Wrist Resiliancy

This Forum is a place for students of swordsmanship to ask advice from moderators Paul Champagne & Scott M. Rodell on how to practice test cutting in a manner consistent with how swords were historically used in combat. Readers use this Forum at their own risk.

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Bede Bidlack
Joined:Wed Jan 28, 2004 5:18 pm
Location:Somerville, MA
Wrist Resiliancy

Post by Bede Bidlack » Fri Jun 02, 2006 9:58 am

Recently I strained my wrist pushing. This incident along with seeing some of the pictures of Rodell Laoshi cutting bamboo made me think that my wrists need strengthening.

Naturally, I thought of sword cutting, but I do not have a cutting

sword. I do have a wooden sword for swordplay. I thought of getting some soft, springy bamboo and hitting it. The idea would be like kicking a chain link fence for kicking practice.

Any thoughts? In addition to this and sword solo practice, I could

practice gan (pole/spear), but I would like to work on my sword.



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Linda Heenan
Rank: Chang San feng
Rank: Chang San feng
Joined:Tue Nov 23, 2004 3:58 am

Post by Linda Heenan » Fri Jun 02, 2006 4:03 pm

Before beginning Taijiquan, I was part of a 12th century reenactment group. I have maintained this because of good friends, partners of different styles and weapons, for swordplay, and the nice little exemption card that allows me to own and carry swords even in the one Australian state where they are banned.

This group does exercises to stretch and warm up the wrists and arm ligaments because we fight with heavy steel swords and can easily damage our wrists. The best strengthener I know is to hold a sword (or something of similar proportions), at arm's length and slowly raise it to vertical, then lower it to horizontal, about 25 times. Do the same exercise from one side to the other, dropping not much lower than parallel to the ground, to strengthen the elbows. If there is already some strain, support under the forearm, with the opposite hand. I have just begun to learn a series of arm ligament stretches from Japanese military history, from one of our members.

I have the children in my kids swordsmanship club do exercises to protect their arm ligaments, before any training. The thing is, cutting can hurt wrists, elbows and shoulders very easily, so if there is already slight damage, the cutting may actually make it worse, rather than better. I did enough damage to my elbows with basic cuts work, so that my left arm was unusable for swordsmanship, for almost a year.

One thing that is very important for preventing wrist damage, is a correct grip. If the hand is gripped tightly, even the simplest moulinette type movement, (as for a Pi cut), will strain the wrist. If there is jarring contact, sword to sword, or in cutting something hard, with the grip clenched, rather than held flexibly, the wrists can be strained.

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Strengthening the Wrists

Post by Colin » Thu Jun 08, 2006 8:42 pm

What about push-ups, on the palms, as in push, and on the knuckles as well, maintaining the proper wrist alignment. Or try hitting a heavy bag. If you hit the heavy bag wrap yout wrists, especially starting out.

Good luck.

Marko Kohv
Rank: Wang Yen-nien
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Post by Marko Kohv » Sat Jun 10, 2006 3:11 am

Laoshi has shown in Estonia some wrist strengthening exercises. One that I remember was to prop up against the wall with your knuckles and doing small wrist circles. As your wrists strengthen, you add more bodyweigth by moving futher form the wall, one may also make circles bigger. Also Scott told that Albert (?) injured his wrist somehow and regained the strength by making basically the same wrist circles while holding a short iron bar.

Scott M. Rodell
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Post by Scott M. Rodell » Sat Jun 10, 2006 8:08 am

The first thing your wrist will need is rest. Soft tissue injuries always take a long time to heal, 2 to 3 weeks at least. Then you can begin to strengthen the wrist.

I wouldn't recommend cutting practice as a strengthening exercise. The jarring of impact with the target would only aggravate your injury. As mentioned above, some push ups will help to strengthen the wrist, but I suggest doing them on your fists so that the joint is straighter, with less pressure on the wrist joint. You can also do the sword form(s) nice & slow with a very light sword to slowly re-strengthen the wrist, But the best exercise is most likely the one Marko mentioned above:

Marko Kohv wrote:... One s to prop up against the wall with your knuckles and doing small wrist circles. As your wrists strengthen, you add more bodyweigth by moving futher form the wall...

One detail Marko left out was to put a small towel folded over a couple of times bewteen your first & the wall. Using a towel as a small pad like this provides the give needed to be able to cirlce your wirst. This is probably the best exercice to begin with, or if you have injured your wirst, because you can really, very easily control the amount of pressure on your wrist. Start small & slowly build up.

Bede- when you wrist is mended, now that you have a few years of sword training under your belt, it is time for you to begin cutting practice...

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Re: Wrist Resiliancy

Post by xingyi24 » Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:11 am

I always find the really old threads.

Something that really worked for me, if you have access to a waterhole, is neigong while submerged to the shoulders. It not only gives the mild resistance so that you don't really hurt yourself, but it gives you a better tune on how your mechanics are in motion. The wrists, being generally a weaker joint reap the biggest benefits. Affecting the motion more than I thought it would, don't do this in a river. The current from upstram to downstream messes with everything, even in slow moving rivers.

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J HepworthYoung
Rank: Chang San feng
Rank: Chang San feng
Joined:Fri Jul 28, 2006 12:19 pm

Re: Wrist Resiliancy

Post by J HepworthYoung » Tue Apr 07, 2009 11:34 am

I have been getting a lot of good wrist exercise lately by doing parry to cut/thrust partner drills with sticks.

Also doing liao cuts with steps across a open field and then turning and going back the other way without changing the direction of spin, making the return much like the pi cut, has been very good for my wrists.

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