If you are interested in Learning Iron Palm, you should understand what kind of benefits you can expect.
Understanding the benefits can help to keep you motivated in your practice. Iron Palm is not something you can practice off and on. Training consistently is essential if you are interested in obtaining any of the benefits listed below.
It should go without saying that training Iron Palm will give you stronger hands.
The hands are complex mechanical structures with many small bones and muscles. The neurological pathways between the hand and brain are also extensive.
We are capable of making tiny precise movements with our hands. Our capacity to feel and direct them to preform tasks is truly a marvel. It is something that most of us take for granted.
Throughout the span of a normal person's life, not much thought or effort is used to train the hands. We just use them to preform what is necessary. Unfortunately for many people this can lead to injury due to repetition of one movement over and over. (If you have an injury like this or any injury, you should recover first before starting Iron Palm Training.)
Training Iron Palm can strengthen all the structures of the hand. This includes the muscles, bones, and connective tissue. The training will also increase the circulation in the hand which is very beneficial for the structures and the tissues.
In addition to the increased circulation of Qi (internal energy) and blood to the hands, the training, which is done in a state of mindfulness, increases the awareness and the sensitivity of the hands. Not only is it common to become more aware of the hands through training, but it is also common to have the hands become more sensitive. I don't mean how a tooth is sensitive, yikes, not good. I mean you will be able to feel more with your hands and have increased sensitivity of feeling when your hands interact with another human or thing.
As you can see, Iron Palm training gives us an opportunity to throughly train the hands in a way that is often neglected in modern times. It doesn't mean that the hands become indestructible. It just means they become stronger.
Learn to Hit and Transfer Force Through Something
If you practice martial arts and expect to be able to use it, you have to hit things. I don't mean randomly hit things. You need to have a method to progressively train the skill of actually making impact.
You can not develop the skill of striking, without actually training to strike. Waving around in the air is not going to cut it. It is a part of a complete training program. That is why boxers practice shadow boxing and bag work.
Iron Palm Training is not just a traditional way to condition the hands. It also teaches the practitioner how to transfer force into an object or through an object. It teaches how to strike.
Hit from a Shorter Distance
As you progress in training Iron Palm, your strikes will feel heavier to your opponent. What looks like a light tap, can cause a lot of damage. Iron Palm practitioners have to keep this in mind and always be careful. It is not something to fool around with.
The advanced levels of the Iron Palm Bag Training specifically teach how to effectively generate and transfer power in the strike from a very short distance.
This is a valuable skill to have. It means you don't need to wind up to be effective. It means that from a very short distance, without a lot of movement, you can generate a tremendous amount of force.
Discipline and Perseverance
Training Iron Palm is repetitive. Everyday you train essentially the same thing. Every day. As you become more advanced, the training does change a little bit. But, fundamentally it is still the same.
You can only achieve the skill of Iron Palm if you train consistently. You can not do it on and off. It takes commitment. You must have disciple and perseverance.
Yes, you must have discipline and perseverance. But, as you train, you also develop these traits in yourself. Through continued training you strengthen these traits.
As your hands get stronger, your confidence will grow. This is completely natural. You become more confident in your art and your abilities.
Unfortunately some people fall into the trap of ego inflation. The so called "big head" syndrome. They feel they have obtained a power and become full of themselves. As you train, be vigilent to prevent yourself from going down that path.
The true confidence that should come from training, is not just the confidence of having stronger hands. You should also have the confidence of knowing that through your effort you have achieved something. Your hard work, perseverance, and disciple allowed you to achieve something. With this confidence you can achieve anything you want to. It doesn't matter if your goal is related to martial arts or life in general.
Better at Massage and Bodywork
If you do massage or bodywork, you might want to consider training Iron Palm.
The improved strength can translate to the hands becoming less fatigued in your work day.
The increased circulation of energy (Qi) and blood can help the hands recover faster and can help prevent injury.
The increased sensitivity developed though training can increase your skill and effectiveness in massage and bodywork.
The increased circulation to the hands not only increases the health of the hands, but can also increase the health of the entire body.
In Chinese Medicine we have the theory of the root and the branch. The internal organs are the root. The extremities are the branch. The same as a tree, to have healthy branches, the root must be strong. If the root is week, the branches can not flourish.
This theory of root and branch is demonstrated when people get really cold. The body naturally decreases the circulation to the extremities and prioritizes the blood flow to the internal organs in the torso. This is to maximize the chance of survival. The body naturally prioritizes the root as the most important.
In Iron Palm training you can not develop strong hands while having the internal organs in a state of deficiency.
Stimulating the hands through training will not only stimulate the circulation of the hands, but it also stimulates the energy channels. The Yin and Yang channels of the arm connect in the hands. This is where the circulation of energy changes from the Yin channels to the Yang channels and vice versa. This is one mechanism by which the training effects the body overall.
We also need to take into account the theory of progressive resistance and adaptation. This is the basic theory of all training for improvement. The body will always try to maintain a state of homeostasis. In plain English this means that that body will never exert any extra energy on anything it doesn't have to.
By gently stressing the body, the body must adapt and create a new state of equilibrium. This is how people get stronger by lifting weights. The body adapts to the current weight. Then you try to lift something heavier and the body adapts and gets stronger.
In Iron Palm training, for the hands to get stronger, the body internally must also get stronger. This is another mechanism of how the training can produce better health.
Part of a Living Tradition
I don't know how to really put this one into words. When you train a traditional skill that has been passed down from teacher to student through the years, you become part of a living tradition.
In a sense you belong to something larger then yourself. You benefit from those who came before you.
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