Grandmaster Lam Sai Wing, a well-known master of Hung Gar kung fu in recent times, demonstrating “Separate Gold Fists” in the Iron Wire set. He looks quite fit and healthy, not at all banged up from his training. Image taken from http://www.shaolin.org
In June 2013, someone on the G+ Martial Artist forum noted that he was doing “tree toughening” exercises and asked for our opinions on the exercise. Here was my response:
Are you swinging your arms, legs into the tree and striking your body against a tree? Provided you follow the correct method and gradual progression, you’ll eventually develop what kung fu people call Iron Arm, Iron Leg, Iron Vest, Iron Head, and so forth, depending on the conditioning you do.
Since I live pretty far away from my master (Illinois versus Florida), I can’t exactly pack my bags and take regular classes from him, so I learn what I can at regional or intensive seminars and take it back home to practice. My master’s regular classes oscillate between the two major structures I’ve seen in the martial arts schools I’ve attended:
Even though I haven’t lived my “real life” for very long yet (I graduated last week, woo), I’ve come to realize something: the most important lessons I have ever had transmitted to me by my amazing teachers have been the first and the last one. This has held true in virtually every facet of my life: school, research, martial arts, cooking, and my various jobs.