The "Hand Conditioning Will Ruin Your Hands" myth

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by hendry, Oct 23, 2007.

  1. hendry

    hendry Valued Member

    OK, another myth that needs to be busted (along with "Ask Your Teacher" and "You Can Learn From Everyone") is this:

    "Hand Conditioning Will Ruin Your Hands"

    This is one of those loads of crap that really annoys me to hear, because it is so patently NOT true.

    I think the myth was probably started by lazy people who wanted an excuse to justify not doing the training. Either that, or it was started by people who saw the bad results of bad hand conditioning, probably under fraudulent teachers.

    Genuine hand conditioning WILL NOT damage your hands. But the catch is that genuine hand conditioning is not the mindless, brute force nonsense that most people think it is. There's a lot more to it than just hitting something hard over and over. That kind of crap probably will damage your hands.

    Genuine hand conditioning should involve correct striking materials and proper body alignment. It should also include specific ways of breathing, massage of the hands and a good herbal medicine. There are also very specific ways of striking and these need to be built up over time.

    Proper hand conditioning can lead to absolutely phenomenal striking power. For example:

    Ku Yu Cheung

    Gene Chicoine

    What do you think would happen if either of these two gentlemen were to hit you on the head or the chest?

    Neither of them had their hands "ruined". Gene Chicoine is in his late 70s and has NO hand problems. He's been doing this for decades.

    The people who have had their hands damaged were the ones doing stupid mindless things and/or learned from frauds or a combination of both.

    Hopefully that's another myth busted.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2007
  2. benkei

    benkei Valued Member

    Erm, not quite Hendry. You set out to bust a "myth", yet you cite no evidence or scientific process in doing so. I don't know either way whether it damages your hands, but that post did nothing to clear it up.
  3. Big Will

    Big Will Ninpô Ikkan

    What are talking about, Hendry?

    The only hand conditioning that supposedly will give you arthritis in the fingers, according to Takamatsu, is hard finger training á la Koto Ryu, where you hit small pebbles with your fingers until they bleed. And your post said nothing to disprove that.

    I can't see any other connection with your post and the ninjutsu section?

    (For the record, I think hand conditioning is important. )
  4. RentoKill

    RentoKill Valued Member

    Also hand conditioning is not 'ninjutsu' specific so why not post in general section, it does seem you are aiming to create something...

    But like the last poster i agree some sort of evidential information to help us consider the viewpoint you are coming from.

    Cheers Bud.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2007
  5. hendry

    hendry Valued Member

    The "Hand Conditioning Will Ruin Your Hands" myth is definitely a ninjutsu-specific thing in my experience. I've met many people in the Bujinkan who were high ranking and had never done any hand conditioning at all. Some couldn't even do a single press up on the fists let alone in a shikanken position.

    In addition to claiming that it will ruin the hands, they also try to claim that having conditioned hands doesn't mean your taijutsu is good. To them I say, what point is having good taijutsu if you break your hand or wrist when you actually hit someone for real?

    Hmmm. I'm not sure what I can really provide in terms of evidence, except I've just posted a photo of a middle aged Chinese man breaking 12 bricks. Could he do that if his hands were ruined?

    I've also posted a picture of a Western man near the age of 80, also showing no evidence of ruined hands. Anyone can come to Ohio and see his hands for yourself.

    Go to your nearest Chinatown (there's some great ones in San Francisco and New York) and see how many old martial arts teachers (in their 70s or 80s) you will find there with ruined hands. Not many is my guess.

    Another thing that makes this Ninjutsu-specific is that there is this stupid misconception out there that conditioned hands make it easy to tell you are a martial artist.

    Once again that is a myth. Proper hand conditioning does not lead to scars or calluses or deformed enlarged knuckles or anything like that. If it leaves any visible signs at all, it is bad hand conditioning.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2007
  6. Sgt_Major

    Sgt_Major Ex Global Mod Supporter

    Incorrect hand conditioning will ruin your hands.

    People just dont know what defines incorrect.
  7. hendry

    hendry Valued Member

    couldn't have said it better myself.
  8. bigred

    bigred New Member

    To think that you can whack solid (or semi-solid) objects with your hands (which are made of relatively small bones) repetitively and not suffer any consequences is naive.

    I'm sure there are ways to lessen the negative effects but I've gotten short-term arthritis striking solid objects when I was a teen (loved that documenatary "Budo the Art of Killing) and recently again while doing numerous (250 at a time) fist press ups. The bones seem to handle it OK but the tissue between and around the joints gets inflamed if you push it too hard.

    I think some fist conditioning is important but in reality many people still break their hand bones on skulls (a larger and stronger bone). I know of a half a dozen guys at my police department who have broken their hands hitting people in the head over the last couple years (one was a pretty good boxer too so you can't say he didn't know how to hit).

    On the flip side if I hit someone with a baton (or any other solid object) I'm not getting injured and the other guy probably is. Then I don't have to take six weeks off from work waiting for my hand to heal.

  9. Zannen!

    Zannen! Banned Banned

    What "myth" is next for you to bust hendry?
    The "Hendry" has a teacher myth?
    The how long Hendry has been training myth?

    I suppose hand conditioning though has to do with, "what kind of conditioning" you are going for - developing bone deposits, or making your hands hard, or increasing strength and the like.
  10. MagokoroDojo

    MagokoroDojo Banned Banned

    That is because Hendry takes posts he disagrees with on Kutaki and comes here to argue them instead of taking them up with the people involved in the discussion directly.

    But, for what it is worth, there are a lot of high ranking people who will tell you not to actually strike anything (or be struck for that matter) for safety's sake. Which is basically nonsense.
  11. Hissatsu

    Hissatsu End of the Road: Moved On

  12. shadow_ronin

    shadow_ronin Banned Banned

    Every person is unique, some have stronger bones others have stronger tendons or both. Some people suffer from conditioning others may not, everyone is different and will react differently to conditioning.

    That being said in regard to conditioning ask yourself what you are willing to sacrifice. Nothing you do only has positive outcomes and you need to think about what you could potentially lose. In relation to hand conditioning you may lose fine motor skills in your fingers or develop arthritis earlier on in life.

    So hand conditioning is a choice and it's up to you to decide why you need conditioned hands.

    Personally i'd rather have fine motor skills then clubs on the end of my forearms.
  13. Big Will

    Big Will Ninpô Ikkan

    Thanks Jeff and Dan, I must have missed that thread.
  14. Keikai

    Keikai Banned Banned

    course it will ruin your hands, everyone i know who does hand conditioning has ugly hand hands, i prefer my soft office type to feel my wifes ass.

    when have you seen a pair of hands that look good when they have been conditioned, again i think you are posting out of context looking for trouble.

    i think really Hendry you are you having another pop with a bit of useless info, taken out of context and posted on a thread.


    Please step away from the PC you are making me nauseous.
  15. Senban

    Senban Banned Banned

    Hendry said:-
    Hmm. Define "ruined". If the objective was to turn his hands into hammers then no, his hands haven't been ruined. Let me hear him play the piano and I'll let you know whether I think his hands have been ruined. Or paint a picture. Or anything involving fine motor control of the hand structure.

    And as Bigred pointed out:-
    Humans are a tool-using species. It's what we do. If I want a patio slab breaking, I'll find my big hammer. If I want it breaking neatly, I'll use cutting tools to create a weakness along the break line etc. If I want a headache, I'll smack the slab with my head.

    However, I am not saying that people shouldn't learn how to deliver power into a target correctly and without injuring the striking tool e.g. your hand. But that's not conditioning - that's learning correct body alignment, correct use of body structures etc. Understanding "the right tool for the right job".
  16. elftengu

    elftengu Banned Banned

    Not to mention that there is nothing less 'alive' than tameshiwari, it requires too much build up, huffing and puffing and psyching up to do the break which is great if you want to walk up behind someone and punch a hole in the back of their head but not much else.

    Conditioning can be done without testing the result by breaking things though.

    Bagwork is a bare minimum and without wrist support if possible as you can come to rely on it too much. Even Mike Tyson broke his own hand or wrist punching someone without gloves because his unsupported wrists could not withstand his own punching power.

    The best training aid must be the Korean Finger Board of Sinanju though! ;)
  17. Senban

    Senban Banned Banned

    Was that the thing in "Remo - Unarmed & Dangerous"? :D
  18. elftengu

    elftengu Banned Banned

    You got it :cool:
  19. garth

    garth Valued Member

    I always thought that hand conditioning was applying Oil of Ulay.

  20. Brad Ellin

    Brad Ellin Baba

    Known in the USA as "Remo Williams - The Adventure Begins"

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