The “makiwara” is an upstanding striking board of certain dimensions and flexibility. It is embedded in its base and free at the top. The upper end is surrounded by a thick leather covering or by a piece of rice rope. The dimensions of the “makiwara” are such that when striking its upper end it will bend absorbing the power of the blow. We know that all action is counteracted by a reaction of the same magnitude and contrary direction. The “makiwara” will thus transmit to our body the same power, but in the contrary direction. With each impact the muscles absorb power, the connecting tissues are strengthened, the hands are trained, the mind focuses, the sight-hand connection becomes more precise and the desire to generate power also increases. Ultimately, we are contributing to increase the “atemi” or concentrated destructive power. Through “makiwara” practice we improve our technique and get a better understanding of our blows. After a first stage it will become evident that there is little to gain by confronting a “makiwara” to simply hit it. Better results are obtained if we use this equipment intelligently and put emphasis on improving our general performance and not only on increasing our “atemi”. At the beginning we will try to concentrate all our energy on a focus or point of impact. The objective is that with time, the focus, the “makiwara” and our own being become one (without perceivable differences).
A by-product of the practice of “makiwara” is the “tameshiwari”: demonstration of the power developed through training by breaking tiles, pieces of wood, etc. Through this demonstration, it is possible to appreciate the power and concentration of energy developed by the karateca through practice in general and the “makiwara” in particular. It must be pointed out that “tameshiwari” is not an objective in itself within the practice of Matsubayashi-ryu.