“一、What kind of kung fu is Iron Sand Palm?
As the name suggests, Iron Sand Palm is a type of palm technique trained using iron sand and falls within the category of Strong internal martial arts.
Among the numerous martial arts schools that exist throughout China, most have their own version of Iron Sand Palm techniques. Although the names may vary, the training methods share similarities and follow certain patterns. In essence, Iron Sand Palm is a hard internal martial art developed by using iron sand and herbal materials as training aids. It is a striking, defensive, and performative palm technique that, with prolonged practice, can break bricks and split stones.
It is worth mentioning that many believe Iron Sand Palm is exclusive to external martial arts schools. However, in reality, some internal martial arts schools, such as Xinyi (Form-Intention) Quan, Eight Seal Palm, and Emei Quan, also have variations of this palm technique. The effectiveness of training Iron Sand Palm or similar techniques, whether in external or internal martial arts, has proven to be beneficial for improving combat skills.
二、Iron Sand Palm is attainable for everyone.
Many young enthusiasts shy away when they see the term “Iron Sand Palm,” thinking it is an unattainable and mysterious skill achievable only by martial arts masters. This misconception often stems from romanticized portrayals in martial arts novels. However, the truth is that Iron Sand Palm is a skill that anyone can learn (of course, it is not recommended for children below 14 years old). Not only is it relatively easy to learn, but it also yields remarkable results in a short time. With just 10 minutes of daily practice, one can simultaneously improve their physical fitness while not hindering their studies, work, or rest. It’s an all-around beneficial practice that enhances the body’s strength without much effort.
三、The Principle of Rapid Mastery in Iron Sand Palm
Why is Iron Sand Palm considered a skill that can be rapidly mastered?
This question is of great interest to every practitioner. Human palms consist of skin, muscles, blood vessels, bones, and nerves—subtle differences exist between individuals. When utilizing specific training methods, these components in the palms undergo subtle changes within a relatively short time. Their arrangement becomes denser, and their ability to withstand impacts gradually strengthens. The bones become more solid, and the nerves become less fragile. Remarkably, each practitioner possesses the “right” and “fortune” to undergo this transformative process within a short time. In other words, everyone has the “qualifications” to achieve this transformation quickly. In simpler terms, everyone can achieve rapid progress within a short time!
四、Preparation Before Training
As the saying goes, “Good work requires good tools.” Before practicing Iron Sand Palm, several items are necessary:
1. A solid square wooden stool or a small square table, approximately 2 to 2.5 feet high (a little higher or lower is acceptable, but not excessively high or low, to maintain proper force flow). It is used to support the iron sand lying bag.
2. A sturdy double-layered lying bag for training palms, measuring about 6-7 inches in length and width. It should be filled with appropriate-sized iron sand (slightly larger than mung beans) and Sichuan pepper.
– The fabric used for making the lying bag should not be too thick; it just needs to be sturdy enough.
– The lying bag does not have to be overly large; it is better to sew it with double layers to prevent bursting.
– The iron sand should not be too fine; otherwise, it will be challenging to see the effects.
– There should be no sharp objects mixed in the iron sand to avoid injury during training.
3. Medicinal Preparation
a. “Yi Jin Xi Shou Fang”: Take 250 grams of Dioscorea nipponica and 250 grams of table salt, boil them in 3-4 kilograms of water for 20-30 minutes in a sandpot. Before each palm training session, the medicinal broth should be heated until it is slightly hot. Both palms should be immersed in the hot broth for thorough rubbing and washing. This medicinal broth can be used for 100 days and may be supplemented with salt and water when needed to prevent it from drying out. The medicinal broth has the special effects of reducing swelling, alleviating pain, and transforming the body’s structure, which is why it is called “Yi Jin Tang.”
b. Rusty iron nails (500 grams) or pure rust (250 grams) are mixed with “Vinegar Essence” (note: not ordinary low-degree vinegar) (500 grams) and placed in a large bottle. Seal the bottle and leave it for 15 days. After that, it becomes a special reddish medicinal liquid with rapid effects in reducing swelling and relieving pain. After each palm training session, pour out several drops of the liquid and rub them on the palms and fingers for 3-5 minutes. There is no need to heat the liquid, making it convenient to carry and use.
Both of the above medicinal preparations were passed down by the generation’s master of Iron Sand Palm, the modern martial arts master Mr. Gu Ru Zhang. They are remarkably effective, and practitioners need to prepare at least one of them.
It is essential to emphasize that Iron Sand Palm practice requires the protection and assistance of medicinal preparations. According to traditional teachings, failure to use detoxifying, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic medicines during practice may cause toxic substances to accumulate in the body and result in adverse health effects. Fortunately, both of the above medicinal preparations are available and not expensive, so practitioners should be well-prepared to avoid any problems.
五、Notes on Training Iron Sand Palm
1. If you cannot guarantee at least 10 minutes of daily practice, it is better not to learn this skill. Inconsistent training may hinder progress.
2. Within the first 100 days of practice, one should refrain from sexual activity, masturbation, and nocturnal emissions (refer to “Secret Method for Firming Essence”) to prevent injuries to the palms and overall progress. Failure to comply may result in a setback of ten days for each occurrence of nocturnal emission.
3. Avoid exposing the palms to cold water within an hour after training to prevent rheumatism.
4. Do not practice immediately after meals, as it may be harmful to the body.
5. Avoid harboring evil thoughts, excessive anger, heavy drinking, or other harmful behaviors, as they can negatively impact your progress.
6. After achieving mastery, avoid misusing your skills to bully others; otherwise, you may face legal consequences for hurting others.
Practitioners must strictly adhere to these six guidelines.
If you have wounds or cuts on your palms or fingers during your training or practice, you must not continue practicing until the wounds are completely healed. Otherwise, there is a risk of infection and adverse consequences. Remember this warning!
七、The Authentic Practice Method of Iron Sand Palm – High-Level Internal Skill: Hunyuan Palm Technique
Any skill considered “excellent” requires both internal and external training. This applies to Shaolin, Tai Chi, and even Xingyi (Form-Intention) Quan, among others. Jeet Kune Do, apart from its intense physical training, includes silent mental conditioning. Japanese Karate also involves advanced mental training (referred to as mental imaging). All these various mental training methods can be regarded as “internal training.”
every individual’s body (external) and soul (internal) are inseparable (if separated, it means the end of life), external and internal training are inseparable. If one focuses only on the external but neglects the internal, the result is rigidity and vulnerability. On the other hand, if one focuses solely on the internal but ignores the external, the result is softness and weakness. Only by harmoniously combining both aspects in training can one achieve a balanced and efficient progress.
This method is simple yet effective, requires mental focus, and can be performed anytime, anywhere without any deviations. It can be integrated into the process of training the secret Iron Sand Palm at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Practitioners can also utilize this method as a supplement during travels or when carrying sandbags is impractical, ensuring they don’t lose their progress. For those who have mastered this method, their palms can emit powerful force, penetrating through opponents’ defenses. However, be cautious when using it in actual combat situations.
This method purely relies on “thoughts” (i.e., “mindset”) to cultivate skills, without any physical movements. The posture is not restricted, and practitioners can choose any suitable posture, but it must involve focused thoughts. Avoid being absent-minded during practice.
For example, in the standing position, stand with feet parallel, completely relaxed, slightly bent elbows, palms facing downwards (or forwards, or diagonally to the sides – any direction is acceptable). Imagine that two solid bricks or stone tablets are beneath your palms, and with each thought, you strike down, imagining the bricks breaking (apply the same visualization when striking towards the front, diagonally, or sideways).
The same method applies to sitting, lying, or walking postures.
Because of this, practitioners can apply this method while walking, sitting in a vehicle, attending meetings, or listening to lectures, and it remains effective without losing its efficiency. Once accustomed to the method, at any moment, the practitioner’s palms will feel energetic, warm, and full. During a real combat situation, the force can be emitted instantly without having to “invoke” it consciously. The moment contact is made with the opponent, the force is unleashed, showcasing its power! This method can also cultivate the courage of fearlessness, essential for a gallant martial artist.
During the practice period, avoid harboring evil thoughts, anger, excessive drinking, or nocturnal emissions. All these actions can undermine your progress. Abstain from these behaviors and exercise caution.
If followed diligently, the practitioner will experience the following responses during the training process:
1. After practicing for several minutes, the palms feel hot, as if they are burning. This indicates the internal qi and blood are being filled.
2. The palms and fingers may feel sore during training, especially the sides of the thumbs. This is normal, and the discomfort will disappear after washing, rubbing, and massaging with the medicinal preparations.
3. The hands may feel thicker and more swollen after each training session, which is a positive sign.
4. After ten or more days of practice, the skin on the palms may peel, bumps may appear, and the muscles may become thicker and more elastic. All these reactions are beneficial. The peeling and bumps will gradually increase but eventually disappear on their own, and the palms will become as soft as a woman’s hands, which should not be a concern.
5. Soreness in the legs during horse stance training is also normal and a necessary step to transform the energy. After about twenty or thirty days, the practitioner will “enjoy” this feeling, becoming more eager to perform the stance. It is crucial not to give up.
6. If practicing the technique becomes too intense and causes unbearable pain in the finger bones, practitioners should stop training, use more medicinal water for washing and massaging, and only resume practice when the condition improves, following the specified time limits. Avoid being overly eager and risking injury.
九、Trial Breaking in Iron Sand Palm
Around 20 days of practicing the basic level of Iron Sand Palm, practitioners can attempt breaking trials:
– Start with a few pieces of roofing tile.
– Next, try breaking several walnuts (or chestnuts).
– Then, attempt breaking an unburned red brick placed on two supports.
Some practitioners may achieve brick-breaking in around 10 days, while others may take 15, 18, 20, or 25 days. All these results are within the normal range, and it is essential not to rush or test too early to avoid injury and the need to halt training. Remember!
Subsequent breaking trials can be attempted on the 40th, 60th, 80th, and 100th day.
During your practice or future training, if you have wounds or cuts on your palms or fingers, you must not continue practicing until they are completely healed. Otherwise, there is a risk of infection and adverse consequences. Always remember this warning!
That concludes the translation of the text. Keep in mind that this text discusses traditional martial arts training, and its claims should be taken with caution and context.