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.
Si-fu Keith Sonnenberg