John Wick 4’s New Training Tool Secretly Reveals The Sequel’s Dark Story

John Wick’s punching post in John Wick: Chapter 4 is a traditional training tool that also reflects John’s story. John Wick 4 debuted its first teaser trailer, including looks at martial artists like Donnie Yen and Hiroyuki Sanada, for 2022’s San Diego Comic-Con. Not only did the teaser showcase the incredible action and martial arts audiences associate with the series, but it also showed John training his punches on a tool that many martial arts practitioners will instantly recognize.

The tool John is punching in the teaser is called a makiwara, which is a padded post used to train punching techniques in many schools of karate. The design of the makiwara is crafted to provide resistance to the puncher, with the makiwara rebounding into its straight position after taking each strike. This design enables the karate practitioner to strengthen their punches, while it can also be used for kicks, knees, and elbows.

With his makiwara wrapped in rope and the power John puts into his strikes, there is also a fairly sizeable patch of blood from John’s punches. Interestingly, with the John Wick movies being full of martial arts, the makiwara also is very reflective of what John’s life has been like since he came out of retirement. The makiwara represents the constant opposing force John finds himself fighting against.

The Makiwara Reveals John Wick’s Strength (& That Of His Enemies)

The design of the makiwara is emblematic of the kind of opposition John has consistently faced throughout the series, one in which John is able to hold his own just as his opponent spring back at him like the makiwara. As soon as John embarked on his mission to avenge the killing of his dog in the first John Wick, he has been beset with a non-stop onslaught of enemies from all sides. That attack ramped up in John Wick: Chapter 2 and even more so once John was on the run in John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum.

With John and the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) facing the High Table in John Wick 4, their enemies are sure to only continue coming. The makiwara, coated in the blood of John’s knuckles from repeated punches just as his battles are, captures the ongoing challenge even an assassin as legendary as John faces. For every strike he gives, John has not managed to escape his continuous battle with one opponent after another.

The makiwara’s inclusion in John Wick 4 shows a side of John’s training that draws from traditional Japanese martial arts, and likely from director Chad Stahelski’s own extensive martial arts experience. The makiwara itself is also a storytelling tool as much as a training one in John Wick: Chapter 4, showing the Baba Yaga’s continuous battle to defeat constantly charging and rebounding enemies, John Wick occasionally team-up with his friends to do so. It could end up being that John can only win by finally “breaking” the High Table and its many assassins that the makiwara is a physical stand-in for.

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