Red Jade Martial Arts
Traditional Chinese Martial Arts
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Sifu's Tea Table

Sifu's Tea Table

Internal Iron Palm (Heavy Hands)

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Heavy Hands Study Group -- I am sending out email essays for people in my Heavy Hands study group and since this was one I thought could benefit everyone who might be interested I thought I would share it here. The group is open to anyone who may be interested in learning an internal iron palm method.--

Heavy Hands is an internal training method and as such it is the qigong that is the most important part of the entire system. The mind integrating into flesh and changing how it interacts with our intentions and muscular tension is the key here. The light air exercises and the bag work, which is the thing most associated with iron palm, are just ways to express and check how much release you are getting.

It is not about ‘trying’ to hit anything, in fact the very thought process behind trying is a barrier. One of the colloquialisms of our language is to ‘try hard’ when we are working on something. But the issue of our thoughts framing our reality has to be taken into account for any activity, especially qigong and martial arts. When we think we should try hard or hit hard we instinctively begin tensing our muscularity in order to feel our own strength. This way we feel like we are doing a lot of work and that makes us feel like we are really putting in the effort. The thing is that with more effort and more strength we are holding back our power and our abilities.

Qigong is the practice of studying relationships, really nothing more. There are so many types of relationships however that we can not study or adjust them all in one lifetime. A practice like Heavy Hands Qigong is meant to study the amount of tension and release in the body first through posture and then during movement. However, it absolutely does not end there. How we think about things shapes everything and so even the words ‘Iron Palm’ can be detrimental to our training. If we frame something as destructive or violent or strong we will act accordingly.

Every qigong I know is based on a set of relationships being brought towards a more efficient and beneficial mode from what they are naturally. Since we never study those relationships in our minds, bodies, the relationship between our minds and bodies, our selves and reality, etc. We cannot expect them to simply have positive change through practice if all we practice is slapping things or standing in weird positions….

Internal means looking inside yourself and adjusting what is there. Not just good posture or alignments. But how we see everything.

Neil Ripski

2018

My book on heavy hands (gu yu cheungs iron palm)