The Art of Punching Things Really Hard
Raoh punches things. Raoh punches things hard. Raoh punches things very hard. Raoh’s name should really be Punchoh.
I hope you’re getting my message here.
We talked about building up our punches with Little Mac’s skills, but that was part technique, part speed, and part power. I definitely recommend you check out that post in addition to this one, because there’s a large part of technique involved in punching correctly. However, we’re not too worried about that right now. Our goal is to turn your fists into cinder blocks.
While there are a lot of flurries of punching in the fights on Fist of the North Star, the underlying concept is the Okinawan idea of “ikken hissatsu,” or “one blow, one kill.” Raoh even mentions to Kenshiro that all of their other techniques have become useless at the pinnacle of their skill, and the fight is decided by a single blow.
In order to train ourselves in the traditional manner, we’re going to need a traditional makiwara in addition to a heavy bag. Makiwara are a traditional Okinawan training implement, used to develop striking power as well as desensitize the knuckles and strengthen the hand. Here’s some instructions on how to build your own makiwara.
Once your makiwara is built, you need to begin training with it. It’s important to note that your makiwara should move and have some “give” to it when you’re striking. A makiwara that stands like a stone is just going to damage your fists. It’s also important to note that the idea behind the makiwara is not to build up calluses on your knuckles, it’s to develop punching power through hitting a semi-rigid target. In fact, I’d recommend you lotion your knuckles regularly to keep from developing heavy calluses, as they can inhibit flexibility and movement, and they also make it easier to tear the skin around them.
I’d recommend working the makiwara at least every day. Practice your strikes on the pad, particularly your punches, and work on technique, and following through your strike. The makiwara reacts differently than a heavy bag, so working the two in conjunction helps to develop different areas of your striking proficiency. The makiwara’s main focus is follow-through, which is why it needs to have some give to it. It will react more like a human body than a heavy bag will, and as such, will train your body to react properly when striking someone.
When you begin makiwara training, you should not be punching full strength. Instead, you should be somewhere between 50-75%, in order to begin to train your joints and bones to handle the shock of the strike. Gradually build yourself up to where you’re throwing at 85-90% of your full strength. Honestly, going full power on a makiwara is actually not the best way to train. You’re much better off working your full power strikes with your heavy bag.
This, in addition to The Raoh Workout regimen, should gradually give you enough power in your punches to knock out a brahma bull.
A Legendary Commander
Raoh initially takes the title of “Ken-Oh,” or “Fist King” during his conquests. The name, like his own imposing build, served the purpose of creating a larger than life character for his soldiers to follow and his enemies to whisper. Appearances and legends can mean a lot when trying to lead people. Many leaders throughout history have allowed legends and stories to spread about them (both good and bad) to increase their notoriety. Sometimes they even start them themselves.
In order to inspire stories about yourself, first you need to do things worth talking about. These can be feats of great kindness, strength, or impressive skills. The important thing is that you need to demonstrate these things amongst people who will spread the word. In the marketing world, they’re called “cheerleaders,” in the real world, we might call them gossipers, or just social butterflies. You probably know a few. Doing something worth talking about, among people that like to talk, is the best way to begin inspiring your own personal legend.
Richard Branson is a master at this type of personal marketing. Among other things, he’s driven a tank down fifth avenue in NYC, drove across the English channel in an amphibious car while wearing a tuxedo, and drank champagne while rappelling down the side of a newly opened spaceport. Seriously, look the guy up, he’s done a LOT more ridiculous stuff in his life and he’s also got some fantastic views on life, the universe, and everything. Worth looking into.
So, if you want to spread your own legend to begin leading and inspiring those around you, you need to decide on what you’re going to do that’s worth talking about. Once you’ve done that, you need to put your plans into action. The world is your oyster right now, in that respect. Due to the advent of the internet, social networks, and Youtube, your name and your deeds can reach more people faster than ever before in human history. Do something worth noting and get it out there, and you have no idea what sort of legend you can build for yourself.
While Raoh eventually rejects the title of “Ken-Oh,” his legend has already been developed, and it’s out of his hands. The danger and beauty of building your own legend is that eventually, it grows beyond your own control. It’s no longer fully yours. Even in his final battle with Kenshiro, his own troops still called him “Ken-Oh,” though his younger brother proved himself as the true master of the fist. They say a person only truly dies when their name is uttered for the last time. Pick your name well, and spread it through the world. Don’t focus on finding out who you are, instead, focus on creating who you are.
Live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome.
Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace