Makiwara Training – The Theory Behind Fists of Steel For Serious Punching Power

Nancy B. Alston

The theory of training for punching power using a makiwara board is that you are using your fists in such a way that you would naturally fight with them on the street.  There are no bag gloves in dark alleys and there are no pads when your personal space is invaded by an attacker.

The makiwara board will create a denser bone structure in your fists as well as create large callouses with long-term use.  With careful training, you can achieve iron-like fists unavailable with any other type of punching power training.

The idea behind the makiwara is not to bash your hands into bloody stumps and then expect them to be amazing weapons.  You can do a lot of damage with makiwara training if you are not careful, and you must ease into it and stop if you ever get an injury.

Starting slow and building up to higher intensities and repetitions is the name of the game. You can’t just start makiwara training and hope to have fists of steel in just a few days. Nonetheless, it is possible to achieve such results over time, and you can only get the ability with a makiwara.

The makiwara originated in Okinawa, Japan, the birthplace of karate. The karate practitioners were poor farmers that crated their makiwaras with parts that they had available to them.  In staying with tradition, it is quite possible to create your own makiwara even as a modern martial artist.

The makiwara can also help students of boxing as well as MMA and other martial arts.  Whenever there is punching involved, the makiwara will benefit your sport. 

The makiwara is basically a flexible board mounted to the floor of your dojo or practice space, and traditionally has a slightly padded target.  The Okinawans used rice rope, but there are many options available to pad your own makiwara board.

All in all if you are going to being makiwara training, make sure that you start out slow and follow the advice of experts.  Be careful with your fighting tools (your fists) and you can build them up to be very serious weapons.

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