Iron Body Training
Tameshiwari Iron Body/Iron Palm training is crucial to being a successful martial artist especially a practitioner of Karate. To train ones body for the purpose of withstanding severe blows or impacts and possessing the ability to successfully break concrete without injury to oneself increases and confirms a martial artist's belief in their abilities of performing a specific application of technique. It is this confidence in one's own ability to apply a deadly or disfiguring strike to an opponent in a real life situation that will prevent this type of situation from occurring at all. The purpose of training one's body to strike with such intense application and force is to build self-confidence in ability and to increase one's accuracy so as to deliver a final and deadly attack on one's opponents(s).
Iron body training requires one to train their hands, feet and other areas of the body to make the body like iron, or as hard as rock. Your hands and feet should be used like the points of arrows, weapons of destruction. Development of proper technique is crucial to strike with tremendous force. Initially learning specific body mechanics will deliver a strike that is so powerful that the average lay person could never achieve or imitate. Further one must develop their KI energy through physical, mental and spiritual training. To train in this way a martial artist will improve their mental focus to produce a strike that would cause severe bodily injury or even death. It is imperative that one train ones body both externally and internally to be an effective practitioner of Tameshiwari. External exercises consist of striking various hard surfaces utilizing different hand positions. For the beginner one may choose bags filled with beans, sand and small gravel. More advanced students will train using jagged pieces of Iron. The progression from beginner to advanced is dependent on the type of training regiment one endures. This progression could take many months or even years of training before one's hands, feet, elbows etc. are ready for hard impact surfaces such as concrete. The use of special liniment such as dit da jow (hit wine) is usually applied before and after the training regiment. It helps to reduce swelling, enhances blood flow and healing and aids in the prevention of bruising. Internal Iron Body training requires one to develop proper breathing techniques, meditation and channeling Ki energy throughout the body especially to specific directed areas of the body such as the hands, feet and elbows for the purposes of a powerful strike to an object or an opponent. Using proper training methods and a disciplined regiment, a martial artist over time will develop their body to withstand brutal impact and be able to deliver hits and strikes with savage power to one or more opponents that will if necessary cause "certain death".
If one trains seriously as a martial artist and in particular a style of Karate that includes a rigorous regiment of Iron Body Tameshiwari one will have developed their entire mind, body and spirit to a level of mastery that is required for effective combative martial arts. You will be confident in your ability to protect, defend, disarm and conquer one or more opponents if faced with this type of scenario. The core of combative martial arts and the core of Karate is the ability to fight. If you are not practicing to hit hard, you are not effectively practicing to fight. If you cannot fight, you are not practicing combative martial arts. Breaking concrete is one of the most powerful ways to develop a fighting spirit. Breaking is a tangible means of measuring one's developed skill and power. A martial artist will realize the power of their strikes and see all of their techniques in their truest form. What may once have been an effective punch is now a devastating deadly strike. When one has achieved this ability one must be careful with strikes when sparring. There is no need to use this force and cause harm to a fellow Karateka. Rather demonstrate your skills on bricks and others will not doubt your ability.
All karatekas at the Saskatoon West Shito-Ryu Budo Seishin Karate Do, no matter if they are a beginner or an advanced student, train their bodies to withstand severe impact and attack. Only the most advanced students however are taught specific Iron Hand and Iron Body techniques and the proper methods for breaking.
Arigatou, Sensei Wayne