Like a saying right out of an old Kung-Fu movie and long passed by in favor of fist or palm attacks throughout the Martial Arts.
This is an older Okinawan Karate training procedure called Nigiri Game (Gripping Jars) pictured here and used specifically to develop gripping strength and finger conditioning. We can readily see this in only a handful of older styles now such as Shorin Ryu, Goju Ryu and Uechi Ryu that still adhere to the old training regimes. This is a classic example of the ancient Martial Arts training more tools and targets than techniques to hone a true self protection system as you are only as good as your tools.
Well the Iron Claw has been around in the older arts for centuries and is one of the 6 Ji (energy hand) positions depicted in the Bubishi (not fictitious or modern adaptions - reality test, if you see a hand position supposedly taught from the Bubishi, look in that book and see if it is correct, if not you are being shown something false). And this type of training was not to simply strengthen your hand strength, but more specifically harden the finger tips by developing tendon, ligament and bone strength more that the muscle strength. This was to increase the penetration of the trained fingers into the spaces between the body structures. as well as protect the joints from dislocation from opponent resistance.
For most modern Martial Artists and athletes the main aim of a strength program is to increase the strength of the muscles. In fact 99% of the fitness and strength training is focused on the muscles and/or the cardiovascular system. But this is like the Yang without the Yin,as true strength must involve the whole body. You must strengthen the connective tissues, joints and even the bones as without this strong base the muscles becoming stronger or making demands on weaker structural support will be susceptible to failure or damage.
The old Martial Arts knew this and why they trained differently today than originally, we modern Martial Artists falsely believe we know better, or our modern times have actually stripped the time from us where training fully is no longer convenient or possible in our schedules. The older styles spent much more time in conditioning as opposed to applicational techniques as the weakest link in conflict is always the self.
Training this method accomplishes a deeper level of strength than typical exercise or muscle contraction and why it it is the more profound method for the Martial Artist. This training stems from the tendons and ligaments out to the muscle as well as to the bone, increasing the strength fully and proportionately. In the training the tendons are thickened, not by creating new tissue, and yield better support for muscles (attached to the skeletal structure). In the thickening (strengthening) process, the bone and joints are also strengthened... for a complete process and body unity.
So how does this really benefit Seizing?
Since Tendon and Ligament conditioning keeps joints strengthened, they also stabilize them so when resistance against a seize are applied joints can withstand the counter action. If for example you seize an opponents arm and they withdraw, extend or somehow try to escape,there will be lateral pressures places on all the corresponding joints in your fingers and hand (in some cases, arms shoulders even legs or neck, depending on size,strength and power exertion in the resistance). This is to be expected and why the tendon training is so crucial to proper and safe application.
Tendons also do not use the same blood or oxygen allowing greater sustained exertion and far less fatigue in use. How valuable would that be in high stress combative application... as opposed to using muscle that makes greater demand on the blood and oxygenation.
Thinking about strength training from a different angle, it is interesting to consider the fact that muscles are attached to tendons and that connective tissue runs parallel to the muscle fibres through the muscle. This means that in many athletic movements the force is produced not just from the muscle contraction but also from a release of elastic energy from the tendon component. Therefore it is useful to think of force production as coming from a ‘muscle tendon unit’ (MTU) working as one system, whose two components may come into effect at different times.
The Vital Point is in the full understanding of human function to increase possibilities and probability. This is real Kyusho Tool Training, not just tricks or gimmicks you often see promoted. Just serious training.
How does this really benefit my Kyusho?
Anytime you need Kyusho, you will need the correct weapon (hand position) to accomplish this. That means deep penetration with smaller bony structures that will not damage yourself in process... that is why these hand weapons were developed and forged. If you use general modern adaptions you will be far less effective in the potential you could have if trained properly. It is not magic folks, it is hard dedicated training... if you hear someone say to just hold your hand in this position and it will make your energy stronger, please really think of that... is that real, do you want to rely on that in urgent conflict??
The benefit of this idea is essential for you to be realistically viable using Kyusho, you must train your tools. For the Iron Claw, you need not work with he training jars, but you must work with the underlying or vital structures of tendon strength. The modern arts or styles are missing this training, simply doing a Kata is not the answer, learning Bunkai or techniques (even with Kyusho) is not the answer, the answer is in proper training... settle for nothing less.
Some training ideas to develop this weapon properly is in the way you grab and hold.
- Use the exact hand position needed, do not alter it.
- Use your finger tips as if penetrating the object held.
- Increase slowly the pressure and demand (as increasing weight with increased pressure pictured above).
- repetitive drills on moving targets to develop timing, distance, accuracy and penetration.
- Escalate to correct manipulations and strength against increasing resistance.
There is more but this is a correct start to correct training with correct weapons... the martial arts is a lifelong journey, not a set of quick gimmick, sorry.
Caution: You must seek qualified instruction as done improperly it can lead to escalated blood pressure, muscle or joint damage.