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Physical conditioning in martial arts

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Physical conditioning in martial arts means conditioning the body for the purposes of martial arts.

In martial arts, the mind, body, emotions, and the spirit are inextricably intertwined, and if any one of them is trained, then the others also get trained simultaneously to varying degrees. This simultaneous training may be broadly termed as “conditioning” in martial arts; however, if the body is primarily focused for training, then it might be known as “physical conditioning”.

Muscle Madness video “Real U.S. Marine with Crazy Skills – Michael Eckert | Muscle Madness”:

Why undertake physical conditioning?

Physical conditioning may be undertaken to gain several benefits, including increase in cardio and muscular endurance, strength, stamina, and balance.

Slidis Mode video “Greek Commando Extreme Workout / Slidismode”:

Another benefit is that with a conditioned body, a martial artist can execute attack and defense techniques much more effectively, as the conditioned body parts can serve as weapons.

Chuck Johnson video “36 weapons of the human body”:

Rakesh konde video “Human weapon All in One”:

Another important benefit of physical conditioning is that it helps to prevent injuries. To continue uninterrupted practice of martial arts, a martial artist needs to avoid injuries. A conditioned body part can withstand extreme violence and thereby, successfully resist injury.

Shaolin Kung Fu video “Shaolin Kung Fu Hard body demonstration”:

Methods of physical conditioning

Different martial arts practice different methods of physical conditioning. Among all the numerous methods, the commonality is that the body parts are subjected to stress, strain, trauma, pressure, and resistance, by repeatedly hitting or getting hit by different types of hard surfaces, which may be natural or man-made. The following videos show grandmasters performing physical conditioning.

Martial Arts.Next video “Kote kitae (body conditioning)”:

Okinawa Karate Masters video “Never-seen-before Training Tools | Kobukai Grand Master | Uechi-ryu and Kobudo | Ageshio Japan”:

Alternately, physical conditioning may also be done by different kinds of holding exercises. For example, holding the body in any stance for a particular length of time, results in pressuring the affected body parts, which conditions them without hitting or being hit. The more is the holding duration; the more is the conditioning of the affected body parts. Depending upon the level of skill, the holding time may be from few minutes to few hours. For example, the horse stance is a very effective stance for overall body conditioning. It is practiced in many martial arts like Kung Fu, Wushu, Karate, Taekwon-Do, and others. The following videos show the practice of horse stance in Shaolin Kung Fu and a demonstration by the Wushu world champion Jade Xu.

cleantohot video “Shaolin Kung Fu Training”:

JADE XU video “WUSHU TUTORIAL: Horse Stance”:

Areas of physical conditioning

Physical conditioning in martial arts includes conditioning the following body parts:
—the head parts
—the chest parts
—the abdomen parts
—the pelvis parts
—the extremities parts

Conditioning the head parts

The head parts include all areas from the top of skull upto the neck.

Renato Romero video “Head Conditioning For Martial Arts 🕊”:

Les Bubka Karate Jutsu video “Neck Exercises for Martial Arts”:

Conditioning the chest parts

The chest parts include all areas below the neck and above the abdomen.

Danny Fung video “Advanced Shoulder Endurance Workout for MMA | Muay Thai | Boxing”:

Rob Riches video “Ultimate Chest Conditioning Workout | Rob Riches”:

Conditioning the abdomen parts

The abdomen parts include all areas below the chest and above the pelvis.

Korea Taekwondo Ssang Yong kwan video “Taekwondo core training (태권도 코어 운동)”:

Mark Harkess Taekwondo video “Taekwondo Ab Workout”:

fightTIPS video “The Best Abs Workout You DON’T Wanna Do!”:

Conditioning the pelvis parts

The pelvis parts include all areas below the abdomen and above the thighs.

Physical Therapy 101 video “Basic Hip Strengthening Exercises”:


W1 Taekwondo video “5 Hip Exercises for Martial Artists | At Home Workout”:

Conditioning the extremities parts

Extremities are the limbs, and they include all parts of the arms and legs.

—Arm parts

MrTorend video “Uechi-ryu hand conditioning 2”:

gabehs1 video “Old School Makiwara and Tameshiwari Karate Training”:

Muscle Madness video “Buakaw Strength Training for Muay Thai | Muscle Madness”:

—Leg parts

Karate Dojo waKu video “【Karate Tabata Workout】10 types of leg workout for faster&stronger kicks!”:

TKDCoach Academy video “50 Fun Creative Kicking Exercises – Flexibility | Strength | Balance | Speed | Control |”:

LANNAFIGHTING video “Strong legs exercise Muaythai training”:

Dan Ashby video “Shin Conditioning”:

E3 Rehab video “Foot & Ankle Strengthening & Stretch Exercise Program For Intrinsics, Arch, Athletes and Runners”:


Physical conditioning conditions the body and also conditions the mind, emotion and spirit in varying degrees.  A routine may consist of mental conditioning like maintaining an empty mind; physical conditioning like gaining more strength, balance and skill; emotional conditioning like fusing emotional content in martial techniques; and spiritual conditioning like improving the states of peace, harmony, and awareness, through meditation. Traditional martial arts usually follow such an overall conditioning pattern, which can be seen in the following videos.

Stephen Doyle video “Historic Taekwon-Do Instructional Film (Full video)”:

BUNKAI KARATE video “Karate – Old school training”:

DISCLAIMER: This article is purely for theoretical conceptual purposes only and it in no way solicits, recommends, or instructs any exercise, conditioning or otherwise, mentioned anywhere in the text or shown in any video in this article. You are advised to note that any exercise if done incorrectly, or excessively, or without qualified supervision, may result anywhere from mild to serious forms of injury. You are further advised NOT TO ATTEMPT on your own any exercise mentioned or shown in this article.


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