Some sports require a tough, if not an iron body, to withstand the level of punishment in multiple round matches or long sparring sessions. Conventional training might include weight training, abdominal exercise and medicine ball hits to the abdomen. Sometimes the training includes soaking the hands in brine (saltwater solution) to toughen the skin. This can also be a part of certain types of martial arts hand conditioning.

If a new student joins a boxing academy or class or a mixed martial arts academy or class, it might be worth investigating how much time their trainers will spend on your physical training before they turn you loose on the heavy bag and actual ring fighting. In addition, a trainer will have to tape your hands prior to that kind of use. These precautions can save you a broken hand. Simply put, an impatient new student might decide to hit a bag or a training device long before they are ready. If it happens to you, you won’t be the first, but it might require a cast for broken hand or wrist bones.

The best way to mitigate a hand injury is internal conditioning. Internal conditioning is essentially, strengthening the bones and soft tissues of the hands or the parts of the body involved in taking hits. The Chinese martial arts systems have conditioning as part of or an optional part of their curriculums. The most basic is wall bag training starting after a student masters the air punching. The step-by-step method is slower and requires more patience. However, in a self-defense situation, you will not have your hands taped and you will not have your gloves.

Other forms of body toughening are available from some instructions in some locations around the U.S., Europe and Asia. There is Iron Palm training, Iron Body Training. These are variations of exercise, breathing methods, and bag hitting along with Chinese liniment application. The generic name for Chinese martial arts liniment is Dit Dar Jow. The translation is Iron Hit Wine. It was supposedly named for the bags that were filled with iron fillings or the open kettle that was filled with heated iron filings that a practitioner would strike or stab their fingers into for the external style of training. Iron filings were the last material used in the final stages of developing an extremely tough hand. The Wine was the eighty-proof drinking alcohol that was used as a base in the herbal solution. The herbal formula was usually a family secret and were soaked in wine or a vodka-like alcohol. The Dit Dar Jow is available today at several online outlets.

Some links:

Dit Da Jow Iron Palm Training Liniment Also for Healing Bruises Sore Muscles

Si-fu Keith Sonnenberg

There are a lot of videos on the internet that go on and on about proper techniques and what works in a fight and what doesn’t. Some make very proper arguments about strength training and techniques training and how important strength is. Some criticize the soft arts like tai chi and aikido about their insistence on not using strength to win. One such person objected for a long dissertation about those who insist that some instructors insist that strength should not be used. Most of these talking heads speak from the sport-context in which they were raised and later taught. Every match has rules, unlike street attacks. Certain gloves are often worn, and soft targets are off limits for good reason. Matches are often fought on a raised platform with ropes. Competitors must fight. They are not allowed to run. On the street, a weak, non-athletic defender might have to “cheat” to save their life. This usually would mean kicking low (as in Wing Tsun), poking the eyes, biting, striking soft targets like the throat and other neck targets. There is more to the story. Logic might dictate that the stronger opponent will win in a fight but that does not have to be the case. Excellent technique can make the difference. Clashing with an attacker’s strength is usually not a good use of energy or strategy. In Wing Tsun and in some other arts, an attacker’s strength can be used against them. This is routine in some wrestling systems. Persons objecting to instruction that strength should not be used may have heard wrong or the instructor does not understand how to get their point across. Without some measure of strength, the persons objecting would be correct…you would not be able to stand up. However, I have not heard these persons talk about footwork and how it makes the difference in one’s ability to use an attacker’s strength rather than clash or be defeated by it. They probably do not know how footwork comes into play when borrowing attacker’s force! Incredibly, I even saw one video that spoke about how important footwork is and then never showed the feet in his video! The important footwork of Leung Ting WingTsun® is, after all, one of the “secrets” of the Wing Tsun system that Great Grandmaster Leung Ting has taught. It is all well and good to teach and explain Wing Tsun’s footwork, but a student must practice it in coordination with their hand technique. Without practice, one can never master anything. One of the challenges of learning how to avoid clashing with greater forces is to “give up your strength,” or “abandon the strength,” as GGM Leung Ting put it in one of his books. This is a skill. You must abandon, not the strength itself but your insistence on using your supposedly greater strength in beating an attacker. Most people are not aware that they are not “getting rid of their own force” so they can borrow it. This is a contest within yourself, of your ego. Si-fu Keith Sonnenberg

Any beginner is bound to struggle at first, with learning new material. It is true of any new activity. I have a question for you. Does the struggle have to do with just learning your new movements or does it partly have to do with your ability?

Regardless of athletic skills or physical learning abilities, anybody can learn Wing Tsun movements. Practice begets insight. Insight begets solutions.

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I think the simple answer is yes.  Traditional training, if it also involves conditioning, can be a great start toward training for ring fights and cross training in other arts if your goal is the octagon type of fights we see today. Traditional martial arts offer basic principals of the individual style that could be overlooked in a mixed martial arts setting in the interest of “getting through it” so you can move on to another martial art.

At first, you, as the beginning student cannot usually understand why these basic movements are so important unless you have had good grounding in another traditional martial art. The truth is, the basics also train the smaller muscle groups that, again, are overlooked in faster training methods. They can strengthen and condition joints that work to prevent injury and increase efficiency.

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Our classes address a surprise attack if you are grabbed by somebody attempting to put you into a headlock.  Of course there is a whole series of ideas against grabs that can be addressed.  Many martial art styles have pre-arranged scenarios for a whole variety of attacks.  Unfortunately none of those scenarios is going to be what happens to you in an attack.  It is impossible to know this ahead of time!  That is why we have to know and practice ‘principals’ that can be applied at will in any situation.

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I might go out on a limb and say that most people who want to get into a program involving fitness training, be it martial arts, personal trainer, 24-hour gyms, and anything else, do not know where to start and how to keep going. The tendency I see is that many people have been sedentary for so long, they do not know how far out of shape they are. When they start out, they are thrown for a loop. Their whole body is sore, perhaps for a week.

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The manual for training for full-contact fights with Wing Tsun has been available for over 30 years. It is called Dynamic Wing Tsun Kung Fu by Grandmaster Leung Ting.  The book is, in part, a basic book for those interested in fighting applications and part training manual for winning a full contact ring fight. The book includes photos and short descriptions of 12 different fighters that won their fights in such countries as Malaysia, Hong Kong, Denmark and Yugoslavia in the early years of Grandmaster Leung Tings’s teaching career.

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Our Wing Tsun training is truly one of the traditional, non-traditional martial arts. Inside Wing Tsun’s traditional training, lies the applications for common attacks. Most martial arts are learned by training with other students in the same martial art. However Wing Tsun instructors long ago realized that Wing Tsun, were it to be applied for real, would be applied against non-Wing Tsun attackers of every shape, size and stripe.

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Training the arms in WingTsun is not the same as weight training. We will explain the training methods in a minute but first, some explanations:

The ultimate purpose of arm training in WingTsun is to deliver a serious and disabling strike to a vital area of a serious attacker as a self-defense method. To do this, the aim is to develop flexibility, reactivity, control, explosive power and sticky energy. The benefits are fast hand speed, ability to intercept oncoming attacks to the face or body, develop spacial relationships, precision hand movements, reaction time increased behind the wheel of a car, catch falling objects out of the air, react quickly to all manner of unpredictable emergencies, hands stay flexible into old age as long as the practice continues.

The training methods are:

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Once a layperson who has an interest in martial arts also becomes acquainted with Wing Tsun (or wing chun) techniques, the fascination often begins. Due partly to online videos, tons of chatter, posts, blogs, and YouTube stars, many “wing chun fans” become obsessed. All the internet surfer wants to do is be like the guy in the videos or the star of the movie about Yip Man. It is a shame that the obsession doesn’t include an obsession with the ‘secret’ of Wing Tsun.

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