Hidden 27 days ago 26 days ago Post by POOHEAD189
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As someone who's been, to put it bluntly, obsessed with combat and fitness in all of its forms since I was a wee lad, I wrote this article to help out my friends who constantly seem to lack understanding in how to lose weight or gain muscle mass. Now a quick note, if you want to follow this advice you need dedication. But if you have a willingness to go for it and not lose momentum after three weeks, then this is the article for you. Now, to get this out of the way I'll do a quick backdrop on myself, a before/after picture, and the difficulties I faced and powered through.



Now that that's over, let's get to the work outs, and then we'll explore notes to keep in mind, and also ways you can work out if you do not have access to a gym membership. Also if anyone wishes to PM me and ask individual advice, I will be more than happy to help, FYI^^

General Overview


The first thing you need is a passion and a will. I cannot stress this enough. But for those of you who question whether or not if you have it, I think it will put you at ease to know that not only can you get significant results after only 4 months of this regime, but you'll also be hardwired in your head to continue and remain healthy after the 4 months.

Once the dedication is understood, we'll continue!

First thing is first. DON’T do “leg days” or “arm days” or “core days”. Ever.
Always do a full body work out. That means biceps, triceps, core, both the quads and the hamstrings of the legs (squats is a good way to do it), etc.

The first month, start with a minute or two of cardio, then do a bit on your core however you wish, then a bit on your arms, however you wish, then legs, etc. Eat something with protein in it before and after your work out. Usually an Apple with Peanut butter is a healthy snack choice. You don’t need giant amounts of protein. Once you get into the 3rd month, you'll need more protein. But don't start out with it, that'll only add fat to you. Protein shakes or protein bars are for hardcore workouts.

After a month. Increase your work outs. Add the extra 10 pounds. Add 2 minutes to your cardio. Do the extra 5 sit ups. Add the pull up. NO. Start doing pull ups. Even if it’s just one. I started out and I couldn’t do one. Now I do 20 a night for a routine workout.

Increase every month until the end of the 3rd month. Look at yourself. You’ll be surprised at how you feel. Now, you will also have a desire to continue. You’ll WANT to continue which is the great thing. But if you don’t, all you need to do is maintenance work outs. Very small thing you do for 20 minutes, and you will still have a good body.

DIET


Do NOT eat sweets or soft drinks on the week days. Ever. Simple as that.

Weekends are the days you eat whatever you want and you do not need to work out. They are your reward days. Enjoy them! As long as you have nutrients, do your exercises, and save sugary things for weekends, you can eat as many calories as you want (at least after the 3rd month). It’ll not matter one little bit. No more counting and no more charts!

Find out your blood type as well, and what foods are beneficial and detrimental to your health and metabolism. I can't process wheat well so I try to stay somewhat clear of it.

Useful Notes


Me repeating myself sometimes, but mostly newer content.

  • Determination. It’s why I mention passion above. Anything worth having takes some time and work. 4 Months training to push you past a threshold that will stay with you for years is worth it, trust me. You just need that extra will.
  • Debilitating Health. A lot of people who want to work out will tell themselves they can’t due to health reasons. And sometimes yes, they have a point. But there’s always something you can do. If a 140 pound, scrawny, asthmatic nerd with a missing disk in his back and mild scoliosis can gain 20 pounds of muscle, you can do something. Hell, my work out stretched my lungs out and made me deal with my asthma better. Plus exercise helps you with your mental health. It releases Endorphins.
  • Time between sets. My dad used to be a body builder, and I read a small booklet he had he used in college. It said if you take more than 60 seconds between one exercise and another, they are separate work outs and do not count. I’m not quite that harsh, but it needs to be under 2 minutes. A minute and a half is pushing it imo. You can’t stop and talk if you want results.
  • Stretches. I found out this year stretches are very important. For awhile I didn’t need them, but I hurt my back doing leg lifts and had to take a few months off my workout. (I realized later it was my muscles deteriorating from a gland in my head but…thankfully that got fixed).
    You can do a lot of the stretches Goku does, honestly. They’re based off Karate stretches and I’d definitely look them up. Also, lower back stretches are important. Especially for you ladies out there. (1) A good one to do is to lay on a flat (preferably hard) surface on your back, then draw your knees up, feet planted on the ground. Grab one knee, pull it to your chest. Hold for 5 seconds, then switch. (2) Lay on your back in the previous starter position, pull the left knee up (NOT to your chest. I said previous position), then pull it right while your body turns left. Then vice versa. (3) Finally, get on your hands and knees. Let your chest and stomach sag for 5 seconds, then arch your back and head slowly and hold for 5 seconds. Then repeat a few times. These stretches are good for those trying to get a good core. Take care of yourselves.
  • Full body Workouts always. What I said above in the previous post is important. Always do a full body work out. I don’t call it the “Warrior’s Workout” for nothing. Full body work outs not only help you lose more fat and gives you more endurance (Cardio at the beginning is important) but for you martial artists, if keeps us being fast with good stamina, as well as having a great deal of power.
    P.S. After you train for the first few months, switch up your workout and do different exercises. Go to different machines or positions, or at least switch it up a bit. You’ll eventually plateau, even with adding extra weights. In my senior year of highschool, I focused on my core mostly. I did up to 50 sit ups. Then got to 150. Then my normal routine was 400 sit ups and I got no results in my core, my body was so used to it. I literally stopped because I would get bored or lose count.
  • Diet Variety. It’s important to get your vitamins. In college I hadn’t thought of it, but I needed calcium. I found out I needed it when my muscles began to lift objects my bones couldn’t handle. It killed my wrists. And always drink a few cups of water a day. It’ll really give you more endurance. Also, some health advice: If you eat no sweets on the weekdays but pig out on the weekends, instead of eating healthy all 7 days, you’ll be healthier and lose more weight. The reason is it’ll keep your body from getting too used to your diet. You need variety in diet as well as work outs.
  • Fists. (For you guys working on a martial arts regime) Small tip I learned on Wikihow a few years a go. If you’re looking to do martial arts, even softer/less powerful ones like Tai Chi or Wing Chun (which I’m currently learning), when you’re bored, start punching your fists together. It’ll give you good calluses in your hands. Despite fists being our main weapons, in the end they are nothing but small bones with a ton of nerve endings. You need to toughen them up.
  • Gyms. You don’t need a fancy gym membership. My father is a minister. I always used my church’s gym and all you need is a church membership. Always be respectable there please, even if you’re not a believer. Plus even without that, all you need is 2 dumbbells and some place to run. Maybe a pull up bar. Should not cost you much, if anything at all. Work out in a public park as well.
  • Advice on push ups. Push ups are great for your chest muscles and good for your arms, but they’re mainly good for adding endurance to your body and not so much strength. If you’re looking for more strength (and you’re already fairly advanced), then bench press. Also, don't bench your max weight twice, then wait, then do it again. That’s just wrong lol. I’ve never found out my max, because it makes no sense to learn. I can lift much more, but I always just benched about 130 pounds 15 times for a few sets. That “max” stuff is mainy for people who do “chest and arm” days. Don’t be that person.


Hope this helps, guys!
Hidden 27 days ago Post by Lady Amalthea
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This is a decent guide and well written; however I would like to add that as with any physical regiment or diet people should consult their doctor before hand and through out. Especially if they have a pre-existing medical condition. Your body condition changes drastically the first weeks and months, medications may need to be altered if you are on any.
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Hidden 26 days ago Post by DeadDrop
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How many times do you hit the gym a week?@POOHEAD189
Hidden 26 days ago Post by POOHEAD189
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@DeadDropGenerally after work everyday, Monday through Thursday. So 4 times a week, which coincides with my diet as well. Eating healthy on the weekdays, and then allowing myself to rest and slack off on the weekends.
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Hidden 26 days ago Post by Zero Hex
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So what's your other martial arts along with Wing Chun? Where and/or how do you train, could you give us info on that like how often you do it and what the regimen is like? And why did you drop Kyokushin? Sorry for the bunch of questions, interested on the info to go along with the regular conditioning routine.
Hidden 26 days ago 26 days ago Post by POOHEAD189
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No worries, my friend! Questions always welcome. My Medieval Arms & Armor article I'd rather PM's to keep it professional, but here it's far more open so don't hesitate^^

And why did you drop Kyokushin?

As for your questions, I'll start with your last one first. I didn't drop Oyama Karate because I was dissatisfied with it, though I've often wanted to go the Kung Fu route initially. I was fortunate enough to have karate as an option for a physical fitness course in college, and when I saw that I took it immediately because I worked out night's anyway. I do still have the book for it though and use what I learned in routines.

So what's your other martial arts along with Wing Chun?
I've only taken classes for Wing Chun and Kyokushin, but I've read and watched videos on numerous other martial arts and I try to practice their forms. I've added some Tae-Kwon-Do, Kick-boxing, and some (I know I am misspelling this) Sai-li fu Kung Fu. Tae-Kwon-Do is fairly similar to most forms of Karate however, so it's not entirely too hard.

Where and/or how do you train, could you give us info on that like how often you do it and what the regimen is like?
I admit I've slacked off recently because I am now living in a single room rather than having a house to myself like I was used to. But since January 2016 I've often done my forms in...well, let me find the correct spelling for these.

I do my Siu Nim Tau set, which sets you in the mindset and unconsciously gives you some small training and motions. Then Chum Kiu, which is very similar to Siu Nim Tau but it focuses more on knee blocking and using the elbows. I practice punching from the center line, and then my Wing Chun grappling maneuvers (which are not what you'd expect. I'd need to make a video to show people at some point).

Then I would go from Southern Kung Fu to Japanese, with Kyokushin practice. Mostly kicks, first with one foot on the ground, and then I would practice by jumping. Then I would practice by jump kicking, and then jumping once more on one foot to prepare for an opponent dodging and ducking under to sweep my leg out from under me. I'd then practice various other forms, mostly a mish mash of techniques, depending. If there is a pole or punching bag around, lightly strike them with your shin, knees, elbows, etc. Muay Thai condition is very good.

I always take to heart what Bruce Lee said. "I don't fear the man who has practice a thousand kicks, but the man who has practiced a kick a thousand times." Also stick with what you know before you explore. But once you take 6 months of Wing Chun, you can easily self train, if you're dedicated.

It's also good to do push ups on your fists, if you can. Do the punching exercise in the article, and after a month or two of that, do your push ups on your fists.

And you do these every night with your work outs, if you're diligent enough. Though I've currently hit a peak and am waiting to get back into my Wing Chun classes to continue (dojo moved so we had no location for awhile).

Also I did some sword and staff training as well, though those would be hard to describe lol. Martial Arts regimes are pretty good cardio before a work out.

I would often train in a living room or even outside if I can. I enjoy training when it's dark. Also if you're ever doing drills, find a form in the dark and continue to strike at its location. Makes you more coordinated.

The best advice I can give you is take a class for half a year, and then go from there on your own. You can explore different forms once you've become acclimated.
@Zero Hex
Hidden 25 days ago Post by POOHEAD189
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I realize that was just a splurge of words, so soon I'll make a more detailed article in the way to train.
Hidden 25 days ago Post by Zero Hex
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So I take it Kyokushin stopped because it was just a college course that came to an end. Any reason why you picked Wing Chun rather than continue pursuing that line of karate or karate in general? Curious about when you picked it up too.

As for everything else, so it's just forms you learned off a college Kyokushin course and what I'm guessing was about six months of Wing Chun classes? Well, combined with practicing forms from other martial arts that you read about or saw on videos?

Curious about Wing Chun grappling, assuming it's centered on the standup clinch and arm/limb trapping. How do you train that on your own? Wooden dummy?
Hidden 25 days ago 25 days ago Post by POOHEAD189
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So I take it Kyokushin stopped because it was just a college course that came to an end. Any reason why you picked Wing Chun rather than continue pursuing that line of karate or karate in general? Curious about when you picked it up too.

As for everything else, so it's just forms you learned off a college Kyokushin course and what I'm guessing was about six months of Wing Chun classes? Well, combined with practicing forms from other martial arts that you read about or saw on videos?

Curious about Wing Chun grappling, assuming it's centered on the standup clinch and arm/limb trapping. How do you train that on your own? Wooden dummy?

Yes, the Oyama Karate was a college course. And it takes six months to learn the forms of Wing Chun, and once you learn the forms, you can easily find out how they're used in proper application. And you got it right, the grappling is the limb trapping. And while it's easier to do it with a partner (which is why classes are good), as long as you learn the maneuvers, it's no big deal doing them on your own. They're literally just small moves put together to make a more complicated maneuver (same with various strikes), it's not like a whole dance that you do with no segmented parts. That's all any martial art is.

Though for the grappling, there is only 3 basic maneuvers you need to learn, and the 2nd and 3rd are for if you're fighting someone relatively competent in Wing Chun. The first is good enough to redirect any bar fight punch.

And I started Wing Chun...early 2015? I only got a taste of Oyama Karate, and while the two are both close combat and strike oriented, Wing Chun derives its power from your stance, momentum, and speed whereas Kyokushin is more focused on your movements, ki, and center of gravity. But I learned strikes and kicks too, and a bit of Japanese from Kyokushin. Might take it back up again at some point.

I own 3 books on Kung Fu, 1 book on Japanese concept of Ki, The Book of the 5 Rings, my Oyama Karate manual, and a small Tai Chi booklet (which I have yet to read). Out of all of those, I'd been most interested in Northern Shaolin Kung Fu, but since there are no courses for any styles of that nature around here, I chose Wing Chun, a southern style. That, and it was the basis of Bruce Lee's martial arts career. He took the basics of that to form Jeet Kune Do.

Also the Wing Chun courses are 40 a month while the Karate ones were 90 (if I wanted to continue them). I wanted to try out Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with my friend while my group found a new dojo, but that was a hell of a lot more expensive.
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This is such a cool thread! :)

I've not much to add, since my aesthetic/fitness goals aren't exactly aligned with what you've already got, but I was wondering if you tracked/restricted calories at all? And I find the weekend cheat day thing doesn't work that well with me-I end up binging and gaining and spending the rest of the week trying to get rid of what I gained over the weekend. But maybe it's just me ;D
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Hidden 14 days ago Post by POOHEAD189
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@ayzrules I track sugar, and I track fat. But not calories, per say. And I only really track fat if I've been having breathing difficulties and I cannot work out as hard as I usually would like. Though I am quite active, then again. Counting Calories will always be stressful and won't always give you accurate representation of how well you're doing on a diet. You always need a small break at some point, too!

Thank you so much, btw.
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@POOHEAD189 ahhh gotcha! I just find it easier to track cals and limit sugar (especially because I'm mostly vegan, and also I can just add up the numbers pretty quickly in my head). Should probably be tracking protein since I don't eat meat, tbh lol

and yep np! It was super interesting to read what you had to say on the subject!
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@ayzrules I appreciate it a lot! And don't worry, there's plenty of substitutes for meat to get your protein :)
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Hidden 7 days ago Post by Blubaron45
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One thing I'd recommend: get a jumprope. You'll burn so much calories apart from gaining better body coordination and enhancing footwork - not to mention cardio. Take it from an amateur with 5 bouts.
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Hidden 7 days ago Post by ayzrules
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^^^ ooo yes jump rope is always good! rope is an apparatus for rhythmic gymnastics so when I used to do the sport, our coaches would always make us do double jumps (it's where you get the rope up and over two times for one jump-sort of hard to explain, sorry eeek), usually 20-30 in a row, and that definitely helps for quick warm-ups :)
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I've only used Jump Rope back in early school before I became a work out freak, so I wasn't sure of its capabilities. Good advice though. It makes sense!
Hidden 1 day ago Post by Zeroth
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Hey, I happened to see this while browsing. I'm a martial arts enthusiast myself (14 years of Shorin-ryu Karate), and my master's dayjob is being a personal trainer so he's taught a lot of general fitness stuff as well as the traditional training. I always like finding someone online who's a fellow practitioner, and I certainly don't wanna shit all over this stuff you clearly put a lot of time and effort into, but there are some things I thought I should address. But think of it more as just wanting to point some things out and open a discussion, rather than trying to start an argument or anything.


First thing is first. DON’T do “leg days” or “arm days” or “core days”. Ever.
Always do a full body work out. That means biceps, triceps, core, both the quads and the hamstrings of the legs (squats is a good way to do it), etc.


This is highly subjective even if the focus is on martial arts performance rather than body building or a sport. From the rest of the article it seems like you follow an "every day" plan with weekends as the recovery period, which is actually something I'm doing right now too, but here's the thing about that: In order to do a full body workout almost every single day, you're either risking an injury from overtraining, or you're not achieving maximum results depending on various factors. I'm sure you're aware that muscles become stronger by being damaged and then repairing themselves, and it's when you overdo the damage that injuries occur. However, by not doing enough damage--not pushing them hard enough--you're also slowing potential growth. Sometimes this is fine--slow and steady as they say--but it's important for a person to be aware of this.

If someone who has never worked out in their life starts doing some Saitama-esque every day plan--100 situps, 100 pushups, 100 squats, 10 km run, no matter rain or shine--they are going to quickly burn out and become discouraged, or they are going to tear something, or they are going to have a serious body imbalance from only hitting generalized muscle groups as opposed to more "body part focused" routines that hit the key muscle groups more efficiently.

On the other hand, if a person says to themselves "Okay, my entire body has to get a workout," that can take a long time for a session because you have different stretches for each limb, different exercises for legs and arms and core and back and chest and shoulders and glutes, maybe you're practicing different techniques too, and so on. The longer that list goes on, the less time you have for each individual thing because not everyone has the free time to do an hour or two hour long workout session, especially not every. Single. Day. There's also the matter of conserving energy--I can't go all out on these pushups cause I also have all these squats and all these situps to do. In this case, the full body workout becomes detrimental in the opposite way from before, because you're not doing enough to force the muscles to become stronger. After the first few weeks, it becomes less of an actual progressive workout and more of a warm up, and past that point you either have to dedicate MORE hours so you can do more things, or you have to realize that's not practical for some work schedules and instead split your days up and focus on individual muscle groups.

In my personal experience, a full body workout is better when it's more like full body practice--I'm not doing pushups and situps, but I'm running through each and every one of my techniques and forms and drills--because even though those things can be quite the aerobic workout, they're much lower in intensity (unless you're intentionally blasting the effort balls to the wall, but then your form and body alignment suffer). A full body routine is also better suiting to maintaining conditioning than getting into it in the first place--If the gym is closed for the holidays or vacation time, or if the dojo is closed for an undetermined amount of time, then you can do some simple body-weight resistance stuff to keep yourself from getting rusty.

An individual's workout needs, daily schedule, nutrition, and so on will all play a factor in what routines are most efficient for them. To state an absolute like "don't ever do this, ever" can give people the wrong idea, and neither physical fitness or martial arts are things you wanna start on the wrong foot with due to the risk of injury or the formation of bad habits.

DIET

You've gone into this a little bit already with calorie counting and such, but again this area is very subjective not just because different people have different nutritional needs, but because different kinds of workouts also require it. You mention protein intake, but from your own description you don't actually seem to take in a lot of it, and for people who are trying to grow in strength rather than slim down on weight, there's a much higher need for it. On the opposite side, someone who needs to increase their cardiovascular endurance may need more carbohydrates in order to have the long-burning fuel, as opposed to the fast-burning fuel of natural fats.

There are lots of math formulas and charts and such all over the internet for different diet plans, but the most important thing to remember is to burn more than you take in. A person should consult a proper nutritionist, doctor, or personal trainer to get the best fitting diet for them, but honestly almost anything works as long as you're consistent with it.

Debilitating Health. A lot of people who want to work out will tell themselves they can’t due to health reasons. And sometimes yes, they have a point. But there’s always something you can do. If a 140 pound, scrawny, asthmatic nerd with a missing disk in his back and mild scoliosis can gain 20 pounds of muscle, you can do something. Hell, my work out stretched my lungs out and made me deal with my asthma better. Plus exercise helps you with your mental health. It releases Endorphins.


In the group class settings of most martial arts schools, a big factor for this is also embarassment. Nobody wants to be the only guy in class sweating like a pig and struggling to keep up while everyone else does the splits and backflips with zero effort (don't take this literally, if any martial arts school requires its students to do the splits or backflips it's either a showboat class or a McDojo). But what people need to realize is that no martial arts instructor worth a spit is going to throw you into the black belt class on your first day. And most of the time, people in these classes are decent folk--martial arts tends to foster good character--and even if they do make fun of you, all you have to do is realize that they're trash and their opinion doesn't matter.

Bottom line, doing the thing will get you in shape so you can do the thing better. For those of you who hesitate, remember that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. It may be slow, it may be hard, it may be little tiny baby steps. But just keep taking them, trust in the instructor to do his job (which is making YOU into a better martial artist) and put one foot in front of the other.

Fists. (For you guys working on a martial arts regime) Small tip I learned on Wikihow a few years a go. If you’re looking to do martial arts, even softer/less powerful ones like Tai Chi or Wing Chun (which I’m currently learning), when you’re bored, start punching your fists together. It’ll give you good calluses in your hands. Despite fists being our main weapons, in the end they are nothing but small bones with a ton of nerve endings. You need to toughen them up.

If there is a pole or punching bag around, lightly strike them with your shin, knees, elbows, etc.


Christ Almighty, not for the beginners! And not without way more specific instructions! Any type of body-hardening training--Iron Palm, Iron Shirt, Hojo Undo--should absolutely NOT be attempted until the student is at least 16 years old, has been training long enough to get the proper form of each technique down, and has developed enough strength and flexibility to feel confident putting pressure on their joints and limbs. Before a person is 16, their skeletons are not fully developed and certainly aren't finished growing. Damage to the smaller bones--like the carpals and toes--or to the joints can have seriously debilitating, life long after effects for them! Without proper form and fitness, the chances for injury skyrocket, especially if you get some young hotshot who wants to punch the fucking Makiwara/Muk Yan Jong at 100% the first time he tries it without having his knuckles or wrist properly aligned.

This type of training should NEVER be attempted without the supervision of a properly trained and certified instructor until the student themselves has done it for long enough that leaving behind bloodstains isn't something they'd freak out about anymore.

When I first started using the makiwara--ours is a 6x6 post in a base made from an old tire, some wooden slats, and some concrete, with the post wrapped with old fire hoses--I didn't even punch it. I just kinda ground my knuckles against it and practiced tightening my fist and putting pressure on it, while slowly extending my arms to make sure my technique was correct. I had just turned 16, and from then to when I was about 18 I had to take it in very careful increments. You build up from very, VERY little power very slowly--Not even 10% at the start, maybe not even 5 depending on how "tough" you are, and trust me it's always a little less than you think it is for you big macho sorts. I wasn't able to punch it at even 80% power until I had passed my first black belt test, shortly before I graduated high school. You have to do it at least tens of times with each hand every time you practice, too, until it's taken the skin off your knuckles at least a couple of times, but then you also have to properly treat it and give it time to heal to avoid infections and worsening any injuries. I know a guy who has a knuckle permanently jammed a few inches below where it's supposed to be because he didn't fucking listen to the instructor telling him to stop punching.

When it comes to the types of hardening exercises that are done on the limbs, like the shins and forearms, once again you have to take it EXTREMELY slow and carefully, because most of the time these are partnered exercises and you don't want to hurt your fellow student. You also have to be sure to massage the limbs properly afterwards to keep them from bruising, forming clots, and so forth.

The way these things work is three fold: The bones experience tiny breaks called microfractures, and when they heal they're like a cracked concrete slab that has new concrete poured directly into the crack and then smoothed over. They will get stronger over time, but not immediately. Second, the body becomes used to the pain--the nerves become desensitized and the brain stops sending out such strong signals because it learns that this part of the body is being used more often, so it has to become more trauma-resistant. And third (these aren't chronological by the way) the skin on the affected area becomes leathery and calloused due to a build up of scar tissue. Scar tissues, however, is pretty much entirely inflexible and cannot be stretched again in order to re-learn any lost flexibility. You must be extremely careful that this tissue only builds up on the striking surfaces, and not within the muscles, joints, or digits.

Done correctly, body hardening is great for people who aren't worried about looking pretty or being especially dextrous with their fingers or limbs, and for people who want to make martial arts a profession. You can punch a solid brick wall and not feel a thing, or use your toes like a needle for precision kicks to the pressure points in an opponent's groin, knees, thighs, etc.

Done incorrectly and without proper supervision, body hardening can cause arthritis, repeated breaks or fractures, permanent scarring, loss of feeling in the limbs, and all sorts of other bad stuff. This is NOT the type of training any beginner should attempt under any circumstances.

I've only taken classes for Wing Chun and Kyokushin, but I've read and watched videos on numerous other martial arts and I try to practice their forms. I've added some Tae-Kwon-Do, Kick-boxing, and some (I know I am misspelling this) Sai-li fu Kung Fu. Tae-Kwon-Do is fairly similar to most forms of Karate however, so it's not entirely too hard.

But once you take 6 months of Wing Chun, you can easily self train, if you're dedicated.

The best advice I can give you is take a class for half a year, and then go from there on your own. You can explore different forms once you've become acclimated.


Holy shit no, like I said I don't wanna seem like I'm shitting all over your topic and I have to admit this is kind of a pet peeve of mine, but no no no this gives such a WRONG impression of martial arts.

Okay, there are some arts like Aikido where it's almost a given that the master is gonna say "You have to practice this for 10 years before you can even attempt using it in a real fight." And a lot of people, including me, say that's dumb because if you're focused on learning self defense you need to learn stuff that can be immediately useful, sometimes even without a long period of training--for this reason a lot of the self defense stuff I've seen and learned is all based on natural reflexes or extremely simplistic movements.

But do NOT take six months of classes and then try to go it alone, or figure out all the applications by yourself, or anything like that. Also, find whatever style fits you and stick with it for, in my personal opinion, at LEAST five years before you start "branching out." MMA has absolutely ruined the idea of what martial arts are capable of--you don't have to learn all these completely separate, sometimes completely differently focused arts and styles in order to be an effective fighter.

My style of Karate, Shorin-ryu, was officially founded in 1933, but the actual system goes back over 200 years. In those 200 years, especially back when these Okinawan masters were still breaking coconuts, shoving their spear-hands through pig corpses, and had no idea what "padding" was, you think they didn't experiment or fight other practitioners of different styles, or have experiences they weren't prepared for followed by active attempts to prepare their students for such things in the future? I don't need to try and learn Brazilian Jujutsu for grappling, because Karate has its own grappling techniques. I don't need to learn Sambo for throws and joint locks, because Karate has some of its own. I don't need Muay Thai's elbow or knee strikes, or Baguazhang's flowing footwork, because Karate has its own flavor of answers to all of those things.

Does watching and learning from other styles help? Absolutely. Stealing a method of punching from boxing, or a kick from Tae-Kwon-Do, and adding it to my Karate repetoire is something I've certainly done. And sometimes a person just likes to do something a particular way even if everyone around them does it differently. I've almost never seen two instructors teach a kata the same way. But don't do this "super size sample platter" crap where you're just taking a little nibble of everything without ever committing to something. Commitment is the only thing that makes any of the training worth a damn--just like that Bruce Lee quote, only applied to styles instead of techniques. I've had people who were clearly fronting out of their asses tell me "Oh I've done some boxing, and some ninjutsu, and some wushu, and some krav maga" and they can't explain the first thing about the fundamentals, tactics, mindsets, or anything else of fighting because they never got any deeper than the surface level of learning some neat moves and flying kicks and then they were off to find the next shiny thing.

Same thing with "self-training," you've got to commit to learning from a proper instructor, in a proper environment, if you ever wanna really get anywhere. Self Training, in my experience, is for perfecting what has been learned. The actual learning is done in the dojo, and takes way, waaaaaay longer than six months. I started training when I was 11, and like I mentioned earlier I didn't get my first degree black belt until I was almost out of high school.

A lot of people make the mistake of getting that black belt, too, and then saying "Welp I guess I know it all now." No, hahahaha noooo. I dunno about other styles, but in Karate there are usually ten degrees of black belt. The first one is the equivalent of graduating high school. The second one is like getting an Associate's Degree. And past the third or fourth degree, it's not just about how many dudes you can fight at one time, how many forms you know, how many bricks you can break, or any of that. Past a certain point it becomes about life experience--you have to have taught for so many hours, or raised another student to black belt rank yourself, or sometimes (if you're part of a big structured organization) you even have to take exams and stuff. If you ever see a teenager claiming they're already a fifth degree black belt, either they're full of shit or their school is a McDojo. And I'd go so far as to say most people who call themselves tenth degree masters aren't legit either--what I've usually seen or heard of happening is that they get to a fairly high rank, and then they decide "I'm gonna start my own style," and they declare themselves the grand master of their self-invented school.



Sorry, I got a little off track in some places and I'm sure I might have said something that could be taken the wrong way. Like I said before, I don't want to argue or debate, just point out some things I felt were lacking and open a discussion if necessary.

Keep up your training, though, and I really like that this topic has encouraged some other people to have an interest in martial arts. Just remember it's not all about gettin' SWOLE or being able to rip a man's heart out of his chest, or being able to do the fanciest move. As Miyamoto Musashi said, to learn the Martial Arts is to learn the Way, and to know the Way is to know all things. Self-improvement--physically, mentally, and spiritually--should be the ultimate goal.
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