The Iron Palm skill: second phase
Important – Do not read thi article without having read the indications of the first phase Iron Palm conditioning (for beginners).
As we said, in our and in many other martial arts, is developed a particular type of hand conditioning commonly known as “Iron Palm”.
In our school, even at the basic level, this type of capability requires a long and consistent exercise (1 year to start to see the first changes) but allows those who posses it to:
- Achieve an extremely high impact strength without excessive effort
- Bear the power of impact achieved without suffering injury
- Hide the power of the most devastating attacks (read Advanced concepts: the Persistent Movements)
- Concentrate a big amount of power in a small space (without loadings)
What we need to master the Iron Palm
Iron Palm (as many other advanced skills, read All the skills of 6 Dragons Kung Fu) has not to be seen as a goal to reach but as a process to evolve.
Real Iron Palm is not within the reach of a beginner and the reason is that it is a type of work that:
- On one side, the sooner we start to develop, the better it is (naturally not as children)
- On the other side, it requires a set of sub-abilities that must be acquired
A note by Master Kongling – Learning how to break various types of materials is fun but has nothing to do with martial arts. It is a bit like the case of the muscular strength that is built in the gym: without proper combat education, it cannot be implemented and it is not at our disposal while we fight.
In 6 Dragons Kung Fu, to reach the second stage, we need some rudiments about how to manage:
- Qi (internal energy, read The use of Qi in the 6DKF’s meaning)
- Softness (unstoppable power vehicle, read How to combine softness and power)
- Flexibility (to separate the limb of attack from the target)
The second stage of development of the Iron Palm
As always, the graduality plays a fundamental role:
- Both to gain the best results
- Both to avoid irreparable damage to our hands
Always executing the exercises described in the past tutorial, we have to work on:
- Soft movements – Learn to manage the inteactions with the target involving the entire body in a relaxed but intense release of power (read The path to the soft movements)
- Cleaning the motion – Recognize the more aerodynamic movements, trajectories and positions
- Muscle chain and muscle memory – Absorb the involved muscle chain (read Use the body power: the muscle chain), adding it to our muscle memory (read The muscle memory); doing this it is important to focus on the general dynamics and not on the single movement otherwise we will never be able to implement it in combat
- Persistent movements – Perform the same movements against mobile obstacles gradually harder to move (eg. overcoming the oscillation of a boxing bag)
- Balancing the times of practice – Listen specifically to our body to choose the right resting and the recovery times
- Qi feeling – Perform the movements imagining moving the Qi within the body; it doesn’t matter whether we believe it or not, imagining an energy moving inside us and under our control is the best way to learn to manage our flow
- Qi implementation – Perform the movement by effectively moving the Qi within the body (each time better); we will be at this level when we will start to notice the difference between a blow with and one without the Qi
- Testing – Without doing dangerous or foolish things, gently hit flatten objects of various consistency to check the effectiveness of the practice and see the changes
A note by Master Kongling – This is our path, it is complex, hard and there are no tricks or shortcuts, it is all about consistent and constant training: nothing more, nothing less.
- In 6 Dragons Kung Fu we are very keen not to show at a glance the fact that we are conditioned, so we want to preserve “intact” the outer appearence of skin of our hands
- We do not want to damage our palm because the touch sensitivity is extremely important, both as in daily life, as in combat (and even for various other skills that we have to achieve)
- Although (with the time) it naturally happens, we do not train to gain exceptional abilities to do things like breaking objects or to execute similar types of exhibitions (this is not our focus); our focus is always the effectiveness in combat
In the next article of this series we will see the third step of development of the Iron Palm.
In-depth video courses
- Diamond Finger conditioning – A course about the development of another advanced skill
- Hand grip strength conditioning – How to empower the strength of our grip
- Conditioning check for the impact – What does it means to be a real practitioner in terms of conditioning
- The right age to start practice – When and why it is good to start a Kung Fu martial path
Reply in the comments and share your experience:
- In your opinion, what is the most difficult part of this phase?
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.
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