Is body conditioning in martial arts bad?

Discussion in 'Chinese Martial Arts Articles' started by Light25, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. Light25

    Light25 New Member

    I was curious about doing heavy body conditioning like in kung fu like doing long horsestance holds, hitting and kicking eachother arms and legs against eachother to build strength and putting on dit da jow after for bruises. Same goes for any other style for body conditioning where you hit areas on the body.

    Is all this conditioning not good to start doing at a young age like mid teens cause it will develop problems later on? Or is it better to wait when older to do? Thanks.
  2. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award

    A) wait till your older.
    B) only do it under a teacher who actually knows what they're doing.
    hewho, Jaydub, Pretty In Pink and 2 others like this.
  3. Light25

    Light25 New Member

    Ok thank you.

    At what age is best to get into conditioning, using dit da jow after hitting and holding long stances? Is 20s best to do that stuff?
  4. Jaydub

    Jaydub Valued Member

    I started body conditioning in my early 30's. I don't see a reason why I couldn't have started in my 20's. I'd be hesitant to recommend that someone start this in their teens, but I'm no expert.

    Do you train in martial arts currently? I would advise anyone against body conditioning without the guidance of a qualified instructor at any age.
  5. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu

    I did it from early 20s, as with many other students at my club. Late teens were allowed to join also, but it was taken very easy for them.

    Is the club you train at, or looking to train at that does this? Is there options to opt in/out of this part of the training?
    Dead_pool likes this.
  6. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Valued Member MAP 2017 Gold Award

    If you train hard it should come without you having to do it outside of training.

    For instance Muay Thai hitting pads, boxing you take enough ponies to the body during the day.

    Honestly I wouldn't bother with it. Train not to get hit, rather than training to be able to get hit harder.
    Monkey_Magic, Grond, Thomas and 4 others like this.
  7. Knee Rider

    Knee Rider Valued Member Supporter

    I think there is something to be said for conditioning your limbs for offensive and defensive purposes such as bridging (if that's your thing) kick checking and striking. Although most if it just comes through training in class s but if outside work is never a bad thing if it's intelligent.

    I stay after class to work the heavy bag to condition my tendons, ligaments musculature etc for delivering force and I condition my shins on the solid sand filled bag too.

    I don't know about Kung Fu type conditioning though.

    Whichever you go after get proper guidance and don't punch hard and heavy things hard without protection.
    axelb likes this.
  8. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Hold off heavy conditioning until you're at least past the growth spurt unless you have ambitions to be a lifelong orthopaedic patient.

    Any instructor guiding you on any aspect of fitness should at the very least be a qualified personal trainer, although an acredited strength & conditioning coach (CSCS/ASCC) is preferable.
    Grond, Monkey_Magic, axelb and 2 others like this.
  9. dbl0

    dbl0 Member

    I started in my early 20's but made sure I didn't go too hard too fast and it was always done under the supervision of my instructor.
    Jaydub likes this.
  10. Light25

    Light25 New Member

    I'm just starting to, how do you make sure the instructor is a good qualified trainer?

    Well I'm just beginning some kung fu classes and they do some conditioning. I heard some other martial art schools might do body conditioning too. I'm sure there's ways not too, idk yet. So what kind of training or conditioning did the teens do? Cause I don't want to do anything that could cause harm when I'm young.

    Thanks but how do you train yourself to not get hit? Does it require lots of movement and reflexes? And is body conditioning supposed to help you get used to being hit so you can take it just in case?

    Ok cool. Thanks.

    So can conditioning like doing forearm hitting drills and rubbing dit da jow afterwords on bruises, holding horsestance poses for a long time and hitting to body and legs for iron palm training all cause growth problems or injuries at my age? If so maybe I'll hold off until I'm a little older and do lighter training for now. If the teacher is ok with that.

    What age did you start heavy conditioning?
  11. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    I don't think stance training fits into the same category as everything else you are talking about. Stance training and hitting with impact (and then using dit da jow for the bruises) are two different things.
    Monkey_Magic and Dead_pool like this.
  12. Jaydub

    Jaydub Valued Member

    That's cool. What art are you studying? Kung Fu?

    Chances are if your instructor runs a martial arts school, they probably have some sort of legitimate credentials. I just wanted to make sure that you weren't just practicing in a garage with your buddies or something like that.

    In my opinion, if an instructor teaches body conditioning, they should ease you into it. For example, I started shin conditioning by just lightly tapping a bag full of sand. Even at the "mature" age of thirty-two, I wanted to push myself much harder. I eventually got to the point of hitting my shins with a hammer, but that was through gradual training, and not without my instructor's permission.

    If your instructor deams it appropriate to introduce you to body conditioning in your teens, I'm in no position to contradict. However, if they were to push you to a point where you could injure yourself, that should raise a red flag.

    At any rate, good luck with your training.
  13. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Little if any reliable evidence exists to support the purported benefits of Iron Palm type training at all. There is however much evidence that indicates these types of exercises may be harmful, more so in children and adolescents whose skeletons are still developing. Children are not little adults and should not be trained as such.

    But my main point is not regarding the efficacy of Iron Palm training, but rather the competency of the "teacher". A black belt/sash does not qualify one to coach strength and conditioning exercises.
    David Harrison and Dead_pool like this.
  14. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award

    The instructors qualifications should be on his/her posters, website and Facebook, also all legit teachers are proud of their qualifications/experience and will quite happily tell you if you ask them.

    What form of kung fu is it?
  15. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Valued Member MAP 2017 Gold Award

    The whole point of martial arts is so we can defend ourselves. The reason we master martial arts is so we can defend ourselves without hurting anyone. For example:

    Defence should be taught to you before you start worrying about taking punches. Also, you should get enough body conditioning just by hitting a heavy bag with some bag gloves on and training with your fellow students. If you're training hard you really don't need body conditioning at all, or at the very least I wouldn't focus on it.

    @Jaydub why would you ever want to take a hammer to your legs? Like honestly was it just a personal goal or was there a point to it?
  16. Simon

    Simon Moved on. Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award


    I tell my students time and again that there is a lot out there (Krav Maga and the like I'm looking at you) promising to turn you into the ultimate warrior.

    What they ignore is I'm hitting you back.

    As Pretty In Pink says, "gotta learn to defend yourself too."

    Ask any old school boxer, you can't put muscles on your chin.
    axelb and David Harrison like this.
  17. Jaydub

    Jaydub Valued Member

    It's part of how we condition our shins in our dojo. It's not an insane as it sounds. It's very controlled, and we are eased into it.
  18. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu

    Every class we did "limb locking" they called it, basically blocking against each others arms/legs. The mid-late teens would participate, but the action was just to follow the drill without power.
    After 20 you would gradually add power in and the teacher would give you dit da jow after.

    I didn't know of anyone to have lasting issues from forearm/leg conditioning, however that is anecdotal.

    The iron shirt/iron Palm was a lot more risky, and clearly can lead to many issue, more so the iron Palm, where you are "toughening" some of the smallest bones in your body.
    I found that weight lifting and structurally practice was actually better for "iron shirt" as increasing the size of the lat and ab muscle protects better than most "iron shirt" drills.

    Regardless, as many have pointed out: better to focus on good defensive techniques, and the body conditioning as a backup.
    aaradia likes this.
  19. Light25

    Light25 New Member

    Oh ok. So what's the difference in doing conditioning like holding stances for a very long time and doing forearm/kicking drills with impact using the dit da jow? Are both ways of training better to hold off till I'm in my late teens or 20's?

    Hey thanks, yeah it's kung fu based on two Chinese or maybe three Chinese, two southern and one northern styles, I'll find out more. I think they might do body conditioning much sooner in training. I don't mind training hard, but I don't wanna cause any future issues that can effect my body at an early age, someone told me that even if you don't get injured and start doing things like dit da jow and holding low horsestances for long time is not good when you're bodies still developing at a young age and I should wait till I'm a little older? I heard Shaolin monks do this training but they probably train it a specific way I'm guessing?

    I heard something similar to that, I've heard that if someone started body limb conditioning, like the ones I mentioned at a very young age it could stunt their growth plates, is this true? I heard this might of happened before to a student, but not sure.

    That's a good example. I would rather train to avoid getting hit, but maybe practice taking a few hits to the body when I'm older? In case of getting hit so you're used to it but dodging hits does looks better.

    That's probably how I'd rather look at it. Defense techniques would help maybe more than just smacking eachothers arms against eachothers. If I use it as a backup, maybe wait a few years? Thanks.
  20. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Um, no offense, but look at what you wrote above and you have your answer. One is impact training for conditioning. The other is building strength through non-impact holding of stances. One is helped greatly by dit da jow, while the other one does not cause bruises.

    I have never heard anyone say that stance training can be unhealthy for developing kids. Traditional Chinese martial arts has lots of stance training and plenty of young kids do it.

    A Chinese martial art based on three styles, two southern and one northern? That sounds like a description of Choy Li Fut. Are you a fellow CLF practitioner?

    I might add that I found what Axelb said to be more in line with my training too. My school does conditioning where we hit each others arms and legs. It isn't drills so much as two person forms. The kids and teens do two person forms where there is impact. I don't know if they take any extra precautions - like not going full force. I will try to remember to ask an instructor about it when I am at my school.

    The first one learned is at an intermediate level, you have to have some experience. It is a really short form. The longer ones you don't learn until advanced levels.

    Also, this sort of training doesn't go on for hours at a time.

    Iron palm/ shirt type training is considered a different thing. Again I find Axelb's description very good. My Sifu doesn't think the gains are worth the problems it causes at any age. We don't train in that sort of thing at my school.

    We also are taught it is best to avoid getting hit whenever possible. But I know that I have more confidence in striking after having some arm conditioning. I get bruises easily. When I started two person forms practice, I would get massive bruises all the time. Now I barely bruise, and the bruises are smaller and lighter. I feel like I could do a Biu Jong or any block, for example, and not worry that the impact would also damage myself. I need to work some leg conditioning into my training by doing some chin kicks against the heavy bag. That will have to wait until after my next test though.

    I might add that I think it is really smart that you are looking into questions like this about your training. Welcome to MAP. :)
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
    Jaydub likes this.

Share This Page