Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Inoculation to Pain

I'm not a big fan of body hardening, but I do think it has a place in karate training, but not the way that many people pursue the activity. Most karateka that I know of that engage in conditioning exercises do so to make their bodies more resilient to damage. They harden their knuckles and arms, their throats, their shins and sometimes their testicles through striking them with various objects or having someone strike them. I've seen very impressive feats done due to this type of training. But, I'm dubious of how much it actually protects you. Even if all your nerves are dead you can still break. I think body hardening can be a replacement for full contact sparring. Let me explain.

The only real value that full contact sparring has in my opinion is intensity and pain. If you're a self defense minded individual, it serves little purpose being so beat up all the time you can't defend yourself. The safety equipment required makes most karate techniques impossible and all the safety equipment in the world can't protect you from a concussion. If you're sport oriented and know the date and time of your next fight then you can do some really hard training and give yourself time to recover. The drawbacks out weigh any of the benefits in my opinion. This is where body hardening comes in.

The fact of the matter is that fighting hurts. Especially in karate when your forearms can become a cyclone of death meant to destroy anything it touches. We need to inoculate ourselves to pain, so we're not stopped in our tracks the first time we get hit hard, or strike hard. This is where body hardening comes into play. Body hardening allows you to slowly build up intensity and control the conditions to minimize the risk of injury. It doesn't take much to bang your forearms and shins on a piece of wood a few times a day, and you don't have to worry about your partner rattling your skull by accident. It's a much simpler way to see if you can take the pain than finding someone you trust to rumble with.