Shin toughening

Discussion in 'Kickboxing' started by khafra, Jul 2, 2002.

  1. Combatant

    Combatant Monsiour Fitness himself.

    The reason most people partake in martial arts is to protect them selves. What is the point of beating yourself up on a daily basis (risking serious problems) in order to save yourself a bit of pain when/if you actually get into a fight. If you have a heavy bag then this should be all the conditioning you need in my opinion.

    I was told that you should only condition yourself with things that are softer then your bones i.e pads n bags n gloves.
  2. Snakescales

    Snakescales New Member

    Toughening and medical problems

    I'm a student of Chinese Medicine and I'm a rather novice kickboxer as well but I've done exercise for many years and I think that people need to be aware of the possible problems with toughening hands, shins and forearms. If you're going to do this I recommend you use padded surfaces with a larger surface area, this will keep from causing too much stress on any one point and possibly fracturing a bone or worse. From a Chinese medical perspective, hitting hard objects with bone disrupts the flow of Qi and can lead to several problems that seem unrelated to the area of injury (Dim Mak teaches one point on the shins that causes someone to defacate on the spot when hit precisely!) These can lead to eventual long term injury of many internal organs. I recommend to apply arnica on legs or arms after this training to help it heal quicker but you should consult a sports medicine specialist or I highly recommend a good accupuncturist so that you can train safely and without causing any unforeseen problems in the future. I don't recommend this so much for hands as it WILL give you problems later in life leading to things like arthritis. Train hard, train safe, you only get one body, do it right the first time.

  3. Dark Blade

    Dark Blade It Roundhouse time

    Bone conditioning.....It's not good for you
    Alot of Muay Thai guys can't walk past the age of 30.
    It's a good art, no doubt about that, but taken to an extreme it's no good at all.
    I went to a pysio to get some stuff checked out and she noticed my knuckles, she think's the joint of my right hand "pinky" is slightly damaged, and told me to take some shark cartlidge to help repair my knuckles.

    I'd strongly advise against conditioning.
  4. Jeff Burger

    Jeff Burger Valued Member

    Impact builds bone.

    Start easy and progress slowly.

    I meet 42 former Muay Thai champions in Thailand and non looked unhealthy...including one guy in his 70s.

    Id suggest looking into a Chinese method of conditioning called "MUYUGUNG".

  5. khafra

    khafra New Member

    Google only found one match for muyugong, and the page was in Spanish.

    Elucidate a little? Is it a method that uses dit da jow to heal after training sessions, to minimize damage?
  6. Jeff Burger

    Jeff Burger Valued Member

    Muyugung means...Bathing Skills (has nothing to do with soap and water).

    Its an Iron Body exercise (no mystical energy).
    It starts with some dynamic tension and other exercises.
    Then you do a progression of gettting hit. You do a bit all over with special attention to certain areas that you would like to block or strike with and areas that will get attacked.

    Im not a really big advocate of Dit Da Jow. I think they get alot fo hype to get sold.
    If the conditioning is done moderately there should be little or no bruising.
    I do use some Dit Da Jow for bruises and a different Dit Da Jow more as a brine (skin toughener).

    I did Iron Palm in China and they never said anything about Dit Da Jow until I asked, about 3 weeks into training.
    Several of my students can do brick breaks and they dont use Dit Da Jow to train their hands.

    My students use some Dit Da Jow for bruises they get in sparring.
    I do beleive it helps a bit.
    I have taken similar bruises and only treated one with Dit Da Jow to see if there weas any difference in recovery.
    There has been and some were better than others.

    As for the shin besides conditioning the bone try not to use it when blocking.
    Flex the toes upward to flex the muscles of the shin.
    These can be conditioned to take alot of impact and you wont have hardly if any pain on impact.
    (soft vs hard / hard vs soft)

  7. Combatant

    Combatant Monsiour Fitness himself.

    Good advice. I have never even thought of that. Is that standard practice in any schools?
  8. Jeff Burger

    Jeff Burger Valued Member

    Standard at our school.
    Its one of the first blocks we teach as far as dealing with kicks....a level 1 requirement.

    Ill try to take some pics of some exercises for building the muscle.

    Also dont go smashing your bones against something hard.
    Hard on soft and sdoft on hard.
    For the shin onw of my favorites in a car tire, or take a nice soft rubber a old MA shoe (I use an old Feivue) and hit with that.
    Then go with your partner gradually building up...if you feel bone to bone its wrong.

    Of course in a match Id rather have the tip of my knee in his shin or instep.

  9. steverhondda

    steverhondda New Member

    wasup y'all, if you want to deaden the nerves, you'l have to keep doing it becuase nerve endings keep growing back, the best way of of conditioning your legs if with pads, i train in karate, and we use pads and then use low kicks to the inner and outer side of our legs, that works
  10. onetufflea13

    onetufflea13 New Member

    just had to add

    I have recently returned to Martial Arts after almost 25 years, I came across this thread while trying to find out how to "toughen" my shins. Some of the things I have come across are about as brilliant as the "touch less knockout" people. Rolling pins were a very early way to fix shin splints...its isn't used anymore for a reason. In all of my experience deadening the nerves of anything is just bad practice, easy way to break something worse than normal. As far as pain management goes, well thats just a very broad area with many different factors. I have been told by tattoo artist that the old I get my pain threshold will lower. There is also the factor of time, the longer you go without the pain, the more it hurts (its less shocking to you if its more frequent). Mental toughness does play a factor also, along with genetics. Are there humans that can accomplish theses things? Absolutly! But they are Shaolin Monks or Tarahamara indians (the Mexican tribesmen that run ultra ultra ultra marathons barefoot).
    So in my non expert opinion the only way to get through the shin pain is mentioned earlier in this forum, kick a bag, pay attention to what your body is saying and treat it properly, and oh yeah deal with the pain. I also recommend a good fitness routine to supplement your Martial Arts training
  11. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    As with any type of conditioning, do not do it unless you are going into hardcore competition. Then there are cons after you start aguf
  12. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    Agree! If you are not a "tournament" person, it make no sense to hurt yourself before even get into a real fight. A "tournament" person will have to pay some price that average person may not have to.

    One year in the Dallas Taiji Legacy tournament, the Sanshou rules added 1 point for any low roundhouse kick to the leg. During the dinner, I argued with a guy. He believed that roundhouse kick to the leading leg is very effective and should deserve 1 point. I disagree. We ended up got from our dinner table and I let him to use his low roundhouse to kick my leading leg as much as he wanted.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
  13. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    Depends on the tournament
  14. Unreal Combat

    Unreal Combat Valued Member

    Unless you're a sadist then bags, pads and humans should suffice.
  15. daggers

    daggers Valued Member

    just TRAIN! hit the pads, hit the bags, spar properly and senibly with shin pads on. learn to time your shots, dont hit knees and elbows. theres not just one level of contact you know..FULL POWER.. only full power on a clean SURE shot, therefore maximum effect on opponent, minimum pain on you. there are NO secrets to martial arts! just hard training, dedication, will, guts and determination, a will to LISTEN to instruction and above all a good instructor.
    get yourself a fight and you will still probably come out with badly hurt shins, and the next time and the next time... but you dont really care anymore because youve just done what 99% of the population wouldnt have the guts to do :)
  16. Kicks+Boxing

    Kicks+Boxing New Member

    People, please stop!


    It would help immensely to specify the source(s) of such "facts". And if that is impossible, please, don't post anything at all regarding the matter. For those are some strong statements!

    I googled "shin/bone cancer + Thailand" pretty hard and all I found was a few comments on 2-3 martial arts forums, nothing alarming nor credible. The closest scientific thing I unearthed was this (from

    Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2012;13(9):4281-4.

    Incidence and survival rates among pediatric osteogenic sarcoma cases in Khon Kaen, Thailand, 1985-2010.

    Wiromrat P, Jetsrisuparb A, Komvilaisak P, Sirichativapee W, Kamsa-Ard S, Wiangnon S.


    Department of Pediatrics, Srinagarind Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand.



    Osteosarcoma is the most common bone cancer in children, responsible for a high rate of amputation and death. This is the first long-term, population-based, epidemiologic and survival study in Thailand.


    To study the incidence and survival rates of pediatric osteosarcoma in Khon Kaen.


    Childhood osteosarcoma cases (0-19 years) diagnosed between 1985-2010 were reviewed. The data were retrieved from the population-based data set of the Khon Kaen Cancer Registry and medical records from Srinagarind Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University. All cases were censored until the end of April 2012. The age-standardized incidence rate (ASR) was calculated using the standard method. Survival experience was analyzed using the standard survival function (STATA 9.0) and presented with a Kaplan-Meier curve.


    58 cases were enrolled. The overall ASR was 14.1 per million. Males and females were equally affected. The peak incidence was for 15-19 year-olds in both sexes (ASR=10.4 per million in males and 8.5 in females). The 5-year overall survival rate was 27.6% (95% CI: 15.8-40.8%). The median survival time was 1.6 years (95% CI: 1.2-2.1). In a subgroup analysis, the patients who received only chemotherapy survived longer (5-year survival 45.7%, median survival time 4.1 years, p=0.12).


    The incidence rate for childhood osteosarcoma was slightly less than those reported for Western countries. The survival rate was also lower than reports from developed countries. Further evaluation of the treatment protocol and risk factor stratification is needed.

    PMID: 23167328 [PubMed - in process]

    Please, at least read the conclusion if the whole thing is too boring.

    I understand this only touches pediatric cases (0-19 years, see above) and only one type of bone cancer -- osteosarcoma -- but it's the most common type and, sadly, most patients are "young people between the ages of 10 and 30" (American Cancer Society). Now, guess at what age most Thai fighters start taking their careers to serious level? And guess how many teens and adolescents are practicing Muay Thai in Thailand? If your suspicions are true, shouldn't they be dropping like flies, creating massive numbers of bone cancer fatalities with those odds?

    Obviously, if all Thai cases of osteosarcoma affect shin bones and shin bones only, Muay Thai practitioners -- and all the shin kickers in this world -- are doomed. But hiding this fact (as Yoda suggests) would require conspiracy that would make Nixon's bones -- forgive my choice of words -- blush.

    Up to date, there has been absolute zero cases of any remotely successful competitive martial artist of any style -- they all kick bags rather hard and block/check kicks even harder -- developing shin cancer. And yes, that includes increasingly popular MMA, stand up part of which is basically a modified Muay Thai.

    Yes, if one is predisposed to bone cancer, it doesn't help putting his bones through something as extreme as Muay Thai regimens, especially at a vulnerable age (there is a definite connection between teenage growth spurt and bone cancer). But there are many extreme regimens out there for teens and adolescents: football(soccer) with it's banged-up shins and knees, American football with it's serious weightlifting routines and bone shattering collisions, hockey, etc. Until someone comes up with a major bone cancer in athletes study -- comparing apples with apples and digging through tons of statistics -- this whole "Muay Thai causes shin cancer" thing is nothing but a rumor.

    You are all right here: hitting heavy bags truly conditions (modifies, really) Tibia by repeatedly applying bending forces to it. The bone reacts by becoming more dense over time. Which is pretty radical alteration, no? Think about it: a lot of new material is generated to reinforce the bone, a lot of cellular labor is involved. (Yes, just like in serious resistance training.) Shouldn't this be a big enough change in your bone structure to raise concerns over some of those cells going bad? My humble opinion is we are fine! Again, millions of people are banging shins in this world, sports becoming more available and are practiced on increasingly massive level and bone cancer is still uncommon. And again, name one Muay Thai fighter with shin cancer.

    Finally, this might be a good resource to compare cancer types and incidence in USA with that in Thailand (according to National Cancer Institute):

    Sorry for the lengthy post and bad English:).

  17. LemonSloth

    LemonSloth Laugh and grow fat!

    The bit in bold really kinda illustrates a fundamental point. To extremes, it can be really dodgy. But then so can anything in extremes.

    There's two principles you have to bear in mind with bone conditioning (which isn't the same as muscle conditioning obviously) - Wolfe's Law and cortical remodelling. They're entwined but not the same thing.

    Wolfe's Law dictates that bone can increase in density just by going under a consistent increase of pressure - studies have shown that tennis players often end up with a greater bone density in their serving arm, etc. Consistent heavy bag work alone will do this nicely, as will skipping. There's nothing wrong with this as long as you stretch properly, warm down correctly and occasionally rub down the affected areas to make sure that your circulation isn't affected.

    Cortical remodelling is the process where you cause micro-fractures along the affected bone area, stimulating additional calcium production over the affected areas which can in turn cause the bone to become harder. This one you have to be very careful of and only do in controlled, reasonable measures.

    Hitting things harder than your bones (brick walls is a typical culprit) and/or things which are too stiff or rigid (like trees) is a really, really bad idea. Similar practices can lead to joint problems, but I've never heard of cancer in the affected areas before. Rolling a rolling pin over your shin is not great. You CAN cause micro-fractures and develop nerve pain resistance, but the reality of it is that any gains will be marginal at best. Not to mention the difference in sensation between hitting something and rolling a rolling pin over your shin bones is quite big.

    Aside from heavy bag work, I've heard of people using bundles of bamboo in limited bursts, which works quite well.

    The main thing with bone conditioning is to always leave some time between each round of bone conditioning to allow to body to repair the damage and to only go until it starts to become unreasonable (or starts to get particularly painful) to continue.
    Last edited: May 31, 2013
  18. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    Why do people believe that by toughing the hands, shins, breaking boards, etc., will ever increase their fighting skill?

    If someone should toughen these areas, and gets whopped in the head by hard striker, then all of this "conditioning" is thrown out the window.

    Better to spend the time in developing other skill sets
  19. LemonSloth

    LemonSloth Laugh and grow fat!

    Personally I only see breaking boards as a demonstration of the kind of power you "could" generate, but that doesn't have much to do with fighting or self defence as such. More of a morale boost.

    As for hardening the hands, shins and so forth - it's not about increasing your fighting skill but protecting yourself from harm in a fight situation while increasing your confidence (in my eyes). Besides, if the striking areas of the body aren't desensitized somewhat to the impact, then you can end up hurting yourself quite badly.

    Yes, but if someone hits another person with a general part of the body usually used for striking and it hurts them (such as the shins), then it tends to undermine the confidence of the person doing it. Similarly if someone damages the striking area by striking hard (such as fracturing - again - the shin bone with a low kick) then once again your ability to fight is heavily diminished.

    All that said, you can develop additional bone density just by using your body in the right way though.
  20. Kicks+Boxing

    Kicks+Boxing New Member

    I do agree with those who think extreme shin (or any striking part of one's body) conditioning is not smart and in overwhelming majority of cases is unnecessary. You need strong bones -- a heavy bag, resistance training and maybe specialized diet will do -- and strong will. Additionally, when you're in a serious fight, be it a sanctioned bout, a really hard sparring, or a street fight, you won't feel much pain -- if any. You may feel anger or fear, but not pain. I've seen some gruesome damage on people -- they wouldn't even notice it while fighting; adrenaline is a powerful thing.

    Thai fighters fight from very young age. When they fight professionally, they can have a bout every other week -- it quickly becomes a 9-5 job for them. I see how adrenaline is simply not a factor anymore with this set-up. So they train their minds more than their shins by kicking soft trees and using sticks and rolling pins. Again, not a good idea and I hear a lot of them are abandoning this practice in favor of smarter regimens, working with pads and bags. After all, who wants to retire by his mid-twenties because of all the damage accumulated in fighting and training?

    The only reason I decided to post above is this irresponsible gossiping about alleged shin cancer epidemy among Muay Thai fighters. This will only create unfounded fear in sensitive minds, regardless of style. If anybody has more info on the matter -- please, share! Until than, let's use common sense and be thoughtful.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2013

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