IRON PALM
Iron Palm training is one of Kung Fu's classic features. This developmental exercise plays a big role in many style and, along with Poison Palm, is one of the main conditioning exercises.It does definitely develop a sense of power. There are differing opinions. Some people feel that it is a constant, never ending practice. Others believe it was meant to be supplemental training used when needed but not an ongoing training feature. The important point is to know that you CAN train improperly and that moderation and correct technique is essential. With that in mind we bring you some of the most comprehensive books on the subject...

Shaolin Ten Animals Kung Fu
KF016-Fundamental Iron Skills
by Dr. Dale Dugas
Normally $29.95 PLUM price $25.95, English 155 pages, photographs, softbound

Dale Dugas has written a level-headed information-stuffed text on the practice of "Iron Skills." He fulfils his promise not only to remove some of the outrageous claims about this discipline but also to teach you the real ideas and principles about this form of training . And, as often happens, the ordinary, basic truths about the practice are really more interesting and considerably more rewarding that the tall tales.

This book has a lot of small gifts such as a long section on making and applying Iron Palm medicine (Di Da Jau). He gives a short history including Mitose, Ark Yuey Wong, Gu Ru Zhang and others. His basic pattern is absolutely classical but he centers the training in a much more flexible and variable space than most practitioners. And, most difficult to review, he fields a great many of those slightly weird questions and fears that are a natural sidecar to this type of practice.

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Shaolin Ten Animals Kung FuKC055-The Complete Iron Palm
by Brian Gray
$13.95 PLUM price $9.95, English 90 pages, photographs, softbound

"Discover punishing iron palm power!" So reads the cover of this 1989 text on Iron Palm. Written by one of the West's leading masters (he'll tell you so himself), this is a brief if spotty text with all its basic information accurate. Where Gray goes astray, other than the self-congratulatory attitude, is when he mixes his own conclusions in with the procedure.

"The iron palm is exactly what the name states; it is not a knife hand, hammerfist, nor any familiar hand technique. It is just a palm—but a palm that is as strong as iron."

"Suffice it to say that the iron palm  is deadly. It takes years to achieve the skill, and few know its secrets."

Most of the information is relatively common knowledge and Gray spends too much time talking about his experiences, because other than these, there is about four pages of hard information in the book. But you will probably want it for your library. His palm work is pretty straight forward though, judging from the pictures, his overall skill level in other aspects of CMA may be wanting. Make this an addition to your iron palm collection.

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KU001-Ultimate Iron Palm
by Kwong Wing Lam & Chet Braun
$19.95, English 226 pages,, photographs, softbound

I began studying with Wing Lam in the Seventies. Now he has come out with one of the more complete books on the Iron Palm training. He and Chet Braun have done a good job with historical evidence, legends, details instructions, injunctions, applications. Particularly important there is a great deal of information (I can almost hear Lam talking now) about how not to hurt yourself. My only criticism is that the book sometimes presents the more outlandish stories of Iron Palm without distinguishing them as legend.This is a pretty complete document, with maybe a little held back here and there. Having practiced Shihfu Lam's method for years I can personally attest to its direct lineage from Gu Ru Zhang. A disciplined martial artist, he has been assiduously practicing it for decades. He shows not one but two Shaolin methods. Gur Ru Zhang's and the rare Tiger Iron Palm from the mysterious Hung practitioner Leung Hua Chu.

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Iron Palm Kung FuKC046-Complete Iron Palm Training
compiled and edited by H. C. Chao
$13.95, English 116 pages, photographs, softbound

This book - "compiled and edited" - is a re-issue of the famous Lee Ying Arng book on Iron Palm training. Essentially the same information is covered such as ...

• Training "flat bag" style
•Applications of the basic palm positions
•Training hanging bag style
•Applications of the different palm strikes
• Principles of training including health considerations
• Soft Chi Kung methods for the palm
• A famous picture of our great grand teacher Ku Yu Cheong (Gu Ru Zhang) breaking 12 bricks with a slap.

Is a re-compilation of a classic also a classic? Yes, when it's done that long ago.

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