Hojo Undo are strength training & conditioning exercises used in some Japanese & Okinawan martial arts, especially by more traditional Karate schools. Hojo Undo is also known as “Supplementary Exercises” or “Supplementary Training”. Hojo Undo exercises use specialized equipment such as stone hand weights and gripping jars.
Hojo Undo exercises are used to improve kicking power, punching power, speed, coordination, etc. Unlike traditional weight lifting, most Hojo Undo exercises do not focus on a single muscle group (i.e. lifting dumbbells to increase your biceps). Instead, many of Hojo Undo exercises (i.e. the swinging of Chi Ishi) are designed to enhance the natural body movements used in martial arts training. For example, some Hoju Undo exercises work on strengthening the motion and muscles used in a punch. This type of training is similar to modern “functional” strength routines such as medicine ball workouts and kettlebell workouts.
All stretches and exercises should be supervised by a trained martial arts instructor in order to prevent injuries and to ensure the proper technique is utilized. If you have had an injury or are in pain, please see a doctor before starting any stretching or exercise program. For additional stretches and exercises, please visit the main Martial Arts Physical Fitness section.
List of Hojo Undo Training Equipment
- Chi Ishi – Stone weighted training tools for upper body conditioning.
- Ishi – A large rock that was carried around in order to build strength and conditioning.
- Ishi Sashi – Stone or concrete hand weights.
- Jari Bako – This Japanese training tool uses a bucket filled with sand to condition fingers and hands.
- Kakite Bikei – Blocking post with movable arm.
- Kongoken – A large heavy iron ring used for full body strength training and conditioning.
- Makiage Kigu (Wrist Roller) – Weighted rope used to build hand, wrist and forearm strength.
- Makiwara (Striking Post) – A striking post which provides progressive resistance.
- Nigiri Game (Gripping Jars) – Gripping jars used to develop palm and finger strength.
- Suburito – Also known as the Suburi Bokken, an extra heavy wooden practice sword for building arm and shoulder strength.
- Sunabukuro – Similar to modern day heavy bags.
- Taketaba – Bundle of bamboo used for finger strikes, etc.
- Tan – Barbell with wooden handle.
- Tanren Bo – The Tanren Bo is a wooden device used ‘solely’ for conditioning the wrists and arms.
- Tetsu Geta (Iron Sandals) – A Karate training tool known as “Iron Sandals” or “Iron Clogs” used to strengthen the legs and develop kicking power.
- Tetsu Wa (Iron Bracelets) – These are iron weights that are worn on a student’s wrist to build arm and shoulder strength.
- Ude Makiwara – Round version of the Makiwara striking post.
Demonstration of Hojo Undo Training
Hojo Undo – Makiwara
Hojo Undo Image provided by Wikimedia Commons