Stand in the Wing Chun neutral stance, take a deep breath, drawing in the thought of relaxation. Hold the breath for a moment before breathing out and releasing all the excess tension in you body. Repaet the process until you feel light and relaxed. Close your eyes and sink your awareness to your depth point/centre of gravity located 1 & 1/2 inches below your belly button and 40% in towards your spine. Hold your awareness at this point for a minute or so. Block out any other thoughts that protrude into your mind, keeping totally focussed on your centre. This exercise serves several purposes, the first of which is to strengthen the concentration, the second is to clear the mind and prepare oneself mentally before training, the third is to center and harmonise the mind.
Gently breathe in through the nose, but rather than expanding your upper diaphragm, expand the lower diaphragm and belly region, centring the expansion from your depth point/centre of gravity. Gently sink the breath into your depth point, focusing on the conversion of breath to chi energy manifesting itself through the feeling of heat. As you begin to get into the breathing rhythm, visualise a ball of fiery energy beginning to build in the depth point. Keep expanding this ball of energy for several minutes, not exceeding 10 minutes.
Gently raise your arms up in front of your centre as if you were holding a basket ball. Take a breath and sink the breath into the depth point, but this time transfer the chi from the breath with the ball of fire into the space between your hands. As the ball of fiery energy begins to heat the hands, continue to focus completely inside the ball of energy, building it up with each breath. Avoid letting your mind stray from the space between your hands. With each in-breath expand your hands outwards enlarging the ball by an inch or two. With each out-breath compress your hands inwards by an inch or two. This will compress the chi in the ball, increasing its strength. Continue to build the ball for several minutes.
Now that the ball has become a reality and can be physically sensed through the feeling of heat, magnetism, static and other similar sensations you may begin to play with it. Move the ball down the forearm as if one hand were grasping it and pushing it into the centre of the forearm. You may experience a static feeling on the hairs of your arms or a feeling of heat. Each persons' experience will be individual and unique due to their individuality and feelings. Repeat this process on the other arm. Now bring the ball back to the centre of the hands. Form a claw shape in each hand and compress the ball between the two claw hands, bouncing the hands in and out. You will begin to notice the energy arcing across your fingers from one hand to the other. Move your fingers and notice the sensations within the joints. Bring the palms back inwards, facing each other. Compress the force until your hands are about 2 inches apart. Now begin to compress the force inwards without moving your hands any closer together, using your will power to push inwards until it feels like you have a plate of steel between your hands. Relax, releasing your will and let the force meld into your hands. A feeling of heaviness will now exist within your hands. You are now ready to commence iron palm training, or whatever work out you have planned.
At the end of your session it is important to release the excess energy out of your body to prevent an energy burn out. Take a deep breath, gently raising your hands up in front of you, and as you breath out, drop your arms in a swinging action, allowing the excess energy to flow out of your finger tips into the air. Repeat this process until your body feels light and refreshed.
Sifu Rasmus has been practicing Martial arts since the Mid-70's, starting his training in Karate before moving through several different styles, eventually discovering Wing Chun in the mid-80's. Sifu Rasmus has focused his energy over the last 10 years on developing an internal approach to Wing Chun. All his articles are based on his experiences and development, and are not claimed to be traditional, even though many of the principles are traditional concepts. Sifu Rasmus teaches on the Gold Coast in Australia and is available for seminars globally. You may e-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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