Using just the skill and discipline of Karate, are you able to crush a coconut just by squeezing it? With Kung Fu as your martial art, can you take a shoot of bamboo and twist it until it breaks? With the ancient discipline of Shaolin, can you grab a man by the arm and, with a light squeeze, bring him to his knees?

If you aren’t able to accomplish the things I have just listed, and you study any of the martial arts I have mentioned, or other similar arts, then you should be wondering what is wrong with your martial art. After all, martial artists in ancient times could do these, and other tricks, and make them look simple. That said, let me introduce you to an Iron Grip…using an ancient training method.

One would think that an Iron Grip depends upon muscle that is hard and thick, but, there aren’t many muscles in the hands. Truth, the muscles that make the hands work are usually located in the lower arms. And, yes, you are going to need iron muscles in those lower arms.

To begin this method of training, make sure that you are in good condition. I would recommend doing the kata called Sanchin, and doing it with lots of dynamic tension and sinking the weight into the ground. The power of the imagination must be strengthened through a firm reliance upon this simple discipline.

Now, this training method is incredibly simple, but must be done every single day, and for long, boring hours. If you want the Iron Grip of the ancients you’ve got to be willing to pay the price. So if you are one of these namby pambies who think that going to a class a week makes you an expert, you can leave off reading right now.

You must schedule at least an hour a day for this exercise, and you must adhere to that schedule without fail. Second, you must be able to find a certain fascination of intent during the course of that hour. You must fall in love with the long, slow breaths, and you must trust in the method I am about to prescribe.

Assume a Sanchin stance and suspend two mason jars in front of you. Your arms should have a slight bend to them, and you should use only the fingertips for gripping the jars. For the first month the jars should be empty, for the second month add an inch of sand and hold a high horse stance. Increase the inches monthly after that, and lower the stance until you are in a low horse stance.

And, when you have filled the jar, you must begin the procedure all over again with an empty jar, but in a deep stance, and grease the lip of the jar. Now, some of you think I am kidding, and you are the ones who are going to talk the talk, but never walk the walk, and certainly never discover the mysteries of the martial arts, nor fulfill your potential. For those of you who are willing to find the depths of The True Art, however, and are willing to plumb your depths through Karate or Kung Fu or Shaolin, I offer this profound article.


Al Case has delved into martial arts for forty+ years. He has been a professional writer for the martial arts magazines. He has delved into a variety of martial arts and training methods, and you can sample them, starting with an absolutely free ebook, at Monster Martial Arts.

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