It's been a while, so here's some more training from the great Kung Fu Master, Retsu Kaioh.
#26: Exercise "Pipa" (Pipa Gong)- This is a very specific training for the outsides of your fingertips and nails. The training develops what the author refers to as "flicking force" of the fingers. The name of the exercise is given after the "Pipa" or Chinese guitar and comes from the similar flicking motion used to play upon the strings. You must train all four of your fingers in order to gain this skill and must do so on a regular basis. The author talks of a recipe to create a hard object to flick. However, it seems a little much given today's accessibility to materials, so you could just put some quick-set concrete into a bag and let it set up to give you something to train on. The training method is thus:
You will take turns flicking the bag with each of your four fingers, starting with your forefinger and ending with your little finger and repeat the process until you have gone through it 108 times over the course of a day. The author says that after three years of training your finger flicks will be extremely powerful and actually capable of causing internal harm and, in some cases, death. While I find the death portion just a tad exaggerated, I do think that it would definitely give you a stronger finger flick and harder fingers. The author warns against the abuse of this skill because, "two fingers" can wound your opponent in such a way that he will not recover.
#27: "The Pole of a Falling Star"- This is a very simple training method. You dig a hole for a thick bamboo trunk, approximately 10-12 inches in diameter and wrap the pole lightly with a thick hemp rope. After you do this (I imagine all the way up and down the length of the pole, which I also imagine must be at least your height), you will strike it in every way that you can think of with every part of your body. Every kick, punch, elbow, knee, headbutt, hip or shoulder strike, body check, palm strike or push that you have in your arsenal and probably some you just make right the hell up on the spot.
The author says that if you neglect no part of your body, in three years you will have built a body of iron. The initial stages of the training will hurt, but it should subside after some time in practice.
#28: "Poles of Plum Bloom"- This training method is actually also the base requirement for another skill called "Flinging on the Cornice and Climbing the Wall." The training uses poles and seeks to develop balance, lightness of the body, and jumping ability, as well as training your eyes and perception of distance. The first stage is very simple. All that is required is that you paint "Plum blossoms" on the ground at a distance of about 2 and a half to 3 and a half feet apart. There will be five circles about four inches across and spaced about a foot apart in the arrangement of a flower. You will have multiple groups of these "flowers" in the distance of 2 and a half to 3 and a half feet apart and the groups of circles will be numbered as well as the circles themselves. For instance, "Blossom two, pole one" as the author puts it.
One of the poles on each of the blossoms will be marked as a "false pole" and should not be jumped upon. The training is accomplish better if you have someone to tell you to leap from one pole to another on each of the blossoms. When you step on a "pole," the big toe of your foot should be in the exact center of it with no deviation to one side or the other. When this becomes simple, you can actually graduate to using real poles, but it is much, much more difficult. You will fall. A lot. It is inevitable. When you start the second stage, be easy and begin with just walking the four poles of a single "blossom" and when you get better you can move to eight poles of two "blossoms" and continue in this manner. Do NOT start this training until you have completely mastered the first stage on the ground. You should be able to move quite easily across the painted poles, before even considering the next stage.
The poles themselves will be made of hard wood of about 3 and a half to 4 feet in length. You will dig to place the poles where you originally painted them for your first stage of training. The poles will stick out of the ground about twenty inches or so. The top of the poles must be flat and completely level. The false pole will be about 1 and a half to 3 inches out of the ground. With time, (when you can freely move across the poles) you can raise the height of the poles and even carry heavy objects or wear weights while training. When you have trained diligently for 3 years, you should have amazing agility on your feet and greatly improved body control. You may also cross train by walking on bricks standing up long-ways, but the author says that poles are the best.
That's all for today. Hopefully, you guys enjoyed these three additional Shaolin Arts. Until next time, good luck and train hard!