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#173725 - 07/31/05 02:12 PM Conditioning leading to calcification?
Leo_E_49 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/24/05
Posts: 4117
Loc: California
I have done some research on the net as to whether conditioning the knuckles causes calcification or any other long term damage to the knuckles.

I would like only medical opinions from official sources here. Would those doctors among us please comment.

I am wondering about various training methods, including Makiwara training, breaking tiles/ice/bricks and punching people without hand wrappings/gloves. As well as Kung Fu styles of training which involve rubbing hands in sand or ball bearings and some Muay Thai training involving rubbing shins.

Will these lead to arthritis or osteoperosis, calcification or other effects?

If there have been no studies into this issue, I would reccommend that word be spread about possible risk in this area of training.

Edited by Leo_E_49 (07/31/05 02:21 PM)
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#173726 - 08/03/05 12:37 PM Re: Conditioning leading to calcification? [Re: Leo_E_49]
MAGr Offline

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 1147
Loc: London, home: Athens
I am going to try to keep this as far away from a 'how-to' as possible, in light of recent ana% arguing.

I am not a doctor, and all I haveto say is from personal experience, which to some people may translate as me lying, in anycase its a free world, and I will exercise my right to reply

I dont know from personal experience whether knuckle conditioning by hitting hard objects repeatedly makes any difference in calcium deposits in the knuckles. I know that it does build calcium deposits in the forearms because I have done forearm conditioning (of a fairly hard nature) and I have seen the results first hand. Note: I have not killed my nerves as is the popular view of conditioning.
I have come to the conclusion that it MUST create problems if you do a similar type of training on a joint since I ASSUME that the calcium builds on joints also, and will invariably lead to deformation of the joint and therefore potential problems.

I dont know what the balance is. I know that hitting marble slabs repeatedly will lead to BIG problems, and I know that wearing massive gloves and punching dough will not benefit the practitioner greatly. I dont know what the long term effects of makiwara training are because I dont do it, or personally know anyone who has done it for a prolonged period of time.

Some conditioning is needed, because a trader always keeps his tools sharp.

There are A LOT of different methods of conditioning. Some rely on building the calcium in the bones, and others depend on strengthening the muscle inorder to protect the bone.
The makiwara/ice/breaking/heavy bag are of the former discipline.
Iron palm, on ball bearing are of the later discipline.
That is why I tell people not to condition their knuckles if they are doing iron palm. Because there are no muscles in the knuckles and therefore are better off hitting the heavy bag.

I know first hand that if done properly (it takes three years to do iron palm, and it begins by letting your hands drop on dried peas) iron palm training, does indeed strengthen your PALM and KNIFE. This is a 'safe' method because you are not hitting any bones just muscle. At the very worst it just wont work and you ll be just as weak as you first started.

So in conclusion.

1. there are two types of conditioning (bone/muscle) and it is best to know which one you are doing.

2. forearms build calcium and I assume in the same way so do knuckles and all other joints.

3. IN MY OPINION its ok to practice calcium building (making bones denser) on a bone but not on a joint.

4. If you are strengthening muscle its a whole other ball game, and IN MY OPINION a safer bet than the makiwara training.

5. Some conditioning of the fist is needed otherwise you will get injured from the first encounter. But there is a fine line between trying to prevent injury by conditioning and sustaining injury from conditioning.

6. There are VERY FEW qualified instructors for this type of stuff.

7. There is not much data availiable, because: What is the average maximum clacium that the knuckle can take before it causes problems? How many times a day of makiwara training and with how much force? All these things are hard to measure and hard to control.


Will these lead to arthritis or osteoperosis, calcification or other effects?

It depends. What you are doing, how you are doing it, and how often you do it.

If you dont have an instructor that knows his stuff...then DONT DO IT.

#173727 - 08/03/05 12:44 PM Re: Conditioning leading to calcification? [Re: Leo_E_49]
BAMA REDNECK9000 Offline

Registered: 12/10/04
Posts: 329
Go to and click on breaking and it says its better to condition yer hands rather than not condition them and git them broke or damaged in a fight because after you break them once they will never be the same again.
The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle.

#173728 - 08/03/05 01:14 PM Re: Conditioning leading to calcification? [Re: MAGr]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
I think the main reason a makiwara does condition the fist (im of the opinon its muscle/strength conditioning rather than bone) it the fact that it gives resistance acording to the strength you strike. My point being that many use ineffective/poorly constructed and simply dangerous (the clapper variety) makiwaras.

I have been makiwara trianing for a year now, with increased intensity in the last few months and I have considerable more impact with the fist than when I started.

Its fair to say that I am following the advice of a highly skilled long term practioner of makiwara - an essential part of my training. I also put considerable effort/time and money into ensuring I had made a correctly designed post, obtained from makiwaraman on this site.

Anyone in the UK withoubt doubt should speak to him re makiwaras, its a shamless plug but totally genuine.

if it was left to me or i followed an instructor who was incorrectly taught then im sure tha tinjury and long term problems would occur.

I also train the heavy bag and find it delivers very important benefits, although somewhat different to the makiwara, but this has been covered in other recent threads.
Jim Neeter

#173729 - 08/03/05 08:22 PM Re: Conditioning leading to calcification? [Re: shoshinkan]
BAMA REDNECK9000 Offline

Registered: 12/10/04
Posts: 329
How far should a makiwara bend or flex upon impact?
The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle.


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