The chishi or stone lever weight is a simple but effective piece of equipment which can be used to develop individual muscles or sets of muscles. The weight of the ‘stone’ can vary to suit the requirements and capability of the user but the design never changes, the majority having a 35mm to 50mm diameter handle demanding a firmer grip which in turn develops extra strength in the hands and fingers, ideal for grappling and close quarter combat such as grabbing, pulling and tearing actions or arm bars and trapping techniques. Chishi in the above image weighs 15 lbs or 7 kgs.

Chishi exercises incorporate a wide range of circular movements, rotating the shoulders, elbows and wrist with constant resistance throughout. This equipment is beneficial for all types of martial arts practice, offering strength and conditioning to the body that cannot easily be obtained using barbells and dumbbells in the conventional linear manner. When using the chishi, the arms, shoulders, elbows and wrists are exercised through the entire range of motion allowed, thus adding support and strength to the joints.

The flowing circular motions with the chishi can be performed in a relaxed manner deliberately letting the weight swing in a controlled action when force is not needed, and bringing the muscles into use at the precise moment required in lifting, pulling, rotating, or holding the stone during the exercise. A combination of these movements used together with a change of pace in the same set of exercises, encourages a balance of movement and resistance. At the same time a deliberate breathing pattern is followed, breathing in on the pendulum type movements, requiring little physical effort, and breathing out sharply at the end of harder movements, as with a block, kick, punch or strike.

Through these movements there can be precise moments of muscular contraction where the equipment is stopped on excursion or out breath, and held for 1-2 seconds, thus letting the body, skeleton, muscles and tendons bear the resistance to the weight, to create all around strength. With the Chishi there are a wide range of exercises available, as well as a variety of different sized stones that can be used, but the real benefit is that whatever age you are, or stage you are at, you can train the body using weights that are suitable for yourself, enabling you to continue into old age.

Examples of the various exercises performed with the Chishi can be found in the book 'Fighting Strength - Effective Power Training for Combat' available from Mona Books at: