Train wrists and arms with weights to get fluidity

A tool to strengthen wrists: the “T” weight

This exercise is typical of Okinawan Karate, it is included in the Hojo Undo practice and consists of frontally lifting a stone disc (Chi Ishi) up and down.

Note – This article has been asked by one of our Core Course practitioners on Patreon (see how to attend our home study classes here Learn Kung Fu online: a beginner-to-expert course).

In 6 Dragons Kung Fu, we perform it in a slightly different manner and our goals are to:

  • Enhance fluidity and flow – If we are able to maintain a controlled flow with a weight of this type, we will help the development of the Persistent Movements (read Advanced concepts: the Persistent Movements)
  • Strengthen wrists and arms – We must make our wrist strong, elastic and flexible in all the directions of rotations (for example for the arm’s Chin Na resistance, read Chin Na)
  • Better withstand the weight of weapons – If a combat weapon weighs X we must be able to handle 5 times its weight (read Prepare arms, wrists and fingers to use weapons and /// Subscribe (it's free!) or Login to see this content ///)
  • Make arm movements more solid and precise – Strength is one of the last of our goals (read 6DKF’s interactions: from the strong blow to the light touch) but in a clash where the technical level of the fighters is similar, it can be one of the decisive attitudes (read )

A note by Master Kongling – It is not very easy to find this training tool outside Japan (it is a wooden stick with a stone disc at its end) but we can easily replace it with a modular dumbbell for weightlifting (by simply moving the weights on a single side). While for some kind of practices it is fundamental to use the original version, in this case, there is no reason or necessity (in addition to the historical / cultural one) to look for a so particular object (we have posted some photos on Pinterest, read 6 Dragons Kung Fu is now on Pinterest).

How to execute the basic exercise

The execution is 100 times more simple than its explanation:

  • From a standing position, let’s seize the handle on the other side of the weight
  • We have to hold the tool as if it were a normal hammer (leaving a small space before its end)
  • Let’s start with the disc resting on our back and the handle parallel to the ground
  • The movement we will perform consists of 3 phases and it is frontal (from top to bottom and vice versa)
  • Fro the entire execution the tool handle remains directed frontally (accompanying the whole movement)
  • In the first phase, the tool is behind our back and the handle is perpendicular to the ground
  • In the second phase, the tool is in front of us and the handle is (again) perpendicular to the ground
  • In the third phase, the tool is along our side and the handle is parallel to the ground
  • In the first phase, our arm is bent toward the shoulder and the disc is near to touch our back
  • In the second phase, our forearm is parallel to the ground and the disc is up to our chest
  • In the third phase, our arm falls along the side to overcome it (swinging back)
  • In the most simple version, at each step, we have to stop, bounce and proceed (1-2-3-2-1-2… and so on)
  • At each step, the breath must harmoniously follow the movement (read Meditation method 5)
  • We must always be relaxed and never rigid but we must try to maintain a solid stance
  • Let’s repeat the practice 15-25 times for each arm

Safety rules:

  • Let’s perform warm-up and stretching for arms, fingers and wrists (read How to correctly perform warm-up and How to correctly perform stretching)
  • The ideal starting point is 1-3kg and then increase gradually
  • We must be sure that our wrists can support this effort (the first execution should be easy)
  • We must be sure that our fingers are able to keep the grip for the entire session (attention to the sweat)
  • Only when we realize that we can control the weight easily, we can switch to harder variants

Small variants:

  • The exercise can be executed also with 4 phases instead of 3 (adding another ground-parallel step above the shoulder)
  • Instead of stopping at each step, we can easily perform swirling movements to train our Dragon Motion (read Dragon Motion: the swirling movements)
  • The practice can also be converted into a movement similar to the one we adopt to hit a nail with a hammer to insert it in the wood
  • To do not lose time we can also perform a ma bu (read The correct position of the rider (ma bu)) stance at the same time (read Training: optimizing the available time)
  • We can gradually increase the weight but never forcing our wrists to their limits

In the next article of this series, we will see more details and variants related to this practice (read The “T” weight: an exercise to master weapons).

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Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • In what direction do you feel more effort within this exercise?

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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