Bone Conditioning in Martial Arts (BMC)©
You can be the most skilled fighter in the world,
but throwing a punch hurts, and will always hurt
Why BMC in your training? Preparing body in mass, speed, stretching, technical skills and cardio endurance is pointless if your training is not focused on being able to resist the pain that comes from impact. Does not matter whether this pain comes from defending or attacking: both situations lead to local distress that can jeopardize a fight, and making your sparring sessions continuously distracted by it.
What is BMC exactly? BMC© is the acronym for Bone and Muscle Conditioning (BMC©). It is an essential part of martial training because it aims at making the whole body less sensitive to (virtually) any kind of impact.
BMC© are specific exercises, involving both muscles and bones, that aim at making the body of a martial athlete used to pain*. BMC© routines includes virtually all possible body parts that are exposed to severe and continuous impact in Martial Arts application, primarily sparring, and regardless of the style being practiced.
*BMC© does not aim at making an thlete invincible, but only less lensitive to pain, as everybody knows how pain is too often responsible of jeopardizing the outcome of a match: the mind, in fact, is constantly fighting between focusing on building a strategy in a fight, and “preserving the integrity of the castle”:
just like in a real siege, if defending troops are affected by continuous hits, their spirit is affected, hence their ability to focus.
Basic BMC training starts with sand filling. Then you have two options: increase the striking power, or forgetting the bag and striking directly on wood. Remember that some fabric is always necessary regardless of the surface you choose to impact onto, until you skin becomes so hard and conditioned that you can forget that layer of fabric as well.
Where does the term BMC come from? The term was introduced for the first time into the modern martial arts terminology in 2013 by Shifu Fabio Zambelli, with the objective of framing all bone and muscle conditioning exercises within a specific routine. BMC© is now officially part of the Shunlian Shenghuo Kungfu Academy‘s training program, and it’s considered one of the eight essential skills a students is asked to master in order to pass the 3+2 martial curriculum.
BMC for your Shins: how to condition your shins properly
The routine shown in the above video yes can be performed by a beginner, as long as all tools used to perform each exercise are first covered with a layer of soft material, such as rubber or sponge. Intensity and hardness of hitting can be gradually be increased until bones get used to this first B.M.C. level, then soft material can be safely removed and wooden tools can be used just as bare as shown in this video, taking care of always starting gradually. You can skip the "rubber tools" part by just hitting a heavy bag: this is also a good method to start conditioning your shins.
We recommend dedicating two sessions of shin conditioning per week. Each session no longer than 20-25 minutes.
More and longer sessions might make your shins numb or tingling, but this still depends on factors like your past training, the intensity of your sessions, and whether you can deal with pain or not.
Yes, you can always use padded sticks (made of thin foam, rubber or fabric) if you think it's too painful. When your shins get used to pain, then you can switch to bare wood and hitting harder.
Every form of training is revertible
: you need to keep going to achieve results. It would be everyone's dream if one sporadic training session could keep its benefits all life long. After all, Perseverance
is the only thing drawing a line between amateurs and professionals. It involves strong mind-set
, but if you are motivated, nothing will stop you. For this particular shin-conditioning exercise-set, consider that one-week break is already too much. Two-three weeks would be like starting from scratch.
...you can train as hard as you can, but if your lower leg and ankles are thin by nature (like mine) there's no chance they can resist a strong impact, no matter how big your calves are.
If you body frame, and allegedly your bones, are naturally big, B.M.C. exercises would make your shins just as strong like two bats: believe me, you have a gift. However, if your lower leg is thin like mine, I honestly wouldn't search for that hit, conscious of the limitation of my bone structure. B.M.C. is great for the fighter to resist a block, to be able not to get distracted by pain, and to increase confidence, but honestly trying to hit something bigger means just searching for troubles. A toothpick can be painted with as many coats as you want: you are building layers of material to prevent it to get scratched, but remember that it will always be a toothpick...
In a routine like the one shown in the video, assuming that the Athlete has been performing the exercise for at least a month and in the right way, gradually for his or her own level, and without creating local bruises for hitting too hard to "see what happens", two to three days are a good cool-down period for the shins to heal. Keep in mind that the first time you attempt to perform this exercise, also considering your age, fitness level and frame, your shins may require up to a week to be ready for another drill.
My best advice is to never forget to clap your shins at the end of each session, and gently massage the area you have hit to smooth out local bruises: the most important reason of this practice is to allow more blood to flow for your legs to heal faster. If you skip this passage, you will have bruises next day, and conditioning your shins will be too painful next time
Where do BMC principles originate from? Bone conditioning exercises have been fine-tuned for centuries in Shaolin Kungfu training as part of a daily mantra, but we have to make clear the fact that, even if BMC© may be seen as a specific routine developed mainly for bone conditioning in martial arts, it is also an extremely efficient practice when targeting muscles with the purpose of hardening them like rock.
Yes it hurts… It is a very painful workout, let’s face it, but following the motto “adaptation is the key to evolution”, your body – and your brain – will become accustomed to these continuous and voluntary grueling routines: it just takes time, like everything; and just like everything, if you stop practicing it for longer than a week, you have to start (almost) from scratch.
A merciless teacher for your Mind. By training the body to be less sensitive to the pain caused by any sort of strike, you will certainly focus much more on your next move, and not on your agonizing leg. For this purpose, the advantages of BMC© can be considered comprehensive only when combined with a proper Hard Qigong training, so this is where BMC© can be considered learned and embraced in full.
Compared to Fitness training, BMC© requires far more perseverance and consistency in training since it is difficult for the body to become acclimatized to the pain, but not that difficult to lose the level so painfully reached. If you are committed, if you persevere and combine it with Hard Qigong, you will certainly be able to grasp one of the secrets of Shaolin Monks training.
Bone Conditioning in Martial Arts is an indisputable aspect for full contact sports such as Kick Boxing, Muay Thai, MMA and for all Martial Athletes planning to train everyday.