The Striking Post

The makiwara is a traditional martial arts striking post which allows you to practice your techniques with good focus, posture and breathing. Beginners to the martial arts might look at an expert practitioner and marvel at calloused knuckles and gape at their powerful strikes. And then some might associate the pain of training with the ultimate prize of attaining the secrets of this lethal 'killing blow'. Do people think that the idea is to disfigure your hand, to create deadened nerve endings, in pursuit of an art?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makiwara
Striking the makiwara allows you to increase kinesthetic awareness so you can increase striking force. Performing the same technique in the air does not give you the force feedback necessary for you to 'feel' how your body supports a strike. Remember the first time you got struck in the head? Did you feel that vibration go right into your neck? There's no real way to explain it until you feel it. Just like that, with strike post training you are better placed to gauge how the body structure supports each strike, and are better placed to acquire the necessary coordination to deliver a more optimised blow.



When I first used the makiwara, the tension in the body - whilst sufficient for shadow boxing and light gap closing type strikes - was inadequate for a powerful strike. Most of the power seemed to come from the shoulders and a lot from the arm. The strike of course only seemed powerful because the upper body generated the tension and was the source of the strike ... and this can be misinterpreted as having sufficient striking force.

The secret here - yes, the usual cliche - is to generate the strike from the legs and hips, amplify it through your core, and then transmit it into the striking tool. The factor for success is to make sure that this pulse sent along the body is synchonised very quickly, to not overly use your arm or shoulder muscles to generate power, and to strike with your body mass as a single unit.

When you're hitting that target correctly - you'd know it. There is absolutely no way to hit more powerfully unless you pack on an additional 30 to 40 pounds of additional muscle. And when you do so, the strike will seem easy - not more powerful. It would be like your body was acting in concert with itself. You will however be rewarded with a resounding thump on your strike post - if you're hitting it dead on.

Check out my post How to Hit a Striking Post

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Comments

Kenpo Karate said…
Too true. It is important to practice on even a punching bag when preparing for a tournament. And also focusing on punching exact positions, that way you can target your opponent better.
Matt said…
Great post. Makiwara has long been critical to Okinawan Karate development.
Colin Wee said…
Good seeing you guys here. Just fyi, I've added Kenpo Karate to my list of blogs on my reader, and I've added Matt to my side bar. Have a good week! Cheers, Colin

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