Martial Arts/Self Defence



I was hoping to ask a newbie question about self defense.  I'm female, aged 34 and not an athelete.

I wanted to know, as I've recently started a class, how you can build up strength to hit the pads, etc.

I see that boxers do 'shadow boxing' so how do martial artists build up their strength to be able to hit something i.e. what is in between shadow boxing (non-contact) and actually hitting a pad (contact) without hurting yourself?

I've done some of the pad work and have already had shoulder pain from a roundhouse punch (rather a slap as I'm doing Krav Maga) and my shoulder now hurts like hell.

I think I need to work up to hitting something and/or build up strength in my body as my body doesn't like it!

How do new people to any martial art/self defense build up their strength?



ANSWER: Hey Lisa, if you're not used to exerting force or making contact with other objects, it's going to be tough at first.

My suggestion is to get stronger. Some kind of fitness activity that builds your arm and shoulder strength would be a great start. Until then, hitting the pads with maximum force is probably a bad idea, as your joints aren't accustomed to the strain. You'll need to back off the power and focus on technique.

Discuss this with your instructor too. I'm sure s/he doesn't want you in pain or possibly injuring yourself.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


Thanks for replying.  I agree, too much too soon.

Do you recommend any particular activity that builds up this kind of strength?

Is there an activity a teacher will typically recommend to be the best activity for building strength for contact with other objects?


I'd focus on building your shoulder/back strength using the first exercise here:

You don't need rings. You can use a bar or a tree branch or whatever. Eventually, work up to full pull-ups.

As for impact, you just need to take the speed power down to a comfortable level. Build that up gradually as you get used to it.


Martial Arts

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Andy Fossett


I can answer most questions relating to the martial arts in general. My special interests relate not only to martial theory, but to training methodology, teaching, sports science, and personal growth through martial arts training. If you are thinking about beginning a martial arts practice or have questions about how to optimize you current training to meet you goals, just let me know.


I have been involved with martial arts for most of my life. Since 1984, I have practiced and taught a martial art called Taido in America and Japan, and have participated in events all over the world. I began assistant teaching as a teenager and founded the Georgia Tech Taido Club in 1996. I have been training actively in Japan since 2003. In addition to Taido, I have previously studied Judo, Brazilian Jiu Jutsu, Shotokan Karate, Kaikudo, and a few other things.

GMB Fitness, Japan Taido Association

Taido/Blog, the Finnish Taido Association's "Kamae" magazine, World Taido Federation Homepage and "Taido Times" magazine, GMB Fitness.

BA Sociology

Awards and Honors
5dan Renshi (5th degree black belt instructor) in Taido.

©2017 All rights reserved.