Please take a look at Articles on self-defense/conflict/violence for introductions to the references found in the bibliography page.

Please take a look at my bibliography if you do not see a proper reference to a post.

Please take a look at my Notable Quotes

Hey, Attention on Deck!

Hey, NOTHING here is PERSONAL, get over it - Teach Me and I will Learn!

When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:

I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me

I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me

I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull

I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death

I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed

I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes

I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados

I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers

The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn

Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung


The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books. Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.

Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.

“What you are reading right now is a blog. It’s written and posted by me, because I want to. I get no financial remuneration for writing it. I don’t have to meet anyone’s criteria in order to post it. Not only I don’t have an employer or publisher, but I’m not even constrained by having to please an audience. If people won’t like it, they won’t read it, but I won’t lose anything by it. Provided I don’t break any laws (libel, incitement to violence, etc.), I can post whatever I want. This means that I can write openly and honestly, however controversial my opinions may be. It also means that I could write total bullshit; there is no quality control. I could be biased. I could be insane. I could be trolling. … not all sources are equivalent, and all sources have their pros and cons. These needs to be taken into account when evaluating information, and all information should be evaluated. - God’s Bastard, Sourcing Sources (this applies to this and other blogs by me as well; if you follow the idea's, advice or information you are on your own, don't come crying to me, it is all on you do do the work to make sure it works for you!)

“You should prepare yourself to dedicate at least five or six years to your training and practice to understand the philosophy and physiokinetics of martial arts and karate so that you can understand the true spirit of everything and dedicate your mind, body and spirit to the discipline of the art.” - cejames (note: you are on your own, make sure you get expert hands-on guidance in all things martial and self-defense)

“All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice. I should not speak so boldly if it were my due to be believed.” - Montaigne

Search This Blog

Bone Density and Karate

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

For article emphasis example only, click for larger view.
Model/person depicted has nothing to do with this
article or my views, etc.
Not too long ago I read a posting on karate and bone density with a goal of body conditioning for the art of tameshiwara or breaking. As you can readily see there are some categories that one must know and understand to make body conditioning work and have benefits in the karate and martial arts world. More often than not it is about entertainment and drawing folks toward enrollment, etc.

Bone density and body conditioning for tameshiwara are important while not really being all that critical for someone to condition themselves for tameshiwara. In other words, if one trains in karada kitae or body hardening the very act and participation in karate and martial arts builds bone density.

Bone density is one of those things that are a natural byproduct of the discipline of karate and martial arts simply because if fulfills one of the important aspects of increasing bone density, exercise. And as can readily be seen in the below recommendations from a posting on yahoo answers all the needs for strong, healthy and denser bones comes from the interconnectedness of all the necessities.

There is no “one thing” a karateka and martial artist can do to increase bone density, i.e., similar to building muscle strength and volume through the isolation of that one body part you are aiming to strengthen and build. Since bone density is about density of the bones of the entire skeletal structure it is not necessary to focus on building bone density alone as if that act and goal would condition and build bones so they can stop breakage in tamashiwara.

In karate and martial arts one goal is the generation of force and power that invovles an efficient use of fundamental principles of martial defense systems or disciplines where physiokinetic sub-principles necessary to achieve that goal include, but not limited too, structure, balance, alignment, etc. and that means proper use of the skeletal structure. 

The bones in your body make up your skeletal frame, and that is what holds your body in the shape it is. Having strong dense bones is essential to good posture, strength and balance. Our actual structure and alignment, etc., also require the skeletal structure to assume a certain formation while being supported through the muscular system of muscles, tendons and ligaments. This is just touching on the surface of all that must coordinate and interconnect to achieve a goal of force and power. 

In truth, body conditioning for tameshiwara or breaking does not rely on bone density because no matter how dense the bones without other systems and factors those bones will still have physics to deal with where bones break with about 25 pounds or so dependent on other factors such as that bone density, the weakest point of the bones structure, the structure of the bone and the direction of force, etc. What actually provides more protection is our other body systems such as skin, muscles and other factors such as how we position our bodies and the direction the force of the blow is applied as already mentioned. 

Tameshiwara is an art form because it takes adequate knowledge along with body conditioning to achieve successful tameshiwara without damage beyond what you are conditioned for such as level of pain and whether the pain receptors on that part of the body are deadened enough, etc.

Add in the muscular strength and so on then you have a certain type and level of body armor that will protect you but know this one thing, although you can break a bat in a demonstration I can almost guarantee that a bat in a predatory attack will break that bone simply due to the chaos of battle and how and in what position, etc., our bodies are when the blow comes. 

A good example is a partner who had conditioned themselves for a hard body along with being strong and very good with dynamic isometric like body ability as seen in sanchin kata during a controlled bout failed to dynamically tension the body when a blow came and suffered broken ribs with strained cartilage, etc., while not feeling it until after due to adrenaline chemical reactions. 

As to a focus on bone density I recommend simply focusing on fundamental principles toward applying proper defense methodologies and a training regimen that will created a conditioned healthy fit body while taking along the following recommendations to achieve a byproduct of strong, healthy and dense bones. 

The recommendations of the Yahoo Answers on bone density:

Get Sunshine: Vitamin D plays a critical role in the preservation of bone health. Without sufficient Vitamin D, your body cannot absorb the calcium to build stronger bones. The best source of vitamin D is through exposure to direct sunlight. Three times a week for about 10 to 15 minutes is enough sunlight for an average adult. 

Eat green vegetables: Dark leaft greens not only give you calcium, but vitamin K, potassium, and other minerals you need to lay down bone. Vitamin K found in dark leafy greens is beneficial for bone strength, the immune system and blood. Dark green veggies like parsley, broccoli and spinach (palak) have a lot of calcium in them too. 

Drink milk daily: When you think of calcium-rich food, the first thing that should come to your mind is milk. Having a glass a day provides you with 300 mg of calcium. Although dairy products are high in calcium, they can also be high in fat so always prefer the one made from skimmed milk. For those who are lactose intolerant, you can have calcium fortified soy milk. 

Say No to caffeine: 4 or more cups of coffee per day can causes calcium to be excreted in the urine thus increasing the risk of fracture. If you drink more than this amount though, stick to decaffeinated coffee. 

No Soft Drinks: Most soft drinks or soda contains phosphoric acid which also removes calcium from bones. Some drinks also contain excessive amounts of caffeine which also affects the bone health. 

Cut back on Meat: Limit or avoid high-protein animal foods. When meat is consumed, it creates an acidic environment in your stomach. To balance that, minerals like calcium are drawn from your bones which results in weak and brittle bones. Replace some of your red meat with calcium-rich varieties of fish and seafood. 

Quit Smoking/Alcohol: Smoking weakens bones and can lead to osteoporosis. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can contribute to fracture. 

Calcium Supplements: If you are unable to get enough calcium from your diet, then calcium supplements are an alternative. Although they are not as good as natural sources and should be only used as supplements and not as a primary source. Calcium supplements are available in tablets, powders, liquids, and chewable chocolate. 

Reduce Stress: Cortisol is a hormone produced when your body is under stress and causes calcium to be pulled from the bones. Try meditation exercises to reduce stress from daily lives. 

Increase fruit intake: Bananas are extremely rich in potassium and calcium. Kiwis are another great fruit that helps your bones grow stronger. Dried plums or prunes increase calcium absorption and help in preventing common orthopedic problem. 

Add B-complex vitamins to your diet: Your body also uses a variety of B vitamins in bone building, particularly folate and vitamin B6. A recently published study showed that when serum (the clear liquid part of coagulated blood) levels of vitamin B6 and folate are low, bones change and become weak. The best sources are liver, eggs, lean meats, yeast, fish, asparagus, beans (like kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils), raw nuts, spinach, broccoli and bananas. 

Get exercise: You need to start regular exercise program. Exercises that put extra pressure on specific bones stimulate your bones and help keep them strong. This type of exercise not only includes lifting weights, but also anything that involves impact (bearing your own body weight) like running, walking, dancing, etc. If you have a health condition or are new to exercise, talk to your doctor and make sure the workout you choose is safe for you.

Note: as to pressure in bone breakage it all depends on the bone as well because 25#’s minimum applies to some of the smaller bones. 

Note II: Actually, practice of tameshiwara with such as the makiwara along with structure, alignment and muscle strength through repetitive practice to develop calloused knuckles along with the physiokinetic conditioning experienced by the body through such training in combination and interconnectedness is the true way to body condition for tameshiwara, etc. That total of structural integrity is what makes for good breaking rather than any one aspect such as bone density. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Click for large view.

It is noted that there are no examples of athletes bone density that would indicate bone density can achieve greater than normal status due to the athletes greater fitness levels. It would seem that the view of a normal bones density may be the limit. Further research is in order but until then the contributions body conditioning will provide as to bone density for karate and martial art is no more effective than other health and fitness programs, etc. and I would also assume the normal density would prevail as “normal” for all physical activities. 

To assume that body conditioning through tameshiwara and makiwara training to be unreliable or possibly false. It should also be noted as follows:

It can be seen that weight does make boned denser than normal but as stated next, except that once bones are at the normal density and as long as there are not other medical issues affecting bone density there is no indication that the higher density in athletes is from the program or sport they participate in and so on.  

Just because most athletes have higher bone density than ordinary people does not necessarily mean that the sports increased the bone density. Maybe the athletes had higher bone density to start with. How could you prove whether the exercise itself was improving the bone density and bone strength?

Addendum: There are instances recorded of humans with higher than normal bone density but this seems to be an anomaly. Read about that here:

No comments: