Sunday, June 23, 2013

Alex's Sunday Swim - Daily Makiwara Training



Song:  Knight's March

Artist:  Hans Zimmer




I take Alex swimming twice a week.
There are 4 nearby public pools...
two outdoor pools...
and two indoor pools.

Today, I took Alex to an outdoor pool.


It was a little cool and breezy...
and as a result...
for the whole of Alex's swim...
he was the only one in the pool.

For the first half of his swim...
I had him practice his Breast Stroke across the pool...
and his Survival Stroke on the way back.



Afterwards...
he just had free swim...


although, he just did a lot of floating.

Alex loves the feeling of weightlessness in the water...
the feeling of just floating.


Alex also practiced underwater swimming...
although he still has a problem staying underwater...
he keeps floating to the surface.


We got home and Alex then prepared for his Sunday Weight Training.

I incorporated a daily practice session before his normal workout...
the Makiwara.


 Makiwara literally means "wrapped straw".

A slightly flexible anchored board was originally wrapped in rice straw
at the striking portion to protect the body surface used in striking the board.

It (or some forms of it) was used to train correct body mechanics 
and bone alignment, in many striking martial arts.

This was Alex's first time to use one.
He will be using it on a daily basis from now on.


I will add some greater padding on the striking surface...
as it is only a few pieces of leather at the moment...
or I may have him use gel padded gloves.

You will notice that Alex's fist (striking with just the first two knuckles)...
is at an angle of approximately 45 degrees or so 
(off the vertical fist from the first knuckle).

Besides being the most mechanically sound position to make initial contact...
the fist being turned over (so the palm faces downward - 90 degrees) is only supposed 
to happen at completion of the strike.

The fist makes its final twist immediately after initial contact for the follow through
(punching through the object).

You will see pictures of practitioners of Karate with a 90 degree fist (palm down)...
however, you must realize that the final twist happens very quickly...
and the pictures are showing the completed strike.

As soon as the fist is turned over...
there is no more forward motion of the body.

The idea is to force as much bending of the Makiwara...
as a result of kinetic energy developed through total body momentum.


As the Makiwara is traditionally very rigid...
it forces correct body mechanics and alignment.

As it will not give much...
if the person striking does...
he will know immediately...
not only that his body was out of alignment...
but where (it is this point which will give...
or after many hundreds of strikes...
the incorrectly aligned point will be sore).

When a strike is perceived as effortless...
and it is the board which gives...and not any body part...
everything is aligned, and the body mechanics are sound.


So why have Alex strike a Makiwara when he also hits bags?


The Makiwara teaches the essence of all strikes
(not hitting through muscular force at impact...
muscular force merely imparts body momentum.
 It is all in the proper use of bodily kinetic energy).

It is through balance, correct bone alignment, and a correct fulcrum...
which gives almost effortless transfer of the body's kinetic energy into the target
(Heavy foot...lead foot is the fulcrum).

When the largest muscles of the body operate as whole...
effective initiation of body rotation over the fulcrum happens very quickly.

The limbs are just to transfer the body's kinetic energy through correct timing...
 which will give correct bone alignment at the moment of transfer.



Need a person learn how to strike on the Makiwara?

No.

However...
a person may more easily learn how to punch incorrectly using a bag.

Why?

Because, as a bag has more give...
it is more forgiving of mistakes and body misalignment.


With a Makiwara...
there is direct feedback with each strike.


I am having Alex start out slowly and cautiously.

A hard misaligned punch can easily break a person's wrist...
thumb or fingers...
or can lead to tendon or ligament problems there, or elsewhere.

Even with correct alignment...
the repetitions must be built up slowly (10 reps added per week)...
as micro fractures in the bones of the hand
can add up to an eventual breakage of the affected bones.

The bones, tendons, and ligaments of the body will actually
thicken and toughen, so long as the body is allowed to recover
by not being overwhelmed by either...
acute, or, chronic stressors.


Why teach anyone how to hit fast and hard?

Self defense.

I am not training Alex for competition.

The idea is not to score points with many fast hits...
the idea is to strike only when necessary...
and with the idea that only one strike will be necessary
(although, I am training him for follow ups).
The whole idea is efficient and effective motion
(fast and hard...without unnecessary tension).


There are evil people in the world.

As a young man...
Alex will, one day...
be faced with someone who will threaten him with
great bodily injury or death.

He must be prepared for that day.

For this...
there is only one way to train...
daily...and with deadly seriousness.



Alex then finished up with his Sunday weight training.

Weighted incline situps...




and with Deadlifts.



As Alex is just getting back into regular training
(many interruptions of illness, math competitions...etc)...
we are moving forward slowly and surely...
and with a passion...
 so it will be a life long endeavor.








2 comments:

  1. I was not familiar with makiwara. Very interesting!

    My wife is starting to work with our son on doing exercises in the morning. He has a long way to go, but hopefully thy will keep it up. Alex seems like he enjoys his physical training.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Many have not heard of the Makiwara...far fewer have used one. It must be used with caution...and the adapting phase must be long if one doesn't want lingering problems later on.

    I hope your wife, and Kai, will keep enjoying the morning workouts. It does so much for the quality of life in all aspects.

    Alex loves seeing the progress he is making. It also makes him feel good. He used to have more tics and a strong compulsion to chew. With regular exercise, they, for the most part, disappear.

    ReplyDelete

Please feel free to comment on this article.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...