Seidokan Karate
Iron Palm Training

Though not technically a tool specific to Seidokan, the Iron Pam bag is a great adjunct to training imported from the Chinese systems. Be sure to seek competent instruction before attempting such training, and to train gradually so as not to damage the hands or associated Ki/Chi meridians. Below are some of the strikes that may be trained on the Iron Palm bag.

1 The basic strike is the palm strike. This is not the palm heel, or 'Teisho' of karate, but rather, a slap using the center of the palm instead of the heel of the hand.
To begin, raise the arm in a relaxed curve with the elbow up, the hand to the height of the eyes.
2 Next, allow the weight of the arm to drop using only gravity. This is why the elbow is lifted, so the added weight of the arm increases the force of the strike without having to exert muscular force.
3 The hand strikes flat and relaxed on the bag surface. Any muscular exertion or tension can cause damage to the heart, as the shock of the strike returns through the heart acupuncture meridians. (Repeat, starting with 10 to 20 strikes per hand. Eventually, from 50 to 100 per day may be performed. Complete the training with one hand before striking with the other.)
4 The back of the hand is usually the next surface used. Though the metacarpals (hand bones) may seem fragile, the Iron Palm training can be safely done and highly effective, provided relaxation is maintained. Again, lift the hand, elbow curved, to approximately eye level.
5 Allow gravity to pull the hand downward to the bag, rotating the wrist so that the back of the hand strikes the bag evenly
6 Again, caution should be taken that the arm, hand and body stay relaxed and the hand strikes evenly on the bag. Exhaling smoothly as the hand drops helps assure that no tension enters the technique.
7 The Shuto, or knife edge hand, is usually next in my routine. The starting positions is the same, and the same cautions apply as with the previous strikes.
8 As gravity pulls the hand downward, form the knife hand to strike the bag.
9 The thumb may be flexed as it presses against the hand, but the wrist and arm stay relaxed, so vibrations from this strike, as with all others, does not travel back to the body.
10 The Tiger claw, especially the fingertips, can also be strengthened on the Iron Palm bag. Start in the same position as with the previous strikes.
11 The fingers are spread and curved downward as the tips strike the bag.
12 Since the fingers are connected through the meridians to the eyesight, again, relaxation of the arm and body are essential. Only the amount of muscle needed to actually hold the hand in its proper form should be used. The arm and body stay relaxed as always, and gravity alone provides the acceleration into the strike.
13 The Keito, or 'chicken wrist', can be conditioned next. Starting position is the same as before.
14 The top of the wrist is turned downward and the fingers pulled inward toward the inner forearm, so that the back of the wrist strikes the bag.
15 This can be another sensitive area, especially in the age of carpal tunnel syndrome and other computer age hand pain. Check with a doctor for any pre-existing ailments to the joints before using this strike.
16 The flat fist or 'tate zuki' is next. This time, as the hand is lifted to eye height, form a fist. The forearm will, of course, be flexed rather than relaxed, but the knuckle are of the fist is less prone to damage, and not directly connected to the internal organ meridians.
17 The arm still drops in a relaxed manner, as the arm is pulled downward by gravity alone.
18 Unlike the normal fore fist strike, the entire flat of the fist makes contact with the bag. This punch, done in a relaxed manner, can transfer quite a penetrating vibration into an opponent.
19 For additional finger-tip conditioning, the nukite or 'spear hand' is thrust into the bag. The preparation is a little different. Start by pulling the hand to the shoulder and aiming the fingers at the target.
20 Let the fingers fall forward into the bag. The fingers should strike at the tips, but in a relaxed manner. (If you have access to a slanted, architect type table on which to set the bag, after striking, use the fingers to slide the bag up the table.)
21 Keep the fingers spread enough to allow all the fingers to strike simultaneously. Again, because the fingers are connected to the eyesight, caution is exercised to remain properly relaxed.
22 The ridge hand or 'haishu' may also be used in striking. Standing a bit further away from and to the side of the bag, again raise the hand to eye height.
23 Turn slightly sideways as the hand falls to the bag, striking with the thumb side of the hand, the thumb being tucked into the palm of the hand.
24 If muscular exertion is used here, it is possible to hyperextend the elbow. Holding the hand firmly in the proper formation should not allow the rest of the arm to be tense.
25 For more advanced conditioning, bare brick or other hard surfaces may be used. The back fist is shown first here. Lift the fist as with the hand strikes before.
26 Strike the brick with the back of the fist.
27 In close-up, notice the entire back of the fist strikes flat.
28 For advanced knife hand ('shuto') conditioning, striking the corner of the brick is used. Draw back the hand in preparation, using the full range of motion of the strike, not a short tap.
29 Again, not using muscular, or excessive force, allow gravity to do the work.
30 Note the striking position of the hand, and be sure to hold the brick in place with the opposite hand so as not to know the stack over.
31 Again, using the knife hand, prepare as before
32) Strike with the shuto, this time to the point of the corner of the brick.
33 This close-up shows the finished striking position on the corner of the block.

A vital aspect of such training is a properly formulated herbal medicine know as Dit Da Jow. There are many variations of such herbal mixtures, all bearing the same name though formulated differently. Some are heated, some have more or fewer herbs than others. Most are effective to some degree, but as people vary, so do the results of these different formulae on individuals. Some experimentation may be needed, or the expert guidance of a good herbalist, so as not to damage the tissues or bones of the hand. The medication is applied before and after training, (sometimes even different formulas before than after), and accompanied by breathing exercises to stimulate ki/chi flow and avoid bruising that would interrupt or halt training.

The instructions on this page are merely an overview. They are in no way a substitute for proper, direct instruction from a qualified teacher, nor are they meant to be. This is purely for illustration purposes as an outline of the training process. The author of this page nor owner of this site take any responsibility for the practice, use, or application of these techniques, or any injury arising there from.

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