Taekwondo conditioning - Let's toughen up!

Taekwondo conditioning is about physical conditioning. Preparing your hands. Your shins. Your feet. And your abdomen. To take impacts and friction.

Martial arts conditioning is also about mental conditioning. Toughening up your mind so you don't panic in a confronting situation.

Here's where we help you to toughen up physically and mentally.

Your hands and arms

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For knife-hands and ridge-hands. We find the best way to toughen up is to use a heavy bag. Or a board with rope around it as here.

Repeated blows and strikes toughen up your skin, your bones, and the fibrous coating around your bones.

Build up slowly. Start with 5 strikes on each side and build to 30 or more as your body gets used to the impacts.

If you're like us and lucky enough to live near the beach. Punching into the sand is a great way to condition your knuckles. It's also a good workout if you do lots of fast punches. Alternatively you can use a rope board as for the knife hands.

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To toughen up your arms for blocks. We think it's best to work with a partner.

Stand and face each other in riding stance. Then each do a right arm middle block with the back of your hand facing you. The inside edge of your forearm should meet your partners arm.

Then twist and do a middle block with your palm facing you. So that the outside of your forearms meet.

Then bring your fist towards you and turn it down into a low block. So again the outside of your forearm meets with your partner's arm. Repeat with the left arm.

This is quite a meditative exercise. Once you get into a rhythm. You can practice it with your eyes shut to increase your overall awareness of your opponent.

Chest and Abdomen

If you get into full contact sparring then it's a fact that however well you evade and block. You'll sometimes have to take a hit.

You can help to condition your abdominal muscles by lying on your back. And getting a partner to repeatedly drop a medicine ball onto your abdomen. Two sessions of a minute is good.

We also practice taking blows. You have to learn to be soft. And relax. And go with the blow.

You MUST breathe out. A key-hup helps. And be prepared to step backwards.

For taekwondo conditioning of your stomach area. Get a partner to gently punch you in the abdomen. Or throw a gentle turning kick to your side.

Concentrate on relaxing and breathing out as the hit comes.

Build up to more powerful blows in time.

Your shins and the top of your foot

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There's two great taekwondo conditioning methods for your shins and the top of your feet. The first is repeated kicks to a heavy pad. Thigh kicks are perfect.

If you use a rounded technique and keep the kick low. You'll get loads of power. And as well as the conditioning. It's a good workout.

To really condition the fibers over your shin bone. It's good to use a stick and roll it up and down your shins as Neil is demonstrating here.

The soles of your feet

When we first started training in taekwondo the floor of our dojang was made of wood. And so our feet conditioned themselves.

Now with foam matting this natural conditioning doesn't happen.

Running barefoot on the sand is a great option we use. Or you can try walking on a pebbly beach or path.

In Korea there are stone paths especially designed for this purpose. With different grades of bumps to condition different parts of the feet.

We had great fun trying these out on our Korean taekwondo tour.

Mental conditioning

OK that's the physical side of martial arts conditioning. But what about the mental?

You body might be tough. But is you mind tough enough to take the confrontation of physical attack?

Here Deb describes a martial arts conditioning class that works on this aspect.

And in our taekwondo sparring section we talk about coping with physical confrontation.

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