The conditioning tests that we are going to expose are always and in any case related to specific goals (combat, breaks, etc.). There should never be a limit to the mastery of a given skill.
Before we start it is important to say that:
- The purpose of this discussion is not to explain how to create conditioning (we will see it later)
- Our current focus is to understand how to have an effective check to the goals that we are getting
- These tests are dangerous if done without graduality and the right experience (even the smallest discomfort signal must lead us to stop immediately)
That said, if we really want to use 100% of the options that martial arts make available to us, good impact conditioning is indispensable:
- In a real situation we will never have gloves or bandages with us
- Many of the human body bones are extremely hard to strike and can cause disabling fractures (eg the front of the skull cap)
- During a clash the bones move and are disposed continuously in different angles (missing targets is inevitable)
- When we fail to hit (or we are induced to do so) even a technically perfect blow that does not require any particular conditioning (eg. an open hand blow) may be knocking against an unexpected surface (eg. a wall) and / or through an unexpected trajectory (eg after a deviation)
- The hits inflicted by the adversary on non-conditioned limbs exalt the incidence of a damage that might have been “secondary”
Let’s go now to the exposition of one of the the 6DKF’s conditioning tests.
In proportion to the strength we want to impress (from the simple leaning of the novices to the blow at maximum power of the experts), the conditioned limb must (without the intermediation of any kind of protections):
- Be able to withstand to a not moveable fullfill surface (eg. a building’s supporting column)
- Be able to withstand a moving surface (eg. a bag full of sand)
- Be able to withstand an unstable surface (eg. an irregular stone leaning against another)
- Be able to withstand a granular surface (eg. a jar of sand)
- Be able to withstand an irregular surface (eg. a stone cavern wall)
- Be adequately supported by the rest of the body; it’s useless to have such steel knuckles if our wrist is not able to resist to the slightest bump (we must follow the correct developement order, we’ll see it)
These points tell us once again that our body needs to be able to express much more than it needs to reach the primary goal.
It is no coincidence that we have listed these specific checks, in fact they rapresent the typical limits of most martial arts practitioners and when they occur often correspond an injury (fractures, lacerations, etc.).
In the next article we will talk of conditioning in terms of flexibility (later we will go much in details about the development of the various specific skills).
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.