Traditional martial arts instructors often frown on strength training (or at least the version of it that most often practice in the West), and my own teacher GM Sam Chin is no exception, however, one type of strength and strength training revered by almost all martial artists is grip strength!
When it comes to "lifting weights" even GM Sam Chin is in favor of training the grip.
Your feet are how you connect to the ground to generate power (not including ground fighting like jiu-jitsu), but the hands are how you connect to your opponent, or to a weapon to apply power.
In addition to training with heavy weapons like long spears and poles, maces and swords, traditional martial arts often used additional grip training methods like "gripping jars" called nigiri game by practitioners of karate and the stone locks of China (similar to kettlebells) to develop multiple aspects of grip strength like crushing and pinching strength.
Most traditional martial arts emphasize four categories of techniques: striking, kicking, wrestling and grappling which involves grabbing the opponent's limbs and essentially "bending and twisting" to either dislocate a joint or break bone. All wrestling and grappling require maximum grip strength to be effective.
In more modern times, scientists have even discovered that grip strength is an excellent indicator of your overall health: many studies, like the PURE study, have shown that grip strength is a better indicator of your risk of death in the following 10-12 years than biomarkers like blood pressure!
Whether you want to be an effective martial artist, or just want to be lean, strong and healthy, train your hands!
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