CHINESE IRON PALM METHOD (GUNG FU)

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Remember, training is not recommended at all for those under 16 years of age. Those individuals under 18 years of age must get permission from a parent or guardian before starting training. Always consult a physician before beginning any exercise program. Train at your own risk. These training methods only reflect personal experience, and Wesler's Karate, Inc. cannot be held responsible for any injury resulting from attempting to train in these techniques.

The iron palm method is the hand conditioning regimen that I prefer. I enjoy the set schedule for training, the relaxed method, and most of all, the speedy results. I also prefer this method because it trains the palm heart, or the flat of the palm. In my opinion, the flat palm slap is the trademark strike of fighting gung fu. Iron palm is the essence of the gung fu of legend, not the watered down version that so many modern practitioners bring to fights, only to be crushed.

There is no mistaking an iron palm slap for boxing, karate, or mindless street brawling. As for its application in tameshiwari, the iron palm is unrivaled when it comes to breaking solid objects. Though you might be inclined to think otherwise, it is much easier to break a brick with the iron palm than it is with a punch, chop, hammerfist, or palm heel strike. I know this from experience. Iron palm is also noted for its capability of breaking the bottom brick in a stack without spacers. Such a practice is known as selective breaking.

Ku Yu Cheong, one of the most famous masters of iron palm, reportedly could break bricks selectively in a stack. Iron palm falls short only when it comes to breaking flexible objects (wood, baseball bats) and objects with spacers. I explain it to people with this example- the palm slap can move anything it strikes one half an inch. Since cement cannot flex, it breaks. If the object, such as wood, can flex farther than that, it will not break. This is only an exaggerated example mind you, and only an example of my personal theory at that. As for spacers, the palm has difficulty sending energy through "hollow" area.

There are many variations of the iron palm conditioning process and each usually has a set amount of time for the initial phase. During this first phase, training must be done daily. After that, maintenance training varies. The first phase ranges anywhere from one month to three years or more. There are also advanced levels of the iron palm as well as internal and external conditioning.

The regimen I use is a variation of the traditional 100 day method and combines both internal and external training. This method produced good results for me in minimal time. Many others have also reported favorable results. I will honestly tell you that 100 days is not enough time to produce an invincible palm, but it will create a hand that is dangerous enough for combat, as well as allow you to break red bricks. This regimen conditions the entire hand.

Train at your own risk. I do not recommend training for those under 16 years of age.

Materials Needed:
-10" wide x 24" long (or larger) canvas bag
-approx. 1" round river rocks (enough to fill the bag half way)
-old towel
-cinder blocks (support stand)
-dit da jow

The method is as follows:

Set up the cinder blocks so that you can sit on one and the other(s) create a stand in front of you that is about the height of your naval (while seated). If the surface of your stand is not level due to the shape of the cinder block, you may have to lay an additional concrete slab on the top for a nice flat surface. Place the towel (in single layer) over the support stand. This is your striking surface.

Fill the canvas bag with the rocks and fold the remaining half of the bag over to create a side that is double layered. Tape the bag shut (masking or duct tape will do). Place the bag on the stand and your simple setup is complete.

**When striking for training, it is important to stay relaxed and allow your hand to drop onto the surface.
Do not tense the arm or shoulder, or exert strength while striking. Always breath out as you strike. Exerting strength or failing to breath out is said to stress the heart. Granted, thousands of karateka pound on the makiwara without regard to this and still do not suffer heart attacks. Even so, I choose not to tempt fate and try to keep my arm relaxed as possible. You do what you like at your own risk.

Apply dit da jow to hands and massage before and after each set

PART ONE

1. Drop your flat palm on the bag 30 times, shake out the hand, strike another 20 times, shake out the hand and flex.

2. Drop your knife hand on the bag 30 times, shake, 20 times, shake and flex.

3. Repeat for the palm heel surface.

4. Repeat for the back of the hand.

 

PART TWO

Remove the bag so that you are now striking the cement/cinder support covered with the towel.

1. Drop your knife hand 30 times, shake, 20 times, shake and flex.

2. Repeat with the palm heel.

3. Repeat with the flat palm.

4. (optional) Strike with backfist 30 times and repeat with straight fist.

 

Optional training:

You can supplement with a bucket of sand. Straight punch the sand 30 times and repeat with the backfist. Do 100 spearhand thrusts into the sand. You can also rub the sand between you hands to toughen the skin.

Some iron palm practitioners feel that it is unwise to train the knuckles of the fist because of possible long term joint damage. This is fine for strict iron palm fighters, but if you train in any fist striking art, it may be wise to strengthen your knuckles. Chinese acupressure teaches that training the fingertips can weaken the eyes. Take this into consideration when training spearhand but also realize that plenty of karate stylists train fingertips and can see just fine.

Different teachers advocate different numbers of strikes per session. Some use hundreds or even thousands of repetitions. Some say to train three times a day, others say you must train the exact same time everyday without missing a day. Maybe these routines are ideal, but with the method I outlined above, you can train whenever and even miss a day or two. The less days you miss, the better it will be for you. You should achieve impressive results after 100 days of training. At that point, you should be able to break a single patio block with a flat palm slap (use a towel padding at first).

If it helps, mark the days off on your calendar. If you don't keep a record, you may not be training as often as you think. Good Luck!

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