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As the title suggests, I keep getting hit in the solar plexus and as soon as I get hit, I lose wind and this disarms me completely. I do Kyokushin Karate and they taught us how to "hara" (remove all air from the stomach to harden it) which works, but only for a single blow; for consecutive punches it doesn't help (when I breath in, my stomach goes soft again and that's when they take me down). Any tips or ideas?

How do I reinforce it? I keep doing sit-ups but those haven't really done much for me.

what sort of conditioning do I have to go through?

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The solar plexus is exactly a main goal in martial arts because there are basically no muscles above it that can be trained. The abs begin just below it, but well trained abs help to reduce the area that allows for critical impact there.

The solar plexus (or, correctly, celiac plexus) itself is a point where several nerves meet. A blunt trauma, like a punch, a ball, of just falling on you flat back, can cause these nerves to fire all at once.

The most common physiological consequence is a spasm of the diaphragma, resulting in what is normally described as getting winded.

So while improving core strength, training all the little muscles, and abs helps for hara in general (which just means stomach), there is simply no way besides having a guard and movement to secure this sweet spot. If you are hit there, you will lose some breaths. Overall physical condition and the level of conscious control over the diaphragma (as trained in the sanchin kata, as this beautiful video illustrates) may reduce the time of recovery up to the point that you can continue fighting, but as it is a direct neurological effect, there is no way of avoiding it completely.

Btw. core strength in general is not through crunches (rather than situps), this trains abs. You can look up some exercises for that here. One of the most basic ones is planking. The muscles trained in core training are actually not necessarily the abs, it is rather that training the abs is one part of core training. It is core for a reason.

To sum it up - the wisdom inherited in kata and basic body excercises routinely included in training in okinawan karate (regarding this, the video is worth a watch) is severely underestimated in western training.

  • No its not underestimated anymore, now its getting its recognition, mainly because of mainstream MMA. People who train not only in BJJ but in Karate and Kungfu ahve shown outright competence in MMA and thus the art is being respected. Even in K1 and other organizations. – BeachSamurai May 3 '17 at 5:13
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You don't reinforce it, you protect it. You can take limited steps to lessen the pain associated with striking the area, such as controlled outward breathing and focusing your attention to the hara/dantien/tanden (lower navel area). Such is a point of your kata, if you are properly taught. But that only goes so far: a well-placed strike is going to knock the wind out of you no matter what.

Your solar plexus (and xyphoid process) needs to be well-protected. There is no way to strengthen either.

  • 1
    Good point about the kata; basically one way of consciously controlling the diaphragma and some are probably designed for exactly this purpose (especially sanchin). – Philip Klöcking Jan 19 '17 at 14:00
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    I wish I had better instructors long ago. Too bad many don't cover topics like this! – user6519 Jan 19 '17 at 20:36

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