After a very long break, we're back for some more training of Retsu Kaioh's. More and more, as I look into these methods, I find it incredible that a man could master them all.
#35: The Force of Eagle's Claws (Ying Zhao Li)- The author says that this skill is "nothing else but the skill of grips." He says that this training can help you gain the strength to grip your opponent, causing him unbearable pain. The beginning part of this training starts with a small jug, weighing about 5kg. You grip the jug on "its neck on the outer side" with all five fingers and raise it. Honestly, I'm not sure if that means that you lift it by putting your hand over the top, gripping around the lip of the jug OR if it means that you put your index finger and thumb of the hand underneath the lip and grasp around the bottom part of the jug. If it was me, I would alternate the methods every time I trained this skill. This is to be trained daily.
Moving forward, you raise the jug repeatedly on both arms during your training session. Raise it on one side until you are tired and then switch. This will give your arms time to rest before you change back. At the point you are unable to raise the jug anymore, I'd say it's time to stop the training for the day. The author says that when you are able to raise and lower the jug freely and easily during your training session, it will be time to advance to the next portion of training. He says this will take a few months.
The next portion of the training will be to add a cup of grain (I'll say sand) per week until you fill the jug to the top. When you reach this point, dump out all the sand and start over by adding a cup of steel shot to the jug every week. This will give you a little bit of a deload period from the weight of the full jug of sand to whenever the weight of the steel shot equals that. After this, the author says to add "pieces of iron," but I'm not sure how that would be heavier than the steel shot, because the shot fills up the jug quite evenly. I might add a cup of water to the full steel shot every week instead. It wouldn't be much more weight, but it would still be a progression.
The last portion of the training is the "soft" portion, that involves spreading your five fingers out wide, extending your arm straight out in front of you, with your palm facing out. Focus on making a gripping motion with your fingers and then pull your hand in deliberately like you are pulling on a rope. Use your imagination. Do each arm one after the other, making your movements slow and deliberate. The author is of the opinion that mastering this stage of the skill can give you super-human abilities to move things without touching them. I do not share this opinion. I feel like it's just a good way to stretch out your hands after training them so roughly. I might use this last portion of the training as both a warm-up and a cool-down session during your grip training sessions.
#36: Technique "Iron Bull" (Tie Niu Gong)
This technique explanation begins with a quote that a person must not speak unless he or she is prepared to answer for his or her words in the future. You shouldn't say everything you want thoughtlessly. If you want to gain a skill, you must first learn to command your speech.
The purpose of learning this skill is to repel enemy attacks. The first stage of "Iron Bull" is pretty simple and seems easy enough. Focus your attention (qi) in your stomach and make circular motions with your fingers all across your stomach area, perhaps the whole midsection. You won't really use any force at the beginning, but just move easily across the skin several times per day, even when resting. After a while (it doesn't say how long, but I would say maybe a couple of weeks), you should rub your palms over your stomach area in a scraping motion with increasing force. Press a little harder each day. I recommend, as you do this, to sometimes do the motion while flexing your abdominal muscles and sometimes while not flexing. Since you are not striking, but rubbing, it will serve as a good massage. After your skin and abdominal muscles begin to toughen up, you can move to the next phase.
You may use the previous phase of training as your daily warm-up before beginning this next phase. Punch easily against your abdominal muscles several times a day. You may feel soreness for the first few days and that is okay. Do not increase the strength of your blows immediately. A few sessions a day of the light strikes against the midsection for a couple of weeks will condition your body to begin gradually increasing the power of the blows. Focus on increasing the power a little bit every week. Don't focus on a single point of the stomach/midsection area. Instead, make sure you are applying these blows to the whole surface area.
When you reach the point where you are able to bear several sessions per day of hard strikes to your midsection, it is time to advance to the use of a wooden mallet/hammer to apply the strikes. Once again, start out easily and gradually add force. You definitely do not want to end up with a broken rib or bruised organ. When, after several weeks or months, you are striking with much force, it is time to move to a metal mallet or hammer. Try to think of a mini-sledge, perhaps 2 pounds, that you would hold in one hand. Please start very easily! When you begin with the metal hammer, the author says, you will hear a dull sound, like hitting a tree. After you continue to train as in the other phases of the skill, you will eventually hear a metal clang, says the author. I am not entirely sure this is true, but the advancement will once again be based on your feeling of strength and pain tolerance.
The next phase of training involves placing a stone slab of about 90 kg or about 200 pounds on your stomach. The author says you could even sleep with the stone on you, but I'm not sure how safe that is. I would recommend that you continue training with the hammer and then spend a little time each day with the stone slab placed on your abdominal area.
Upon the completion of this skill, the author says that you will eventually brush off just about any opponent's attacks, possibly even with sharp weapons. I would not test this last theory, as it is not likely.
#37: Skill of Eagle Wings (Ying Yi Gong)
This technique builds power in the arms to deflect attacks and is supposed to increase your striking power as well. You will need to suspend two bags of sand from a ceiling, tree branch, or overhead beam by a strong cord. The bags will be about a meter or a little more than 3 feet above the ground and about 2 feet apart. The top of the bags should be at about the level of your head in your horse stance (ma bu) and the lower part of the bags should be a bit lower than your shoulder line. The bags should weigh about 5 kg or about 12 pounds.
While in your horse stance, bend your arms in at the elbow so that they are in front of you at shoulder height and clench your fists. Your fists will be in front of each side of your chest, palms facing down. The outer portion of your elbows and arms are facing up. You will raise the weight of the sandbags until exhaustion using your elbows, take a break, and then start again. This should apparently be trained in the morning every day. You raise and hold the weight 30 times at the beginning, increasing the time you hold each repetition every month, moving to 100 repetitions by the end of your first year of training. You will also increase the weight by about 1 kg or 2 pounds every month until you reach 17 kg or about 40 pounds. Your first month will be 30 repetitions of 5 kg each held as long as a possible. The next month, you raise the weight 1 kg and add 5 or 6 repetitions for that month. This gradual increase will allow you to become used the the movement and the slow increase will make the adaptation easier. Remember that you are staying in a horse stance this whole time.
After the first year of training, you can move to the next stage. The sand bags will each by about 10 kg this time. You will press your elbows against your body slightly and then swing your elbows up and hit the bags with quick force. Don't just hit the weight, but drive through, attempting to raise the weight as high as possible with each strike. The bags will probably move about 6 cm or about 2.5 inches with each strike, but you will eventually be able to move them up to 60 cm or 2 feet. I recommend you continue striking at 100 repetitions. You should occasionally add 5 pounds or so of weight to each bag. The author does not give a recommendation, so I would say either once a month or whenever you can hit the bags 2 feet in the air. Whenever you are hitting a weight of 25 kg or about 55 pounds 2 feet into the air for 100 repetitions, you will have reached mastership of this skill. At this point the strength of your arms, shoulders, and elbows will have increased tremendously, allowing you to beat of enemy attacks with ease, deliver powerful strikes, and "stop (falling, rolling) stones." I'm not sure of all of the claims, but you will definitely have some well-developed shoulders.
That's all for today! Until next time, good luck and train hard!