Whether you are doing kung fu or taiji as a martial art or for health you should think about doing some iron palm training. Doing this training properly will not only accomplish the obvious thing of making your hands stronger for striking things but it can also help to densify the bones of the upper limbs and upper body or to help keep them nice and strong.
Bones are living organs and react to stress by becoming stronger and more dense. If they don’t get stressed they become weaker. Iron palm training could go a long way toward helping to combat osteoporosis if combined with the right qigong exercises. Ancient versions of this training included jamming your hands repeatedly into buckets of hot sand and while these things look great in the movies these techniques have been shown to damage nerve endings and disfigure the hand so over the thousands of years that people have trained in kung fu the iron palm techniques have been refined so that they jar the bones in a safe way that causes healthy growth and strength but causes no undue effects.
One of the things you want to keep on hand if you are doing iron palm is the right Dit da jow to help return good qi flow to the parts of your body that you are training in iron bone. This ancient liniment can be formulated for shorter/upper body bones and for longer/lower body bones so be sure you have the right formula before doing your training. Using jow before and after your training will go a long way toward giving you effective healing between training sessions and be sure to discontinue training if you are experiencing pain other than minor bruising that should be allowed to heal fully between sessions.
If you aren’t sure where to get the right jow you can check out my favorite site, PlumDragonHerbs They offer advise as well as pre-formulated iron palm jow packs which you can then mix with a clear alcohol (at least 80 proof) and let sit out of sunlight for at least 6 months. The longer you let it sit, the better it is so get some bottles that are ready to go when you order your herbs so you can train properly while you’re brewing your jow.
Remember, if you experience pain that is more than just minor bruising which is natural from striking a surface or if you need more information check out PlumDragonHerbs. Write and ask them questions if you have any. They are very knowledgeable and happy to help. They have books on how to train properly as well as herbs so let’s all just make sure we’re training safely but making our bodies stronger.