When most people think of recent Iron Palm Masters the only person who comes to mind is Lee Ying Arng the author of “Iron Palm in 100 days”. Of course we all know the legend of Ku Yu Cheung also called Ru Gu Zhang in Mandarin. But somebody who has gone under the radar is Sifu James McNeil. Sifu McNeil is really a legend in his own right, for years he has instructed his students at his Little Nine Heaven Taoist Institute in various styles of Kung Fu and of course Iron Palm techniques. Sifu McNeil has demonstrated over the years similar techniques and power as the legend himself Ku Yu Chueng.
This article will cover some of Sifu McNeils training methods, out of the hundreds of different methods taught these six methods will help you achieve hands of stone in 100 days. A big part of most external martial arts is the toughening and strengthening of ones bones, ligaments, skin and muscles of the hands. breaking boards, bricks, coconuts are the traditional ways of showing ones development in Iron Palm.
This started in the Shaolin Temple and was referred to as Iron Hand since the whole hand was conditioned for striking. The definition of Iron hand is a properly conditioned hand which can become hard like iron and create tremendous power. Iron Palm really means using the palm for your strikes where Iron Hand is strikes with all parts of the hand.
The following are the various parts of the hand that are conditioned and their purpose.
The Fingertips– Poking, Dotting and Spotting.
The Finger joints– Holding, Hooking, Sticking or Striking.
The Back of the palm – Holding, Sticking, Catching, and Striking.
Heart of the palm – Slapping, Sticking and Catching.
Edge of the palm – Splitting,Pushing, Hooking, Sticking and Chopping.
Heel of the palm – Striking, Pressing, Sticking.
Wrist – Striking, Sticking, Pressing, Hooking and Slapping.
Mastering Iron Hand takes years of diligent training but one can achieve tremendous power in 100 days by following the methods outlined in this article . It is best to find a qualified teacher to instruct you, this will speed your progress and insure the techniques are done properly to avoid serious injury.
This is not something you can do overnight and besides the physical part of training there are meditation techniques, Tai Chi Chuan and Qi Gong exercises that must be done to help with the movement, the creation and the flow of Qi. Ku Yu Cheung practiced Tai Chi Chuan as much as he did his external arts to create a balance in his training.
From the very beginning of training one must use the proper liniments like Dit Da Jow and Iron Palm, this prevents the hand from becoming disfigured, the continuous striking causes the blood to stagnate which blocks Qi and then this can affect other vital organs from the blood stagnation causing harm. You can use the Ku yu Cheung Iron Palm/Dit Da Jow for all of this type of training also.
One must properly massage in these liniments prior to striking to enhance Qi movement and prevent internal injuries. The Taoists believed in preserving the hands and not destroying them, if no liniment is used you run the risk of internal hemorrhaging and possible permanent damage. Many practitioners have ruined there hands by not using the liniments.
For serious practitioners it was not unheard of to apply the Dit Da Jow and Iron Palm liniment three times in the beginning the middle and the end of training.
Iron Hand training is broken down in three segments. First is strengthening the hand, second is breathing and the third is the method of striking.
The first method in Sifu McNeils Iron Hand Training is to stand in water up to your middle thighs and strike into the water daily, the key is not to stop until your shoulders are to tired to let you strike, you want to feel a burn. When striking the water you should make the water rise and splash like the shape of a opening flower.
The second method is to take a large round pan approximately 16″ across filled with herbs, sand and pebbles placed over a low fire. Then standing over the pan start using a combination of striking, grabbing and mixing with your bare hands into the for about one hour.
As time progresses the pan becomes hotter and hotter which in turn you strike, grab and mix faster and faster. After one hour you must rub your hands with Iron Palm Liniment. This method brings heat and energy to the hands which over time stores this heat and energy in your hands just like a battery that was charged.
The third method is similar to the second but this time the pan is filled with herbs and water and placed over a low fire.The hands then are placed in the pan and using special breathing techniques they stir the herbs in the hot water for twenty minutes, after twenty minutes then the hands are thrust into a container of mung beans working ones way up to iron pebbles.
After twenty minutes of striking with both hands you return to the pan with the herbs and water over a low fire and repeat twenty minutes of stirring with both hands. You can use the Shou Zu Jin Piao for this as this soak is very powerful.
The fourth method is called the slapping method which one can see very good results in 100 days. In relaxed smooth motion slap a iron palm training bag filled with mung beans.The whole hand must be used, the palm, the ridge, the back and the fist. Start with 50 hits with each hand then the next day increase to 75 hits with each hand, then increase to a hundred, keep increasing by 25 each day for 100 days. This is to be done morning and evening.
The fifth method requires you to strike the back of your hands with a iron plate, you must start with light strikes to each hand and working your way to harder strikes. Caution must used so you do not injure yourself, this is best done with a qualified instructor. 25 strikes per each hand increasing by 25 strikes each day for 100 days.
Do not forget to apply plenty of Dit Da Jow and Iron Palm before you start the fourth and fifth methods and always finish by applying the same. Apply the Iron Palm first then apply the Dit Da Jow after. If you are using the Ku Yu Cheung Iron Palm/Dit Da Jow formula then you just need to apply this before and after.
The sixth method is different exercises to increase speed, hand, back, shoulder and arm strength. The first exercise is to improve the back fist speed and power, this is done by throwing stones with a backhand slapping motion similar to throwing a Frisbee. Don’t worry about accuracy, just throw as hard as you can 50 times each hand, always warm up properly before attempting this.
Doing conventional pushups on your palms then your knuckles and fingertips increases upper body strength like nothing else. Hanging from a tree limb or pullup bar and swinging slightly for as long as you can is another great exercise. The last exercise is to fill a wide mouth jar with sand and carry it with your fingertips for as long as you can, adding sand to increase the weight and using a wider mouth jar so your fingers are stretched out This increases the strength in the hand and develops the sinew.
Finally a true Iron Hand practitioner knows breathing is a integral part of his or her training, so practicing breathing exercises is very important. Two important exercises to improve the energy flow to your hands are as follows.
To enhance the following breathing exercises apply Dit Da Jow to your hands.
Standing with your feet about shoulder width apart and your hands in front of you waist high and the fingertips pointing at each other about 3 inches apart, inhale as you concentrate all your energy into your hands. Bring your hands up to your shoulders so your elbows are horizontal and perpendicular to the floor and then exhale as you compress all the energy into your hands as you push them forward like you are pushing somebody,do this three times.
In the same position as above with your hands hanging at your sides inhale as you concentrate all the energy into your hands as you bring the palms straight up with your fingertips pointing toward the ground then exhale as you push your hands straight down with your palms facing the floor. This is done 3 times.
There are plenty of other breathing exercises in Qi Gong that can be utilized, ask your instructor or study some Qi Gong videos. Proper breathing techniques are essential for proper Qi development and should not be taken lightly.
A Iron Palm or Iron Hand Master can utilize hard and soft techniques in one blazing fast motion. A technique that was practiced to show this was to take a wooden barrel that had the skin of a animal stretched across it and secured tight. Inside the barrel was a tomato or other soft fruit. The Iron Hand Master would thrust his hand thru the skin and grab and remove the tomato without damaging it, this was all done with lightening speed.
Masters like Ku Yu Cheung and Sifu McNeil have demonstrated amazing feats of power and speed by utilizing the techniques described above, but it takes time, a 100 days of concentrated training will give you some pretty awesome power that you can put on display if you wish.
The story of Ku Yu Cheung quickly slapping the back of the horse and killing it demonstrated his complete control of external and internal Iron Palm, some have called it Cosmos Palm because of it’s expanding power thru objects.
I get asked a lot the proper way to hit the Iron Palm Training Bag, while there are many ways to strike it below is what is considered the main method.
The following techniques start the first photo with the arm raised then the finished strikes are shown in subsequent photos.
Remember it is important to apply your Iron Palm liniment before and after, if you have Dit Da Jow apply it after the Iron Palm liniment.