighters in which it is said they condition only on bags and pads. I'm sure if I could get some anecdotal evidence from top Thai fighters it would amount to something in my instructors' eyes. Afterall, all they have right now is anecdotal evidence, their own and that of other amateur fighters they train with. If I could show them that the real professional Thai fighters scoff at the crap they do, perhaps they would sing a different tune?

    With a couple detailed and intelligent articles and some quotes from big-name Thai fighters/trainers, I could hopefully convince my instructors. And if they won't listen, at least I can convince the other people in my class.

    BTW Slip, I'd like to quote you to my instructor's if you don't mind. If you could PM me your name and your experience, particularly where you've trained in Thailand, it would help me immensely.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2006
  12. kenpoguy

    kenpoguy The Last Dragon

    I was taught iron body by an Uechi Ryu instructor. Thats's just it they do take it very slow and gradually. I'm also very curious as to if Mas Oyama did get arthritis. Rumor has it that he still conducts camps and goes on his training runs in the Mountains on a regular basis. There was a great article in Black Belt Magazine either in 04' or 05' that talked about him. I'm going to go try to dig it up.

    Ad Mcg: I'll check out those bowflex threads. But my point being, isolating the muscles can be very effective. Resitance training can be very effective. And "big dumb machines" do costs a lot of money. In theory a knock off version of the bowflex for significantly less could be just as good. As far as running miles go, I never said they weren't great to do. I'm the one that brought it up initially. :D All I said is that for some people, they just aren't willing or able to do it. There's plenty of other ways to train and all but running is still good. I also never said that freeweigts suck :D I went over the disadvantages to them, because there are many. But I use weights and run laps, on a near daily basis. I've always liked using a combination of a little bit of everything, and it worked for me. And I still say that improper weight training can and will make you slower. At least if you add too much mass on to your body. When I was doing alot of upper body lifting my own speed did decrease and It was difficult for me to chamber my hands back to my sides/hips when practicing katas. But after stretching and doing some speed bag/other work it was back pretty quick.

    Socrastein: I'm not sure who your instructors are, but they've probably heard alot of the myths out there and won't change their ways no matter what. It might honestly be a little insulting for somebody to come up to them and confront them about their methods of training. No matter what skill level :confused: Just my 2 cents...
  13. Guizzy

    Guizzy with Arnaud and Eustache

    Weird, I thought he died.
  14. kenpoguy

    kenpoguy The Last Dragon


    He's still alive, but pretty old now. I came across a book that they just published about his life a few weeks back. I'm not sure if it was an autobiography or not. But i'd imagine he's as healthy as a bull(pun intended) but hurting pretty bad from the arthritis. As much as I like makiwara training, doing it that frequently for so many years, is bound to mess up your hands pretty good.
  15. Socrastein

    Socrastein The Boxing Philosopher

    Died of lung cancer in '94.
  16. kenpoguy

    kenpoguy The Last Dragon


    I stand corrected. The article I was reffering to was an archive article from a 1966 issue of Blackbelt magazine. It's hard to believe that despite having lung cancer, he was able to accomplish such amazing feats.
  17. Ad McG

    Ad McG Troll-killer Supporter

    How so? How many STRONG people do you know who mainly use isolation movements for their strength training?
  18. aml01_ph

    aml01_ph Urrgggh...

    Wolf's Law?

    Back on track.

    I'm not really sure of the name of the specific theory, Socrastein. But what it basically says is that sections of bone subjected to continuous trauma reacts by increasing its density.

    Of course this assumes that the bone is given time to increase its density before it breaks.
  19. wazzabi

    wazzabi sushi eater

    i think many of the traditional training methods are archaic and need to be scientifically studied before they should be practiced.

    isolation weight training won't really improve functional strength in terms of martial arts movements. since when in martial arts do you just flex your bicep and nothing else? even when you do a front snapping kick, you don't "just" use your quadriceps to extend your leg, but rather, most of the power comes from your hips. actually, using your quads might actually decrease your power as the kick might become a push rather than a snap. you'd think you use only your tricep to do a backfist, but really, most of the power comes from your upper back, shoulders, and weight transfer from the hips. why then would you try to strengthen the least important muscle in terms of power generation? and weight machines do suck because in martial arts, you don't only use the main muscles which generate the force, but also the intrinsice muscles which assist in balancing your movements such as stabilizers and neutralizers. if you only strengthen the main muscles, then the stabilizing muscles would be weak, and you'd have less strength, and possibly, increased risk of injury.

    by no means am i yelling at you or anything, i just want to stress to you that isolation weight training on the most part, SUCKS!!!!! the only athlete's that benefit from it are bodybuilders, and their goal is to shape the muscle, not build strength.
  20. kenpoguy

    kenpoguy The Last Dragon

    I have to say that was a very good post. I couldn't agree more on just about everything that you said. I wasn't just talking about specically training for matial arts, but I was talking about for training in general. Most martial arts aren't even about muscle but like you said more or less generating your force or your opponents. Isolation gets you more toned than anything else(unless you do specific training with it) but it can build some strength. But just to clear up any misunderstandings I didn't mean initiall that somebody only do isolation training, but instead train with a combination of different types of excercise.

    You'd also mentioned bodybuilders and their strength. What I always found funny was that even the buffest looking athletes were sometimes pretty weak. Just because they're toned, doesn't always mean that they're strong. And they also tend to get freaked out if someone smaller lifts more than them :D I remember earlier in the summer that I was at my gym doing half squats on a machine with a few hundreds pounds of weight on it. Half squats are similar to calf raises. Full squats are obviously where you come all the way down and back up. This guy started freaking out on me because there were more weight plates on my machine than his and telling me I was doing them wrong.

    I actually think that we should all come together and write/agree on an article to post about this subject matter.

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