Does Taijiquan involve " Internal Iron Palm " training?

koenig

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I'm very familiar with iron palm training (hitting the bags), but what is internal iron palm training? I couldn't find much info about it online. Here's one site but it doesn't have too much info:

http://www.iron-palm-training.com/internal-iron-palm/

How are you using it as a weapon if you're not actually HITTING the person with force?
 

Xue Sheng

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Since I have not trained every single flavor of every single style of Taijiquan all I can say is that based on my experience no

I have also not encountered it in Xingyiquan either.

Nor have I ever heard of anything specifically called Internal Iron Palm Training
 

ben

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Does Taijiquan involve " Internal Iron Palm " training?
yes, definitely.

Here's an interview with my instructor that appeared in Inside Kung Fu a while back about his internal Iron Palm methods. Most of the article is not specifically about tai chi however he does talk about it in several places.

If anyone's going to be in Radford, VA for Karate College this June he will be teaching a couple seminars one on combat Tai Chi and another on 1 hit knockouts. Any questions on internal iron palm would be more than welcome and would tie in with the material being taught.
 

pete

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Liu Jing Ru jokes that this is Bagua's Iron Palm training:

LIUJINGRU2.JPG
 
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koenig

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yes, definitely.

Here's an interview with my instructor that appeared in Inside Kung Fu a while back about his internal Iron Palm methods. Most of the article is not specifically about tai chi however he does talk about it in several places.

If anyone's going to be in Radford, VA for Karate College this June he will be teaching a couple seminars one on combat Tai Chi and another on 1 hit knockouts. Any questions on internal iron palm would be more than welcome and would tie in with the material being taught.

i'm reading that interview now. thanks for posting the link.

as far as i'm concerned, iron palm still = hitting stuff :D

but it's interesting to read about other stuff and other methods i've never heard of!
 

ben

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i'm reading that interview now. thanks for posting the link.

as far as i'm concerned, iron palm still = hitting stuff :D

but it's interesting to read about other stuff and other methods i've never heard of!

I'm glad you like the article.

to me "Iron Palm" = the quality of the hit and hitting stuff would be one way to train that quality. The heavy, rooted & connected kinds of body qualities that tai chi builds are going to lend themselves to this kind of hitting even without specifically focusing on Iron Palm.

How are you using it as a weapon if you're not actually HITTING the person with force?

In application you do hit the person with a lot of force however the amount of effort you use becomes less and less as you become more skilled. Eventually the hit should feel and look like a light touch while the person receiving the hit swears they got hit with a sledge hammer.
 

redantstyle

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IP is extremely mundane.

it is nothing more than learning to hit with full body momentum.

you have to condition the palms so that they are tougher, i.e. the skin gets thicker, muscles get denser, and the bones thicken a bit. it's a gradual process that simultaneously forges the hand and removes the basic self protection instinct that makes you pull your strike.

it's S.A.I.D.

'internal' palm refers to 'depth hitting' or a type of kinetic energy transfer that is very quick and causes compression, thereby creating the 'depth effect'. you feel like the force passes 'through you' or 'out the other side'.

there is definately a skill to it, but no basis to all the woo-woo associated with it.

hit wine is a good idea, and IP soak is better.

is that Dale Dugas's site?

the link is broken.
 

David43515

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Dale knows more about Iron Palm and Iron Vest than I ever will (You give certain things up when you move 1/2 a world away). But the iron palm I was begining to train back in the states was an internal meathod. Yes you still use jow, and you still strike the bag over and over again, but the emphasis isn`t on striking hard. In fact that`s actually a hinderance. The emphasis is on relaxation, coordinating the breathing with the strike, and chi circulation.

Yes, lightly striking the bag over and over again does thicken the bones and condition the muscles of the hand. But the meathod is internal because it focuses on moving the chi instead of building up muscular power and calluses.

And just like was mentioned before, you wind up strikeing very VERY hard with very little apparent effort. If you ever get to see Gene Chicoine do an Iron Palm demo you`ll see what I mean. He does what looks like a lifeless wet slap and can break over a foot of concrete blocks w/o spacers.
 

JadecloudAlchemist

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I have not come across any mention of Iron palm in any works on Taiji involving classical teachers and training.

If you want to call Silk reeling and Fajing "internal iron palm" it might seem misleading.

I have not read any of the old Bagua masters or Xingyi masters training in Iron palm.

There are exceptions of course and some of them might have trained in some degree of it but I have not heard of it so if anyone has any information concerning any of the internal masters of old practicing it please share.
 

ben

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The book "iron palm in 100 days" is by Lee Ying-Arng who was a senior disciple under Yang Chen Fu. I haven't read the book myself but here's an excerpt from the article I linked to earlyer that talks about the book.

In 1968 Lee wrote the book Iron Palm in 100 Days that was reprinted about half a dozen times. In that book Lee refers to numerous variations and schools of Iron Palm training and other specialty internal palm methods that he taught and Lee explains how to train several methods of Iron Palm. In his book Lee shows a section of the Yi Chin Ching or Sinew Changing classic temple manuscript and he explains that the classic has a section which explains an Iron Palm training method similar to the straight forward or Direct method.
I've also seen some old video of Lee Ying-Arng doing Tai Chi with lots of Iron Palm applications. I'll see if I can find it.
 

ben

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Here's some video of Lee Ying Arng doing Tai Chi & Iron Palm. You can see Lee's use of Iron Palm throughout the Tai Chi applications

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geezer

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Here's some video of Lee Ying Arng doing Tai Chi & Iron Palm. You can see Lee's use of Iron Palm throughout the Tai Chi applications

Thanks for the video clips. Way back in about '79 my first WC instructor taught an intro to "Iron Palm" using Sifu Lee's book for our text. It was interesting to see in the video how Sifu Lee actually performed the techniques. At any rate, the emphasis in the class I took was always on being very soft and relaxed. Still, when I later became a student of a Chinese Sifu who trained under Grandmaster Yip Man, I found out that all these "Iron Palm" techniques were not integral to WC/WT. They had been added on by my first instructor. It seems like Xue, Jade-Cloud and others are making this same point about "Iron Palm" and Tai Chi. Nobody said that it didn't work or wasn't practical. Just that it wasn't traditionally part of Tai Chi.

Another confusion is interpreting "hard and soft" as being the same as "external and internal". They are not. Wing Tsun, which I practice has always been classified as "external". It is is also very soft when done well. The highest level practioners in the WT system strike with that same, totally relaxed, seemingly effortless quality that focuses energy from your whole body. That's just good soft-style kung-fu. It's not "internal"... although at the very highest levels such distinctions may diminish.

But to my understanding, as long as you are hitting stuff, whether "hard or soft" you are still practicing "external" training. Please correct me if I misunderstand.
 

Quotheraving

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But to my understanding, as long as you are hitting stuff, whether "hard or soft" you are still practicing "external" training. Please correct me if I misunderstand.

You misunderstand.

External training builds up speed and strength.
Internal training goes beyond purely muscular conditioning in favor of the development of intrinsic force (jing).

If you strike using muscular force then it is external, if you strike with fa jing then it is by definition internal.

So it's not that you are practising striking that makes it internal or external, but how you are practising striking and what your end goal is.

The idea that internal martial training forgoes striking in training is likely due to those people who seek to practise the art solely for the health or meditation getting a bit uncomfortable at anything that smacks of violence and conflict.
 

geezer

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If you strike using muscular force then it is external, if you strike with fa jing then it is by definition internal.

So it's not that you are practising striking that makes it internal or external, but how you are practising striking and what your end goal is.

I love your signature line. Clearly I was listening to the other 30 while you where changing the light bulb!

But here's the problem. According to your stated criteria, two individuals could undergo identical soft striking training and achieve similar results. But suppose one student credits his skills to perfect, relaxed technique and the normal laws of physics and physiology, while the second student, being of a more "mystic" inclination, attributes his abilities to qi and fa-jing. Would you say that the first student is an "external stylist" and the second is an "internal stylist"?

This is not so far fetched an argument as it may sound. There was an individual who used to post a lot around here. He insisted that his Wing Chun was an internal style because he did chi-gung exercises, and attributed his skill to internal power. Nothing that Xue or any of the other well informed folks around here could say would dissuade him. Now he has left us, "seeking tranquility". Would you accept his argument?
 

Quotheraving

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But here's the problem. According to your stated criteria, two individuals could undergo identical soft striking training and achieve similar results. But suppose one student credits his skills to perfect, relaxed technique and the normal laws of physics and physiology, while the second student, being of a more "mystic" inclination, attributes his abilities to qi and fa-jing. Would you say that the first student is an "external stylist" and the second is an "internal stylist"?

You are starting from a false assumption, since Fa Jin and Qi are just chinese words for real world experiences that entirely obey the normal laws of physics and physiology.

It is true that some people associate these words, in particular the phrase 'energy' which is commonly used in their translation, for some kind of magical bullsh17, but that doesn't mean that these terms don't have a practical and pragmatic value.
So if, as you say, someone "attributes his abilities to qi and fa-jing" and correctly understands the meaning of these words (even if they are blended with mysticism) then they are still an internal stylist.


Nei jia (internal arts) in general and Tai Chi in particular rely exclusively upon the development of relaxed natural structure, having found that this structure is the optimal way to absorb, redirect, store and emit pressure (i'm deliberately translating the chinese word 'jing' as pressure so as to avoid the use of the term 'energy' and hence all the baggage that carries).

As humans our bodies are similar, as are the sensations that signal the correct execution of a technique, and while some elements of this are visible, demonstrable and explainable in terms of body mechanics, other parts are hidden within the structure, made visible only by the effect they have on the person who is on the receiving end of it.

Hence in developing this all important structure and learning to guide, store and emit pressure the student relies largely on their own internal sensations as a guide. These sensations (and the abstracted 'something' that seems to be mobilised and directed through the structure in practise) are typically lumped together under the umbrella term of 'Qi', a word that is also used for many other purposes, most of them mystical.

Emitting this stored pressure in a sudden and explosive fashion is called Fa Jin.

This is not so far fetched an argument as it may sound. There was an individual who used to post a lot around here. He insisted that his Wing Chun was an internal style because he did chi-gung exercises, and attributed his skill to internal power. Nothing that Xue or any of the other well informed folks around here could say would dissuade him. Now he has left us, "seeking tranquility". Would you accept his argument?
There are definately elements of the internal about Wing Tsun, especially in those practitioners who have refined their art beyond the reliance on muscular force and speed. Plus some (but by no means all), Qi Gung exercises are designed to develop internal awareness and through this nei jing (internal power - pretty much what I've been describing previously).

As such I cannot dismiss his claims as impossible, though since mystical imagination and misunderstanding of the basics is rife in the martial arts world it's highly likely that he was just deluding himself.
 
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ben

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But to my understanding, as long as you are hitting stuff, whether "hard or soft" you are still practicing "external" training. Please correct me if I misunderstand.

I was using the video clips to show a relationship between Tai Chi & Iron Palm. I think the fact that iron palm in 100 days was written buy a Tai Chi guy should add a little credibility to the idea that Tai Chi contains Iron Palm training.


I agree that hitting stuff is mostly an external method although there could be internal stuff going on that's not being shown or explained on video.


I think some of the confusion is caused by the fact that a lot of people think of Iron Palm as hitting stuff to condition the hands to have an Iron quality hit. Iron Palm is a much bigger category than that consisting of many different training methods and different kinds of Iron Palm from hard to soft and from internal to external.


It seems like Xue, Jade-Cloud and others are making this same point about "Iron Palm" and Tai Chi. Nobody said that it didn't work or wasn't practical. Just that it wasn't traditionally part of Tai Chi.


I think you have to be careful with the word traditional. Tai Chi has been changing and evolving with each generation ever since it was first created and even then it didn't magically appear from thin air as a complete system but was built on top of the other arts and knowledge that existed at the time. Usually all traditional means is the way I was taught.


Instead of: Does Taijiquan involve Internal Iron Palm training?
a better question might have been: Does your Taijiquan involve Internal Iron Palm training?


And instead of just saying yes I should have said: Yes my Tai Chi does develop an Iron (or Iron wrapped in cotton) quality hit. And I would add that the development of this quality is not a recent addition to my Tai Chi. It goes back at least several generations and comes from more than one source as well.


You're wrong Quotheraving or should I say "Well we tell that joke differently in our school."
It takes 100 Tai Chi players to change a light bulb.
 

JadecloudAlchemist

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Did Lee learn Iron Palm from Yang Chen Fu? I do not find anything stating Yang Chen Fu taught Iron Palm.

The video clips say "Lee's modified Tai Chi" can we assume he learned Iron Palm else where and incorporated it into his modified style?

Saying Taiji contains Iron Palm because one guy does it and modified it is like saying Taiji contains Ninjutsu because one guy modified his Taiji to contain it.

But if we ask does Lee Ying Arng Taiji contain Iron Palm then the answer is yes. But if we are going to generalize Taiji then the answer is no.
 
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