Train your body like an iron hammer
Martial Arts is a practice of combat training, practiced for different reasons such as defense, contests, physical health and fitness, along with mental, physical, and spiritual growth. Martial arts, when trained in a systematic manner, can help improve an individual's health in terms of strength, flexibility, and movement coordination, etc., as the entire core muscle groups are trained and stimulated.
Various martial arts styles use body training techniques, which are typically used to condition the body to withstand any kind of blows without getting injuries. Chinese martial arts demand the practice of hardening the body, hands and feet as a central element of fundamental training.
Iron Palm Technique
Of all the techniques used to harden up the body, the Iron Palm or Iron Hand is the most difficult part of training as the hands and fingers cannot withstand much of the blows as much as our body can withstand. This Iron Palm training techniques involves primarily three stages:
1) Strengthening of the fists and fingers by increasing the tendons and ligaments from shoulders to the fingertips and then striking or punching relatively solid and firm things enclosed in either canvas or leather bags.
2) Using the right kind of skill to strike with greater force by relaxing the body on the whole, and let go of the stress in order to move quicker.
3) Training and practicing the Qigong exercises to develop Qi or the inner energy to improve mental focus and striking power.
Iron Palm Training Equipment
The Iron skills training methods are intended to develop the capability of the human body to adapt to changing conditions, bind the inner energies and progressively increase the physical strength and resistance. The aim of these practices is to boost the body's strength, resistance and the ability to withstand pain, together with the power and effectiveness of offensive techniques.
To train for the Iron fist or Iron hand or Iron palm, most of the time the Iron bags are used. Apart from the iron bags, equipment like double end punching bags, woks filled with beans (soy or mung), sand, water, striking posts like a large wooden pole or a tree or practice stands are used. Also, hanging sand bags or punching bags are used to train for harder fists.
Usually this equipment is struck with much force in four different styles to harden the fingers and fist. The first kind of strike is the Palm (zhang) strike, where the hand is held with the fingers straight out, in a concave shape and the thumb is slightly bent and held close to the index finger.
The second type of strike, is also an internal kind of strike, is done with the back of the hand (zhang bei-back of hand). Though this strike is similar to that of the first technique, the bag is punched or struck with the back of the hand.
The third striking technique is similar to that of the Karate chop, using the sides of a hand. This striking method requires much muscle as it is an external strike. The wrist joint is much trained in this kind of technique to strike the bag with much force.
The last strike is the Tiger claw strike, which aims at the breaking in of the finger tips and developing the strength of the hand. With the right kind of equipment, one can train their fists, limbs and body like iron hammers. When practiced and trained correctly, the Iron Palm method teaches one to strike with the whole body, not just the arm. With this right kind of practice, the entire body becomes an immense lash.