Bruce Lee’s Iron Palm & Iron Finger’s connections Pt. 1/2

Bruce Lee’s Iron Palm & Iron Finger’s connections Pt. 1/2

LJF
Joined: December 6th, 2014, 3:05 am

August 13th, 2016, 10:43 am #1

Iron Palm Kung Fu
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Iron Palm or Iron hand Kung Fu is one of the 72 arts of the Shaolin temple. As the name implies, it is practiced using the iron shots and belongs to the category of external style or so-called “hard chi-kung.” Besides Shaolin (aka Sil Lum) Iron Palm, there are several other styles of Iron Palm Kung Fu like Ku’s style (Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung), Five Sea’s style and Wu Dang’s style.

The Iron Palm (aka Iron Sand Palm) is done with a simultaneous coordination of a physical hand strike coupled with the use and intent of the mind (Yi). There are 5 traditional hand strikes in Iron Palm: 1) The whole cupped hand 2) The finger tips 3) The knife edge 4) The bottom edge of the palm 5) The rear of the hand. Iron Palm can be used in a variety of open or close hand strikes. Practitioner often demonstrate his abilities by breaking hard objects like thick boards, bricks, coconuts, stones and even steel objects with his bare hands rapidly without sustaining injury. Highly skilled Iron Palm practitioner could deliver very powerful blows causing serious injury to his opponent. Hence, unless necessary, practitioners will refrain from using this devastating hand technique.

Did Bruce learn Iron Palm?
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As seen from see from some of his Iron Palm training photos and according to Bruce himself, he did learn Iron Palm Kung Fu from James Y. Lee (circa 1962) personally and also self-learnt from his own Iron Palm manual (by Master Yuen Chor-Choy). Moreover, Iron Palm training methods can also be found in Praying Mantis and many other southern styles Kung Fu training as well. Bruce who had trained in Praying Mantis should have been introduced to Iron Palm way before James Y. Lee taught him this skill. In one of the Bruce’s handwritten notes on Iron Palm, he wrote there are 3 types of strikes, i.e. “1) Stamping palm which generates the “kin” (internal force) from the diaphragm and applies it to the wrist before striking; full concentration is required; 2) Cutting/Slicing Palm – same as above; 3) Biu Jee (finger jab) – strike with the fingers.” Bruce also illustrated his iron hands’ training and understanding in two of his own drawings. The first one depicted an iron palm striking an elastic object. Bruce wrote, “Firm yet not hard; Soft yet not yielding…the direction of flowing energy etc.” The second one depicted a man holding unto the iron bar and Bruce wrote, “Be like an iron bar and you will be lifted!!!”

Bruce wanted to increase the range of his arsenals so as to leverage his fighting ability against his opponent in street-fighting. As a keen young martial arts practitioner, he was eager to explore all kinds of martial arts. Hence, he was pleased to master this hand striking system from James Y. Lee. James himself learnt Shaolin (Sil Lum) Kung Fu from Master T. Y. Wong in San Francisco for 4 years. He later became well known for his Iron Palm specialty, and would routinely break bricks at demonstrations. James was the first to publish an Iron Palm book in America in 1957 and the book title was “Iron Poison Hand Training Book 1 (Break Brick in 100 Days).” The book cover was the photo of his top student Al Novak (1924-2011) breaking a stack of bricks. Novak was one of the first white Americans who mastered Iron Palm Kung Fu in the 50s.

James Y. Lee’s Shaolin (Sil Lum) Iron Palm
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The Iron Palm Kung Fu which James Y. Lee (1920-1972) learnt belonged to Shaolin (Sil Lum) style. Shaolin Iron Palm is practiced through using of iron shots together with the application of Iron Palm liniment/ Dit Da Jow as the conditioning supplement. Through consistent training, practitioner could use his Iron Palm to break bricks, rocks and other hard objects. Eventually, the skin of the practitioner’s palm usually will get thicker, his bones become harden, and both his tendons and ligaments also get firmer.

James taught Bruce Iron Palm and provided him some bodybuilding tips (with Allen Joe’s guidance too) which Bruce picked up diligently. Bruce soon built a body with well-defined muscles and more significantly, his resilience and explosive power became increasingly greater. Consequently, this enhanced Bruce’s close range fighting ability tremendously. Talking about Iron Palm, one cannot help but to mention about the Iron Palm Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheong whom Bruce respected a lot. He had even kept a photo and brief profile of Grandmaster Ku in his personal Kung Fu scrapbook.

Iron Palm Grandmaster – Ku Yu-Cheung (1894-1952)
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Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung was famous for his Iron Palm Kung Fu. However, his palm was soft and different from many of the swollen palms’ Iron Palm practitioners. Grandmaster Ku’s Iron Palm was able to generate tremendous force and break hard rocks and steel easily. Many witnesses from Canton once saw Grandmaster Ku hit a stack of 14 bricks with his Iron Palm. To the astonishment of the witnesses, only the top and the bottom bricks remain undamaged while the rest of the 12 bricks in-between were all broken into pieces. The penetration power, strength of his palm and his ability to control the breaking were truly shocking and amazing.

In fact, Grandmaster Ku had already developed his Iron Palm and Iron Body (Shaolin Shield of Golden Bell Kung Fu) techniques with his Chi development. He once withstood three horse kicks using his Iron Body breathing techniques and suffered no injuries. Then, he slapped the horse on the back with his Iron Palm and killed the horse on the spot. When the horse was autopsied, it was found that all the internal organs had been ruptured. This is actually the high level of Iron Palm called the Cinnabar Palm (aka Red Sand Palm, an internal style, Soft Nai Kung), which is well-known for its penetration power through objects. It was said that, if the technique was applied by a Master, whilst no external evidence of any strike being made would be initially apparent, bright red palm marks would appear on the victim's body gradually after 3 days. Subsequently, death would ensue after approximately 10-15 days caused by damage to the internal organs. However, only very few people have mastered this deadly Soft Palm Kung Fu.

Iron Palm’s family
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One of Grandmaster Ku’s top students was Master Yim Shan-Wu who later became the Sifu of Wong Jack Man in HK. Master Yim used to travel with Grandmaster Ku for martial arts performance and was his partner in the demonstration of bricking bricks. There were photos of them doing the demonstration together. This implies that the masters of Wong Jack Man and Bruce Lee actually belonged to the same family as both practiced Iron Palm Kung Fu. It was also a coincidence that both of their Iron Palm masters bore the same Chinese surname, Yim/ Yimm (same characters in Chinese. Yim Shan-Wu and Yimm Keng-Hoi (James Y. Lee’s full Chinese name)). In this sense, James Lee should be considered the elder or Si-suk of Wong Jack-Man. If Wong Jack Man had known about this connection earlier, and based on the customs and rules of the Chinese pugilist world, Wong should have avoided the fight with Bruce out of respect for his Si-suk. Furthermore, if Wong knew that Bruce was also the student of Jing Mo’s Master Siu Hon-San, and therefore both belonged to the same family, i.e. Jing Mo Athlete Association (both were descendents of Great Grandmaster Fok Yuen-Kap), then, the clash between them probably might have been avoided. However, Wong who had then, just arrived in the U.S. had no knowledge of the above matters. Thus, it was destined the fight was unavoidable and history could not be reversed.

Photos of Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung: https://postimg.org/image/t1gc98m5t/

The difference between Bruce’s Iron Palm and other masters’
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Unlike some Iron Palm masters whose palms look like big puffy bun due to striking of hard objects over a long period of time, Bruce’s hand which had undergone similar trainings remained indifferent from ordinary people. The same goes to James Y. Lee. Besides proper conditioning, the use of appropriate internal force in striking is also crucial. If Bruce was able to break hard objects like bricks, cobblestone and thick boards etc. it was no doubt that he had mastered the Iron Palm Kung Fu. The reason why Bruce’s hands were different from other Iron Palm Masters might be due to the fact that Bruce had mastered skill that resembled the higher level Iron Palm Kung Fu, i.e. Cinnabar Palm, which requires the use of internal force (“kin”) and not external force (“lik”). Yet, the mastering of Cinnabar Palm usually takes a longer time than Iron Palm, normally 5-15 years. Thus, there were no clear evidences that show Bruce had mastered this skill. Another possibility was Bruce might have integrated the essence of various Palm techniques into his own palm’s training program plus the herbal liniment conditioning, which he eventually attained the desired result.

When we observe Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung’s palm, we could also see that his hand, similar to Bruce, was small but not engorged. This is the difference between the advanced level and the ordinary level Iron Palm. Ordinary Iron Palm applies external strength (“lik”) unto the limb to strike the surface of the object. The more one practices, the more abnormal and bloated the hands would become. Though the giant palm may looks great but one will suffer long-term pains as age catches up.

“Yin” & “Yang” Palm
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Grandmaster Ku Yu Cheung was a big believer in Ying and Yang in his martial arts practice which led to his mastery of the external and internal arts. Basically, there are 2 categories of Palm, i.e. Yin & Yang Palm. Iron Pam (aka Iron Sand Palm) falls into the category “Yang” while Cinnabar Palm (Red Sand Palm) belongs to the category “Yin”. Both varied in their training methods and effects. Iron Palm is considered the hard (external) Shaolin Chi Kung, whereas Cinnabar Palm is viewed as the soft (internal) Shaolin Kung Fu. Whereas Iron Palm hits on the surface and leaves no trace behind, Cinnabar Palm penetrates the surface and usually leaves a red palm mark behind.

Another point to note about Bruce’s Iron Palm was that he revised the striking method by generating the 1-3 Inch power to incorporate with the Iron Palm’s internal force. Notice from the photo that the curve shape of Bruce’s palm hitting the bricks. Unlike Bruce, most of the Iron Palm masters normally raise their palms above their head to generate force before striking the object. Bruce just broke the object with his hand extended within inches away and he had never raised his palm above his head. This is similar to the Cinnabar Palm’s strike, which also resembled Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung’s style.

From Iron Palm training to JKD’s Biu Jee (JKD-BJ)
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Nevertheless, in actual fighting, using great internal power strike alone is not enough. One needs to be good in other departments such as punching, kicking, jabbing, footwork, balance etc. Bruce once told Canadian host, Pierre Berton that, “…we use everything, not just the hand!...When you’re talking about fighting…with no rules, well baby, you’d better train every part of your body!”

Iron Palm is good at striking stationery object but in real fighting, it may not be ideal to strike moving objects. It needs the coordination of feinting, footwork etc. in order to work effectively. Hence, Bruce who had trained in Iron Palm (circa 1962-1965), probably had merged the training methods of Iron Palm with his Wing Chun Biu Jee (WC-BJ), and practiced the power and precision of his fingers (refer to his training/demo, photos circa 1966-1973). Nevertheless, Bruce did not totally discard Iron Palm instead he retained some of its training methods and incorporated them into his Jun Fun Kung Fu’s (later JKD) training.

Biu Jee’s (BJ’s) training inspired by Iron Palm
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Bruce was a visionary martial arts practitioner and he revolutionized the ways which he trained his body and limbs. He probably was inspired by the Iron Palm training and revised some of the ways to develop his finger jab’s (Biu Jee’s) power. As seen from the photos, during training, Bruce would punch his fingers into the sand/ gravel box, poked his fingers at the finger jab leather belt, held the gripping device etc. This was rarely seen in the training of U.S. martial artists in the 60’s. But Bruce did. These all showed that he was very particular about using every part of his body as his weapons in the course of fighting.

Bruce had toughened his palms and fingers due to his training of Iron Palm and JKD’s Biu Jee (JKD-BJ) but his hands were not out of shape (Note: To toughen his fist, Bruce also had a habit of hitting the chairs, tables, lamppost etc since young). They still looked great and at the same time possessed the firmness and resilience. If Bruce had not died, he might have 100% mastered Jing Mo Jee (JMJ; aka Iron Finger). He once told Tony To Wai-Tung, Iron Finger could poke through the opponent’s body if it is fully mastered. This reminds us about the final scene in “The Big Boss” where he fought the triad boss and killed him by jabbing his fingers into his body violently.

So, did Bruce JKD’s Biu Jee (JKD-BJ; circa 1967) ultimately transform into Jing Mo Jee (JMJ; circa 1973)?

Photos of Bruce’s Iron Palm: https://postimg.org/image/ikomlgahx/

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LJF
Joined: December 6th, 2014, 3:05 am

August 13th, 2016, 10:45 am #2

The Existence of Jing Mo Jee (aka Iron Finger)
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According to Tony To Wai-Tung, senior media man and ex-GH promotion manager, he personally witnessed Bruce performed his Jing Mo Jee or Iron finger Kung Fu in an unofficial foreign press’ gathering at a HK country club. Bruce told Tony To he was developing “Jing Mo Jee (JMJ),” a term he coined or simply known as the “Iron finger Kung Fu.” (Jing Mo literally means Proficient in Martial Arts; it is also the famous name of Jing Mo School founded by Grandmaster Fok Yuen-Kap’s) Bruce said his 1-3 inch punch would generate force within a very short distance but if he mastered this JMJ Kung Fu, his finger would be like a bullet firing out from the gun and could jab through a person’s chest. He continued explaining that he was learning to poke through an aluminum beer can (note: the can was much thicker in the early days). Bruce told him it was no easy task to accomplish because if the can is empty it would not be able to take on or absorb the force of the jab and would be thrown back once it was jabbed. However, if the can was unopened, the force inside would be strong. Another consideration was if the finger poked through the can, the flesh on both sides of the finger would roll up and the finger would be seriously injured. Hence, Bruce was still thinking on how to poke through the target without hurting his own fingers.

Upon explanation, Tony To then witnessed Bruce demonstrated his new skill in front of the eye-watchers. He put a can of unopened beer on the table and clenched his fist for a couple of seconds in order to generate the internal force (Chi). Suddenly, he held his finger out and thrust forward vehemently. “Bang!” The beer can flew backwards and hit the opposite wall. Luckily, it was a wall not a mirror otherwise the beer can would have exploded and cracked the mirror. Tony To picked up the beer can and found Bruce did not poked through the can but there was an at least half an inch hollow on the dented can. Tony To thought in fighting, even if the finger did not jab through the chest but it would surely hit the vital pressure point and stop the opponent from breathing. This force is really incredible. Bruce said he needed some more time to master this deadly technique.

In another similar incident, HK stuntman Steve Lee Kar-Ting witnessed Bruce’s JMJ. It happened that one day, Bruce, Steve and a few other stuntmen went to a night club. When he arrived, the people there were all so excited and wanted Bruce to demonstrate something special and had yet been shown before. Bruce agreed and got someone to get him a can of unopened sweetened condensed milk. It was “Eagle Brand and in those days, the milk can was made of hard steel which was much thicker than the ones we saw today. Bruce stood up and gradually raised his right hand with his finger jab resembled a spear. He placed his finger jab a few inches away from the milk can. After several seconds, his fingers suddenly hit the milk can like a bullet. “Bang!” Bruce withdrew his fingers in a nick of moment. The force of his jab was so powerful that the milk can was thrown backward and then hit the wall. The cover of the can was forced opened slightly and some milk seeped out and spilled over the place. All the people who witnessed Bruce’s amazing feat were all stunned! Though there’s no hole but a deep hollow was found on the can where he hit. Surprisingly, Bruce’s finger was totally unhurt. It was truly spectacular!

Like Bruce always said, “The strike must be fast, accurate and powerful.” His new iron finger Kung Fu or JMJ basically showed them all. After Bruce’s death, Steve Lee said he tried to master this iron finger Kung Fu by himself for 10 years but was unsuccessful.

The Myth of Jing Mo Jee (JMJ)
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Tony To pointed out that after Bruce’s death, movies, magazines and books had exaggerated Bruce’s Jing Mo Jee (JMJ). A very good example was the movie, “Bruce’s Deadly Finger” starring Bruce Le, Nora Miao and Wong Shun Leung. In this film, Bruce Le was the student of Bruce Lee who returned from the U.S. to retrieve his late Sifu’s secret manual, “Jing Mo Jee.”(JMJ) Bruce Le imitated Bruce Lee and used his newly learnt JMJ to do a lot of crazy stuff like poking through the Cola can with his index finger, hitting the wooden dummy, striking the vital points rag dummy and killing his enemies with the iron finger. Apart from this movie, another film, “Bruce Lee, The Man & The Myth” also showed Bruce Li imitating Bruce Lee in using electrical training devices to practice his JMJe. This high-tech electrical training device still looked advanced even till today. In this movie, Bruce Li vowed to master JMJ. These scenes lent themselves to audience’s allusions to Bruce Lee’s JMJ.

Furthermore, there were some 70’s Bruce Lee’s special magazines that featured Bruce’s Iron Finger Kung Fu. One of them called “Jing Mo Jee” which published several Bruce’s own drawings of the human’s head and vital body parts. The claims of attacking targets using the JMJ, a deadly touch Kung Fu seem ridiculous and amusing. These were not any great martial arts manuals but only some greedy publishers who attempted to cash in on Bruce’s reputation after his death. Although Bruce’s students in the U.S. denied any knowledge about JMJ but according to one Bruce’s Wing Chun’s brother, Koo Sang, JMJe appeared in the scene at the last stage of Bruce’s life in HK which was no wonder his U.S. students were unaware of it. Further witnesses of JMJ include Bruce’s stuntmen, co-workers, pressmen and Tony To.

Near the end of his life, Bruce was still practicing JMJ. However, due to his untimely death, it was not as prominent as his JKD kicks, 1-3 inch punch, nunchaku skills etc. In his surviving martial arts notes, there were also not much specific writings about JMJ and its training methods. This might mainly due to Bruce’s busy filming schedule in HK. Many Bruce’s fans were mesmerized by the myth of JMJ, which in fact, was nothing special but just a kind of advanced level finger jab Kung Fu. Frankly, it is meaningless to pursue the myth of JMJ and ignore the learning of the martial arts as a whole. Just like Bruce once said in ETD, “Don’t concentrate on the finger, or you’ll miss all that heavenly glory.”

From Wing Chun’s Biu Jee (WC-BJ) to JKD Biu Jee (JKD-BJ)
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Though Bruce was Ip Man’s student but most of the time, he was trained under his Siheng, Wong Shun-Leung. So, Bruce’s Wing Chun Kung Fu was more closely related to Wong’s Wing Chun Kung Fu as compared to other Ip’s students. Bruce learnt many Wing Chun skills from Wong. Some of JKD’s techniques were also originated from Wing Chun. For instance, JKD 1-3 inch punch was originated from Wing Chun’s Jat-zi Power Punch and Bruce’s JKD Biu Jee (JKD-BJ) was originated from Wing Chun’s Biu Jee (WC-BJ). The only difference about Jing Mo Jee (JMJ) is that it is no longer the traditional form of WC-BJ, and is completely different from JKD-BJ attacking method. It is able to bring out the implicit or innate qualities of the martial arts as a whole.

The name of WC-BJ was derived from the Shaolin’s Buddhist scripture. In the scripture, there is a phrase that mentioned the Biu Jee (BJ) to the Moon. It roughly means that when the finger is pointing to the moon, one’s own eyesight is being blocked by his own finger and thus, not able to see the full moon. In other words, in our life, we should look far and not let our view be obstructed by any obstacles. Do not be over steadfast instead we should possess a great vision ahead. Also, in Wing Chun’s Siu Nam Tau, there is this technique called Biu Jee (BJ) or finger jab, i.e. both hands extend forward with the fingers pointing ahead and reach the level of the eyes. Many people view BJ as a very brutal or vicious technique that would blind the opponents. It is the last set among the 3 sets of Wing Chun Kung Fu and therefore, some practitioners think that it is the best set among the rest. Bruce revised WC-BJ and made it into a flexible attacking and defending tool during fighting. So, it became the so-called JKD-BJ later on.

An extension - From JKD’s Biu Jee (JKD-BJ) to Jing Mo Jee (JMJ)
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If JKD’s Biu Jee (JKD-BJ) is originated from Wing Chun Biu Jee (WC-BJ), then Jing Mo Jee (JMJ) is an extension of JKD’s Biu Jee (JKD-BJ). Actually, JMJ is very similar to JKD’s BJ in terms of training methods, attacks and defense in fighting. The only difference is that it is more brutal and devastating than JKD-BJ. JKD-BJ only strikes the eyes of the opponents whereas JMJ not only could finger jab the eyes but also hit many vital parts of the body including the chest, stomach, throat, head, temple, nasal bridge, philtrum, groin etc. If the force of JKD-BJ is like a flying spear, then the force of JMJ is like a bullet firing off the gun. Actually, JMJ bears resemblance to the Shaolin One finger Zen (Yat Jee Chan), an incredible one finger Kung Fu.

JMJ strike is similar to JKD-BJ and Bruce once said, “To protect yourself from damaging your fingers, if you should ever miss and hit a hard object like the head or a bone of your enemy. Learn to form your hand properly. Align the tip of your hand by slightly bending the longer fingers to adjust to the shorter and tuck your thumb in. Your hand should resemble a spear.” Bruce would always make his BJ “aim like a spear” and “strike like a snake.”

JMJ and JKD-BJ, like the knee side-kick, are the first line in offense or defense. It allows you an additional 3 or 4 inches in reach and provides a fast strike because it travels only a short distance to the target. Both the BJ is usually executed from an on-guard position. Just before thrusting, the fingers of your striking hand should be extended. The BJ is the fastest attacking weapon available to you and it is also the longest hand weapon accessible to you. Since you do not clench your fist but have your fingers extended, you add several more inches to your reach. The jab is a threatening and dangerous weapon to the adversary because it does so much damage and is so difficult to defend against.

JKD-BJ & JMJ In Combat
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In “Bruce Lee’s Fighting Method,” it reiterates that to attack a skilled fighter with a JKD-BJ is quite difficult. Similarly, JMJ addresses this concern. Thus, JMJ should be used with a feint first. For instance, try to feint low by crouching slightly and moved forward as if to attack the opponent’s midsection. This would cause the opponent to lower his guarding or rear hand. As soon as the opening developed, quickly thrust your fingers into the opponent’s eyes and other vital parts of the body. A feint is a preliminary motion to entice your opponent to react. You draw him to parry to a particular lines and then you deliver an attack in another line or path.

In combat, the leading JKD-BJ and JMJ are both good defensive and countering weapons to stop an attack before it unfolds and as a consequence, it frustrates your opponent. As Bruce said, “It is easy to employ and is so quick, that the opponent gets it in his eye before he can deliver his punch. It is thrown with your fingers outstretched, an added extension of your hand. It is also a good stop-hit weapon and you should use it at every opportunity during the course of fighting. It enables you not only to score effectively and create openings but it can quickly demoralize an aggressive opponent.”

In offense, it is used to keep the opponent off balance and to create openings for more punishing blows. In defense, it is an effective maneuver to stop or meet an attack. For example, you can “beat your opponent to the punch” by throwing a quick jab to his face just as he is about to launch an attack. It can also be delivered from an extended arm to “stiff-arm” or keep your opponent at a distance – prevent him from close-in fighting. JKD-BJ is mostly focused on the face because it lacks force and does little damage to the body. It is a weaker, pestering stroke, good for a stratagem. It is thrown with looseness in your arm and a snap before impact. On the contrary, JMJ which is stronger and could cause much damage to the body, focused on the vital parts of the body as described earlier on.

The Internal Power of JMJ
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In his teenage years in HK, Bruce appreciated the power of Yi-Chuen and Liu-He-Ba-Fa Chuen (aka Water Boxing or Six Harmonies Eight Ways Boxing). He then learnt many internal style theories from Grandmaster Liang Zi-Peng (1900-1974), an internal style Kung Fu master. Bruce also studied extensively on the two books given by Grandmaster Liang, i.e. “Ortohodox Zimen Style” and “Chang Nai-Zhou's Boxing Manual.” It is because of comprehending the internal arts principle and theories, and through self-learning the inner martial arts, Bruce was able to execute his JKD tools with devastating power which was totally different from other martial arts practitioners.

Since Bruce practiced “Ngang Gung” or “Chi Gung,” he was thus, able to generate such an enormous power given his small body frame. If One-Inch Punch was derived and improved from Wing Chun’s “Jat-zi Power Punch,” then like his invented Accupunch/kick, JMJ was Bruce’s own developed personal weapon that could destroy the opponent instantly.

Training methods of JMJ
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As illustrated in “Bruce Lee’s Fighting Method,” there are many ways in JKD’s BJ training which puts a light on JMJ too. Speed, timing and power are crucial in executing BJ. Bruce said, “To develop speed in the finger jab, you need a great deal of practice and most of this will be the result if your own initiative. Speed relies on economy of motion and the jab is one technique with which you have the opportunity to experiment. The jab, like all the blows in JKD, must thrust forward without any retracting motion. It is like a snake darting at its prey without warning.”

“The more hours you spend in speed hitting, the faster your hands will travel, as times goes by. Like the boxer who whips out his hand while jobbing, you must also take solitary training seriously. One excellent training device for this is the paper target. It is so inexpensive and easy to construct and yet very valuable to anyone who wants to enhance his speed in jabbing.” Besides the paper target, Bruce used to practice on a thick leather strip to toughen his fingers. He also worked heavily on the bouncing head dummy which is excellent for finger jabbing. The head is padded and resilient, to take any hard blows. Bruce said, “It gives when struck but is solid enough to harden the fingers. Although the wooden dummy is too solid to jab your fingers into, it is a valuable apparatus with which to practice the finger jab combination. It presents almost a real-life opponent with its arms outstretched and its leg impeding your approach.”

HK Stuntman Steve Lee Kar-Ting personally witnessed Bruce did his JMJ training by jabbing the A4 size paper and bouncing head dummy continuously for 3 hours. In addition, to practice his JMJ, when Bruce was having his breakfast, he would usually eat with one hand and clenched the newspapers with the other hand. The fingers kept scrunching until the newspaper became crumple and ultimately crushed into bits and pieces. After he crumbled the newspaper with his left fingers, he would then do the same with his right fingers. He kept switching his hands each time he crushed the newspaper into bits and pieces.

Furthermore, Bruce would train his finger strength by using grip training devices custom made by George Lee. Bruce also jabbed fingers at the iron shots, hit on the punching pad, and toughening his fingers using wall canvas bags or train with a sand or gravel box. Other supplementary exercise includes finger push-ups. But it should be done first with clenched fists. Place the knuckles of your index finger and the two small fingers on a hard floor so your palms face each other. This is an excellent exercise for beginners as they can gradually toughen their knuckles without risk of injury. Later, increase the difficulty by doing five fingers push up with one arm and gradually reduce the number of fingers. As we all know, Bruce could do two fingers push up with one arm for many times. It was no wonder that his students and friends ever commented that Bruce’s fingers were hard like steel when he applied the force. An interesting note is that Bruce’s 2 fingers push-up skill strike a resemblance to to Shaolin 2 Fingers Zen. However, the former uses the thumb and index finger while the latter uses the index and middle-finger. Research also showed Bruce probably might have self-learnt Siong Style “Yi Jin Jing,” a kind of Shaolin internal arts because both the fingers’ push-up training looked almost the same.

“Tao” of Martial Arts
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After Bruce’s death, a rectangular iron wire frame attached with a stack of A4 size papers was found hanging in Bruce’s training room. The surface of the papers was full of finger jabbing traces. Also, there were two small finger holes that were believed to be poked through using the internal force (“kin”) from a close distance. These were most likely left behind by Bruce who was practicing his Iron finger while he was alive. From here we can see, though Bruce had attained his fame and fortune, yet he had never stopped his martial arts training until his death. Also, he was continuously evolving and creating new ways of training his skills. Hopefully, this kind of fighting spirit could be an inspiration to all martial arts practitioners.

As for JMJ, before analyzing this skill, one should try to look at the entire spectrum of Bruce’s martial arts and its evolution in general — from Wing Chun to Jun Fan Kung Fu and ultimately to JKD. In the process of researching and analyzing JMJ one should make use of his wisdom and understanding towards Kung Fu and not just through blindly experiments. It should not be bounded by the circle of JMJ, instead, one should walk out of the circle of JMJ to appreciate the core-essence of other martial arts and then review JMJ. This is not just about a skill but also the “Tao” of Martial Arts.

Photos of JKD-BJ & JMJ: https://postimg.org/image/fjw2kh62d/

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Stephen C.
Stephen C.

August 13th, 2016, 1:56 pm #3

Iron Palm Kung Fu
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Iron Palm or Iron hand Kung Fu is one of the 72 arts of the Shaolin temple. As the name implies, it is practiced using the iron shots and belongs to the category of external style or so-called “hard chi-kung.” Besides Shaolin (aka Sil Lum) Iron Palm, there are several other styles of Iron Palm Kung Fu like Ku’s style (Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung), Five Sea’s style and Wu Dang’s style.

The Iron Palm (aka Iron Sand Palm) is done with a simultaneous coordination of a physical hand strike coupled with the use and intent of the mind (Yi). There are 5 traditional hand strikes in Iron Palm: 1) The whole cupped hand 2) The finger tips 3) The knife edge 4) The bottom edge of the palm 5) The rear of the hand. Iron Palm can be used in a variety of open or close hand strikes. Practitioner often demonstrate his abilities by breaking hard objects like thick boards, bricks, coconuts, stones and even steel objects with his bare hands rapidly without sustaining injury. Highly skilled Iron Palm practitioner could deliver very powerful blows causing serious injury to his opponent. Hence, unless necessary, practitioners will refrain from using this devastating hand technique.

Did Bruce learn Iron Palm?
====================
As seen from see from some of his Iron Palm training photos and according to Bruce himself, he did learn Iron Palm Kung Fu from James Y. Lee (circa 1962) personally and also self-learnt from his own Iron Palm manual (by Master Yuen Chor-Choy). Moreover, Iron Palm training methods can also be found in Praying Mantis and many other southern styles Kung Fu training as well. Bruce who had trained in Praying Mantis should have been introduced to Iron Palm way before James Y. Lee taught him this skill. In one of the Bruce’s handwritten notes on Iron Palm, he wrote there are 3 types of strikes, i.e. “1) Stamping palm which generates the “kin” (internal force) from the diaphragm and applies it to the wrist before striking; full concentration is required; 2) Cutting/Slicing Palm – same as above; 3) Biu Jee (finger jab) – strike with the fingers.” Bruce also illustrated his iron hands’ training and understanding in two of his own drawings. The first one depicted an iron palm striking an elastic object. Bruce wrote, “Firm yet not hard; Soft yet not yielding…the direction of flowing energy etc.” The second one depicted a man holding unto the iron bar and Bruce wrote, “Be like an iron bar and you will be lifted!!!”

Bruce wanted to increase the range of his arsenals so as to leverage his fighting ability against his opponent in street-fighting. As a keen young martial arts practitioner, he was eager to explore all kinds of martial arts. Hence, he was pleased to master this hand striking system from James Y. Lee. James himself learnt Shaolin (Sil Lum) Kung Fu from Master T. Y. Wong in San Francisco for 4 years. He later became well known for his Iron Palm specialty, and would routinely break bricks at demonstrations. James was the first to publish an Iron Palm book in America in 1957 and the book title was “Iron Poison Hand Training Book 1 (Break Brick in 100 Days).” The book cover was the photo of his top student Al Novak (1924-2011) breaking a stack of bricks. Novak was one of the first white Americans who mastered Iron Palm Kung Fu in the 50s.

James Y. Lee’s Shaolin (Sil Lum) Iron Palm
================================
The Iron Palm Kung Fu which James Y. Lee (1920-1972) learnt belonged to Shaolin (Sil Lum) style. Shaolin Iron Palm is practiced through using of iron shots together with the application of Iron Palm liniment/ Dit Da Jow as the conditioning supplement. Through consistent training, practitioner could use his Iron Palm to break bricks, rocks and other hard objects. Eventually, the skin of the practitioner’s palm usually will get thicker, his bones become harden, and both his tendons and ligaments also get firmer.

James taught Bruce Iron Palm and provided him some bodybuilding tips (with Allen Joe’s guidance too) which Bruce picked up diligently. Bruce soon built a body with well-defined muscles and more significantly, his resilience and explosive power became increasingly greater. Consequently, this enhanced Bruce’s close range fighting ability tremendously. Talking about Iron Palm, one cannot help but to mention about the Iron Palm Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheong whom Bruce respected a lot. He had even kept a photo and brief profile of Grandmaster Ku in his personal Kung Fu scrapbook.

Iron Palm Grandmaster – Ku Yu-Cheung (1894-1952)
=======================================
Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung was famous for his Iron Palm Kung Fu. However, his palm was soft and different from many of the swollen palms’ Iron Palm practitioners. Grandmaster Ku’s Iron Palm was able to generate tremendous force and break hard rocks and steel easily. Many witnesses from Canton once saw Grandmaster Ku hit a stack of 14 bricks with his Iron Palm. To the astonishment of the witnesses, only the top and the bottom bricks remain undamaged while the rest of the 12 bricks in-between were all broken into pieces. The penetration power, strength of his palm and his ability to control the breaking were truly shocking and amazing.

In fact, Grandmaster Ku had already developed his Iron Palm and Iron Body (Shaolin Shield of Golden Bell Kung Fu) techniques with his Chi development. He once withstood three horse kicks using his Iron Body breathing techniques and suffered no injuries. Then, he slapped the horse on the back with his Iron Palm and killed the horse on the spot. When the horse was autopsied, it was found that all the internal organs had been ruptured. This is actually the high level of Iron Palm called the Cinnabar Palm (aka Red Sand Palm, an internal style, Soft Nai Kung), which is well-known for its penetration power through objects. It was said that, if the technique was applied by a Master, whilst no external evidence of any strike being made would be initially apparent, bright red palm marks would appear on the victim's body gradually after 3 days. Subsequently, death would ensue after approximately 10-15 days caused by damage to the internal organs. However, only very few people have mastered this deadly Soft Palm Kung Fu.

Iron Palm’s family
==============
One of Grandmaster Ku’s top students was Master Yim Shan-Wu who later became the Sifu of Wong Jack Man in HK. Master Yim used to travel with Grandmaster Ku for martial arts performance and was his partner in the demonstration of bricking bricks. There were photos of them doing the demonstration together. This implies that the masters of Wong Jack Man and Bruce Lee actually belonged to the same family as both practiced Iron Palm Kung Fu. It was also a coincidence that both of their Iron Palm masters bore the same Chinese surname, Yim/ Yimm (same characters in Chinese. Yim Shan-Wu and Yimm Keng-Hoi (James Y. Lee’s full Chinese name)). In this sense, James Lee should be considered the elder or Si-suk of Wong Jack-Man. If Wong Jack Man had known about this connection earlier, and based on the customs and rules of the Chinese pugilist world, Wong should have avoided the fight with Bruce out of respect for his Si-suk. Furthermore, if Wong knew that Bruce was also the student of Jing Mo’s Master Siu Hon-San, and therefore both belonged to the same family, i.e. Jing Mo Athlete Association (both were descendents of Great Grandmaster Fok Yuen-Kap), then, the clash between them probably might have been avoided. However, Wong who had then, just arrived in the U.S. had no knowledge of the above matters. Thus, it was destined the fight was unavoidable and history could not be reversed.

Photos of Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung: https://postimg.org/image/t1gc98m5t/

The difference between Bruce’s Iron Palm and other masters’
============================================
Unlike some Iron Palm masters whose palms look like big puffy bun due to striking of hard objects over a long period of time, Bruce’s hand which had undergone similar trainings remained indifferent from ordinary people. The same goes to James Y. Lee. Besides proper conditioning, the use of appropriate internal force in striking is also crucial. If Bruce was able to break hard objects like bricks, cobblestone and thick boards etc. it was no doubt that he had mastered the Iron Palm Kung Fu. The reason why Bruce’s hands were different from other Iron Palm Masters might be due to the fact that Bruce had mastered skill that resembled the higher level Iron Palm Kung Fu, i.e. Cinnabar Palm, which requires the use of internal force (“kin”) and not external force (“lik”). Yet, the mastering of Cinnabar Palm usually takes a longer time than Iron Palm, normally 5-15 years. Thus, there were no clear evidences that show Bruce had mastered this skill. Another possibility was Bruce might have integrated the essence of various Palm techniques into his own palm’s training program plus the herbal liniment conditioning, which he eventually attained the desired result.

When we observe Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung’s palm, we could also see that his hand, similar to Bruce, was small but not engorged. This is the difference between the advanced level and the ordinary level Iron Palm. Ordinary Iron Palm applies external strength (“lik”) unto the limb to strike the surface of the object. The more one practices, the more abnormal and bloated the hands would become. Though the giant palm may looks great but one will suffer long-term pains as age catches up.

“Yin” & “Yang” Palm
=================
Grandmaster Ku Yu Cheung was a big believer in Ying and Yang in his martial arts practice which led to his mastery of the external and internal arts. Basically, there are 2 categories of Palm, i.e. Yin & Yang Palm. Iron Pam (aka Iron Sand Palm) falls into the category “Yang” while Cinnabar Palm (Red Sand Palm) belongs to the category “Yin”. Both varied in their training methods and effects. Iron Palm is considered the hard (external) Shaolin Chi Kung, whereas Cinnabar Palm is viewed as the soft (internal) Shaolin Kung Fu. Whereas Iron Palm hits on the surface and leaves no trace behind, Cinnabar Palm penetrates the surface and usually leaves a red palm mark behind.

Another point to note about Bruce’s Iron Palm was that he revised the striking method by generating the 1-3 Inch power to incorporate with the Iron Palm’s internal force. Notice from the photo that the curve shape of Bruce’s palm hitting the bricks. Unlike Bruce, most of the Iron Palm masters normally raise their palms above their head to generate force before striking the object. Bruce just broke the object with his hand extended within inches away and he had never raised his palm above his head. This is similar to the Cinnabar Palm’s strike, which also resembled Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung’s style.

From Iron Palm training to JKD’s Biu Jee (JKD-BJ)
=======================================
Nevertheless, in actual fighting, using great internal power strike alone is not enough. One needs to be good in other departments such as punching, kicking, jabbing, footwork, balance etc. Bruce once told Canadian host, Pierre Berton that, “…we use everything, not just the hand!...When you’re talking about fighting…with no rules, well baby, you’d better train every part of your body!”

Iron Palm is good at striking stationery object but in real fighting, it may not be ideal to strike moving objects. It needs the coordination of feinting, footwork etc. in order to work effectively. Hence, Bruce who had trained in Iron Palm (circa 1962-1965), probably had merged the training methods of Iron Palm with his Wing Chun Biu Jee (WC-BJ), and practiced the power and precision of his fingers (refer to his training/demo, photos circa 1966-1973). Nevertheless, Bruce did not totally discard Iron Palm instead he retained some of its training methods and incorporated them into his Jun Fun Kung Fu’s (later JKD) training.

Biu Jee’s (BJ’s) training inspired by Iron Palm
==================================
Bruce was a visionary martial arts practitioner and he revolutionized the ways which he trained his body and limbs. He probably was inspired by the Iron Palm training and revised some of the ways to develop his finger jab’s (Biu Jee’s) power. As seen from the photos, during training, Bruce would punch his fingers into the sand/ gravel box, poked his fingers at the finger jab leather belt, held the gripping device etc. This was rarely seen in the training of U.S. martial artists in the 60’s. But Bruce did. These all showed that he was very particular about using every part of his body as his weapons in the course of fighting.

Bruce had toughened his palms and fingers due to his training of Iron Palm and JKD’s Biu Jee (JKD-BJ) but his hands were not out of shape (Note: To toughen his fist, Bruce also had a habit of hitting the chairs, tables, lamppost etc since young). They still looked great and at the same time possessed the firmness and resilience. If Bruce had not died, he might have 100% mastered Jing Mo Jee (JMJ; aka Iron Finger). He once told Tony To Wai-Tung, Iron Finger could poke through the opponent’s body if it is fully mastered. This reminds us about the final scene in “The Big Boss” where he fought the triad boss and killed him by jabbing his fingers into his body violently.

So, did Bruce JKD’s Biu Jee (JKD-BJ; circa 1967) ultimately transform into Jing Mo Jee (JMJ; circa 1973)?

Photos of Bruce’s Iron Palm: https://postimg.org/image/ikomlgahx/
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Joined: September 19th, 2015, 12:07 pm

August 13th, 2016, 4:28 pm #4

Iron Palm Kung Fu
===============
Iron Palm or Iron hand Kung Fu is one of the 72 arts of the Shaolin temple. As the name implies, it is practiced using the iron shots and belongs to the category of external style or so-called “hard chi-kung.” Besides Shaolin (aka Sil Lum) Iron Palm, there are several other styles of Iron Palm Kung Fu like Ku’s style (Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung), Five Sea’s style and Wu Dang’s style.

The Iron Palm (aka Iron Sand Palm) is done with a simultaneous coordination of a physical hand strike coupled with the use and intent of the mind (Yi). There are 5 traditional hand strikes in Iron Palm: 1) The whole cupped hand 2) The finger tips 3) The knife edge 4) The bottom edge of the palm 5) The rear of the hand. Iron Palm can be used in a variety of open or close hand strikes. Practitioner often demonstrate his abilities by breaking hard objects like thick boards, bricks, coconuts, stones and even steel objects with his bare hands rapidly without sustaining injury. Highly skilled Iron Palm practitioner could deliver very powerful blows causing serious injury to his opponent. Hence, unless necessary, practitioners will refrain from using this devastating hand technique.

Did Bruce learn Iron Palm?
====================
As seen from see from some of his Iron Palm training photos and according to Bruce himself, he did learn Iron Palm Kung Fu from James Y. Lee (circa 1962) personally and also self-learnt from his own Iron Palm manual (by Master Yuen Chor-Choy). Moreover, Iron Palm training methods can also be found in Praying Mantis and many other southern styles Kung Fu training as well. Bruce who had trained in Praying Mantis should have been introduced to Iron Palm way before James Y. Lee taught him this skill. In one of the Bruce’s handwritten notes on Iron Palm, he wrote there are 3 types of strikes, i.e. “1) Stamping palm which generates the “kin” (internal force) from the diaphragm and applies it to the wrist before striking; full concentration is required; 2) Cutting/Slicing Palm – same as above; 3) Biu Jee (finger jab) – strike with the fingers.” Bruce also illustrated his iron hands’ training and understanding in two of his own drawings. The first one depicted an iron palm striking an elastic object. Bruce wrote, “Firm yet not hard; Soft yet not yielding…the direction of flowing energy etc.” The second one depicted a man holding unto the iron bar and Bruce wrote, “Be like an iron bar and you will be lifted!!!”

Bruce wanted to increase the range of his arsenals so as to leverage his fighting ability against his opponent in street-fighting. As a keen young martial arts practitioner, he was eager to explore all kinds of martial arts. Hence, he was pleased to master this hand striking system from James Y. Lee. James himself learnt Shaolin (Sil Lum) Kung Fu from Master T. Y. Wong in San Francisco for 4 years. He later became well known for his Iron Palm specialty, and would routinely break bricks at demonstrations. James was the first to publish an Iron Palm book in America in 1957 and the book title was “Iron Poison Hand Training Book 1 (Break Brick in 100 Days).” The book cover was the photo of his top student Al Novak (1924-2011) breaking a stack of bricks. Novak was one of the first white Americans who mastered Iron Palm Kung Fu in the 50s.

James Y. Lee’s Shaolin (Sil Lum) Iron Palm
================================
The Iron Palm Kung Fu which James Y. Lee (1920-1972) learnt belonged to Shaolin (Sil Lum) style. Shaolin Iron Palm is practiced through using of iron shots together with the application of Iron Palm liniment/ Dit Da Jow as the conditioning supplement. Through consistent training, practitioner could use his Iron Palm to break bricks, rocks and other hard objects. Eventually, the skin of the practitioner’s palm usually will get thicker, his bones become harden, and both his tendons and ligaments also get firmer.

James taught Bruce Iron Palm and provided him some bodybuilding tips (with Allen Joe’s guidance too) which Bruce picked up diligently. Bruce soon built a body with well-defined muscles and more significantly, his resilience and explosive power became increasingly greater. Consequently, this enhanced Bruce’s close range fighting ability tremendously. Talking about Iron Palm, one cannot help but to mention about the Iron Palm Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheong whom Bruce respected a lot. He had even kept a photo and brief profile of Grandmaster Ku in his personal Kung Fu scrapbook.

Iron Palm Grandmaster – Ku Yu-Cheung (1894-1952)
=======================================
Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung was famous for his Iron Palm Kung Fu. However, his palm was soft and different from many of the swollen palms’ Iron Palm practitioners. Grandmaster Ku’s Iron Palm was able to generate tremendous force and break hard rocks and steel easily. Many witnesses from Canton once saw Grandmaster Ku hit a stack of 14 bricks with his Iron Palm. To the astonishment of the witnesses, only the top and the bottom bricks remain undamaged while the rest of the 12 bricks in-between were all broken into pieces. The penetration power, strength of his palm and his ability to control the breaking were truly shocking and amazing.

In fact, Grandmaster Ku had already developed his Iron Palm and Iron Body (Shaolin Shield of Golden Bell Kung Fu) techniques with his Chi development. He once withstood three horse kicks using his Iron Body breathing techniques and suffered no injuries. Then, he slapped the horse on the back with his Iron Palm and killed the horse on the spot. When the horse was autopsied, it was found that all the internal organs had been ruptured. This is actually the high level of Iron Palm called the Cinnabar Palm (aka Red Sand Palm, an internal style, Soft Nai Kung), which is well-known for its penetration power through objects. It was said that, if the technique was applied by a Master, whilst no external evidence of any strike being made would be initially apparent, bright red palm marks would appear on the victim's body gradually after 3 days. Subsequently, death would ensue after approximately 10-15 days caused by damage to the internal organs. However, only very few people have mastered this deadly Soft Palm Kung Fu.

Iron Palm’s family
==============
One of Grandmaster Ku’s top students was Master Yim Shan-Wu who later became the Sifu of Wong Jack Man in HK. Master Yim used to travel with Grandmaster Ku for martial arts performance and was his partner in the demonstration of bricking bricks. There were photos of them doing the demonstration together. This implies that the masters of Wong Jack Man and Bruce Lee actually belonged to the same family as both practiced Iron Palm Kung Fu. It was also a coincidence that both of their Iron Palm masters bore the same Chinese surname, Yim/ Yimm (same characters in Chinese. Yim Shan-Wu and Yimm Keng-Hoi (James Y. Lee’s full Chinese name)). In this sense, James Lee should be considered the elder or Si-suk of Wong Jack-Man. If Wong Jack Man had known about this connection earlier, and based on the customs and rules of the Chinese pugilist world, Wong should have avoided the fight with Bruce out of respect for his Si-suk. Furthermore, if Wong knew that Bruce was also the student of Jing Mo’s Master Siu Hon-San, and therefore both belonged to the same family, i.e. Jing Mo Athlete Association (both were descendents of Great Grandmaster Fok Yuen-Kap), then, the clash between them probably might have been avoided. However, Wong who had then, just arrived in the U.S. had no knowledge of the above matters. Thus, it was destined the fight was unavoidable and history could not be reversed.

Photos of Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung: https://postimg.org/image/t1gc98m5t/

The difference between Bruce’s Iron Palm and other masters’
============================================
Unlike some Iron Palm masters whose palms look like big puffy bun due to striking of hard objects over a long period of time, Bruce’s hand which had undergone similar trainings remained indifferent from ordinary people. The same goes to James Y. Lee. Besides proper conditioning, the use of appropriate internal force in striking is also crucial. If Bruce was able to break hard objects like bricks, cobblestone and thick boards etc. it was no doubt that he had mastered the Iron Palm Kung Fu. The reason why Bruce’s hands were different from other Iron Palm Masters might be due to the fact that Bruce had mastered skill that resembled the higher level Iron Palm Kung Fu, i.e. Cinnabar Palm, which requires the use of internal force (“kin”) and not external force (“lik”). Yet, the mastering of Cinnabar Palm usually takes a longer time than Iron Palm, normally 5-15 years. Thus, there were no clear evidences that show Bruce had mastered this skill. Another possibility was Bruce might have integrated the essence of various Palm techniques into his own palm’s training program plus the herbal liniment conditioning, which he eventually attained the desired result.

When we observe Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung’s palm, we could also see that his hand, similar to Bruce, was small but not engorged. This is the difference between the advanced level and the ordinary level Iron Palm. Ordinary Iron Palm applies external strength (“lik”) unto the limb to strike the surface of the object. The more one practices, the more abnormal and bloated the hands would become. Though the giant palm may looks great but one will suffer long-term pains as age catches up.

“Yin” & “Yang” Palm
=================
Grandmaster Ku Yu Cheung was a big believer in Ying and Yang in his martial arts practice which led to his mastery of the external and internal arts. Basically, there are 2 categories of Palm, i.e. Yin & Yang Palm. Iron Pam (aka Iron Sand Palm) falls into the category “Yang” while Cinnabar Palm (Red Sand Palm) belongs to the category “Yin”. Both varied in their training methods and effects. Iron Palm is considered the hard (external) Shaolin Chi Kung, whereas Cinnabar Palm is viewed as the soft (internal) Shaolin Kung Fu. Whereas Iron Palm hits on the surface and leaves no trace behind, Cinnabar Palm penetrates the surface and usually leaves a red palm mark behind.

Another point to note about Bruce’s Iron Palm was that he revised the striking method by generating the 1-3 Inch power to incorporate with the Iron Palm’s internal force. Notice from the photo that the curve shape of Bruce’s palm hitting the bricks. Unlike Bruce, most of the Iron Palm masters normally raise their palms above their head to generate force before striking the object. Bruce just broke the object with his hand extended within inches away and he had never raised his palm above his head. This is similar to the Cinnabar Palm’s strike, which also resembled Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung’s style.

From Iron Palm training to JKD’s Biu Jee (JKD-BJ)
=======================================
Nevertheless, in actual fighting, using great internal power strike alone is not enough. One needs to be good in other departments such as punching, kicking, jabbing, footwork, balance etc. Bruce once told Canadian host, Pierre Berton that, “…we use everything, not just the hand!...When you’re talking about fighting…with no rules, well baby, you’d better train every part of your body!”

Iron Palm is good at striking stationery object but in real fighting, it may not be ideal to strike moving objects. It needs the coordination of feinting, footwork etc. in order to work effectively. Hence, Bruce who had trained in Iron Palm (circa 1962-1965), probably had merged the training methods of Iron Palm with his Wing Chun Biu Jee (WC-BJ), and practiced the power and precision of his fingers (refer to his training/demo, photos circa 1966-1973). Nevertheless, Bruce did not totally discard Iron Palm instead he retained some of its training methods and incorporated them into his Jun Fun Kung Fu’s (later JKD) training.

Biu Jee’s (BJ’s) training inspired by Iron Palm
==================================
Bruce was a visionary martial arts practitioner and he revolutionized the ways which he trained his body and limbs. He probably was inspired by the Iron Palm training and revised some of the ways to develop his finger jab’s (Biu Jee’s) power. As seen from the photos, during training, Bruce would punch his fingers into the sand/ gravel box, poked his fingers at the finger jab leather belt, held the gripping device etc. This was rarely seen in the training of U.S. martial artists in the 60’s. But Bruce did. These all showed that he was very particular about using every part of his body as his weapons in the course of fighting.

Bruce had toughened his palms and fingers due to his training of Iron Palm and JKD’s Biu Jee (JKD-BJ) but his hands were not out of shape (Note: To toughen his fist, Bruce also had a habit of hitting the chairs, tables, lamppost etc since young). They still looked great and at the same time possessed the firmness and resilience. If Bruce had not died, he might have 100% mastered Jing Mo Jee (JMJ; aka Iron Finger). He once told Tony To Wai-Tung, Iron Finger could poke through the opponent’s body if it is fully mastered. This reminds us about the final scene in “The Big Boss” where he fought the triad boss and killed him by jabbing his fingers into his body violently.

So, did Bruce JKD’s Biu Jee (JKD-BJ; circa 1967) ultimately transform into Jing Mo Jee (JMJ; circa 1973)?

Photos of Bruce’s Iron Palm: https://postimg.org/image/ikomlgahx/
Thanks for the quality stuff! This is the first time I read about Bruce Lee's Iron Palm & Iron Finger in great length and details. Excellent work!

James Lee's student, Al Novak was a great Iron Palm master. Would like to see his Iron Palm demo footage if any.
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Joined: May 6th, 2016, 3:35 am

August 13th, 2016, 6:01 pm #5

Iron Palm Kung Fu
===============
Iron Palm or Iron hand Kung Fu is one of the 72 arts of the Shaolin temple. As the name implies, it is practiced using the iron shots and belongs to the category of external style or so-called “hard chi-kung.” Besides Shaolin (aka Sil Lum) Iron Palm, there are several other styles of Iron Palm Kung Fu like Ku’s style (Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung), Five Sea’s style and Wu Dang’s style.

The Iron Palm (aka Iron Sand Palm) is done with a simultaneous coordination of a physical hand strike coupled with the use and intent of the mind (Yi). There are 5 traditional hand strikes in Iron Palm: 1) The whole cupped hand 2) The finger tips 3) The knife edge 4) The bottom edge of the palm 5) The rear of the hand. Iron Palm can be used in a variety of open or close hand strikes. Practitioner often demonstrate his abilities by breaking hard objects like thick boards, bricks, coconuts, stones and even steel objects with his bare hands rapidly without sustaining injury. Highly skilled Iron Palm practitioner could deliver very powerful blows causing serious injury to his opponent. Hence, unless necessary, practitioners will refrain from using this devastating hand technique.

Did Bruce learn Iron Palm?
====================
As seen from see from some of his Iron Palm training photos and according to Bruce himself, he did learn Iron Palm Kung Fu from James Y. Lee (circa 1962) personally and also self-learnt from his own Iron Palm manual (by Master Yuen Chor-Choy). Moreover, Iron Palm training methods can also be found in Praying Mantis and many other southern styles Kung Fu training as well. Bruce who had trained in Praying Mantis should have been introduced to Iron Palm way before James Y. Lee taught him this skill. In one of the Bruce’s handwritten notes on Iron Palm, he wrote there are 3 types of strikes, i.e. “1) Stamping palm which generates the “kin” (internal force) from the diaphragm and applies it to the wrist before striking; full concentration is required; 2) Cutting/Slicing Palm – same as above; 3) Biu Jee (finger jab) – strike with the fingers.” Bruce also illustrated his iron hands’ training and understanding in two of his own drawings. The first one depicted an iron palm striking an elastic object. Bruce wrote, “Firm yet not hard; Soft yet not yielding…the direction of flowing energy etc.” The second one depicted a man holding unto the iron bar and Bruce wrote, “Be like an iron bar and you will be lifted!!!”

Bruce wanted to increase the range of his arsenals so as to leverage his fighting ability against his opponent in street-fighting. As a keen young martial arts practitioner, he was eager to explore all kinds of martial arts. Hence, he was pleased to master this hand striking system from James Y. Lee. James himself learnt Shaolin (Sil Lum) Kung Fu from Master T. Y. Wong in San Francisco for 4 years. He later became well known for his Iron Palm specialty, and would routinely break bricks at demonstrations. James was the first to publish an Iron Palm book in America in 1957 and the book title was “Iron Poison Hand Training Book 1 (Break Brick in 100 Days).” The book cover was the photo of his top student Al Novak (1924-2011) breaking a stack of bricks. Novak was one of the first white Americans who mastered Iron Palm Kung Fu in the 50s.

James Y. Lee’s Shaolin (Sil Lum) Iron Palm
================================
The Iron Palm Kung Fu which James Y. Lee (1920-1972) learnt belonged to Shaolin (Sil Lum) style. Shaolin Iron Palm is practiced through using of iron shots together with the application of Iron Palm liniment/ Dit Da Jow as the conditioning supplement. Through consistent training, practitioner could use his Iron Palm to break bricks, rocks and other hard objects. Eventually, the skin of the practitioner’s palm usually will get thicker, his bones become harden, and both his tendons and ligaments also get firmer.

James taught Bruce Iron Palm and provided him some bodybuilding tips (with Allen Joe’s guidance too) which Bruce picked up diligently. Bruce soon built a body with well-defined muscles and more significantly, his resilience and explosive power became increasingly greater. Consequently, this enhanced Bruce’s close range fighting ability tremendously. Talking about Iron Palm, one cannot help but to mention about the Iron Palm Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheong whom Bruce respected a lot. He had even kept a photo and brief profile of Grandmaster Ku in his personal Kung Fu scrapbook.

Iron Palm Grandmaster – Ku Yu-Cheung (1894-1952)
=======================================
Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung was famous for his Iron Palm Kung Fu. However, his palm was soft and different from many of the swollen palms’ Iron Palm practitioners. Grandmaster Ku’s Iron Palm was able to generate tremendous force and break hard rocks and steel easily. Many witnesses from Canton once saw Grandmaster Ku hit a stack of 14 bricks with his Iron Palm. To the astonishment of the witnesses, only the top and the bottom bricks remain undamaged while the rest of the 12 bricks in-between were all broken into pieces. The penetration power, strength of his palm and his ability to control the breaking were truly shocking and amazing.

In fact, Grandmaster Ku had already developed his Iron Palm and Iron Body (Shaolin Shield of Golden Bell Kung Fu) techniques with his Chi development. He once withstood three horse kicks using his Iron Body breathing techniques and suffered no injuries. Then, he slapped the horse on the back with his Iron Palm and killed the horse on the spot. When the horse was autopsied, it was found that all the internal organs had been ruptured. This is actually the high level of Iron Palm called the Cinnabar Palm (aka Red Sand Palm, an internal style, Soft Nai Kung), which is well-known for its penetration power through objects. It was said that, if the technique was applied by a Master, whilst no external evidence of any strike being made would be initially apparent, bright red palm marks would appear on the victim's body gradually after 3 days. Subsequently, death would ensue after approximately 10-15 days caused by damage to the internal organs. However, only very few people have mastered this deadly Soft Palm Kung Fu.

Iron Palm’s family
==============
One of Grandmaster Ku’s top students was Master Yim Shan-Wu who later became the Sifu of Wong Jack Man in HK. Master Yim used to travel with Grandmaster Ku for martial arts performance and was his partner in the demonstration of bricking bricks. There were photos of them doing the demonstration together. This implies that the masters of Wong Jack Man and Bruce Lee actually belonged to the same family as both practiced Iron Palm Kung Fu. It was also a coincidence that both of their Iron Palm masters bore the same Chinese surname, Yim/ Yimm (same characters in Chinese. Yim Shan-Wu and Yimm Keng-Hoi (James Y. Lee’s full Chinese name)). In this sense, James Lee should be considered the elder or Si-suk of Wong Jack-Man. If Wong Jack Man had known about this connection earlier, and based on the customs and rules of the Chinese pugilist world, Wong should have avoided the fight with Bruce out of respect for his Si-suk. Furthermore, if Wong knew that Bruce was also the student of Jing Mo’s Master Siu Hon-San, and therefore both belonged to the same family, i.e. Jing Mo Athlete Association (both were descendents of Great Grandmaster Fok Yuen-Kap), then, the clash between them probably might have been avoided. However, Wong who had then, just arrived in the U.S. had no knowledge of the above matters. Thus, it was destined the fight was unavoidable and history could not be reversed.

Photos of Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung: https://postimg.org/image/t1gc98m5t/

The difference between Bruce’s Iron Palm and other masters’
============================================
Unlike some Iron Palm masters whose palms look like big puffy bun due to striking of hard objects over a long period of time, Bruce’s hand which had undergone similar trainings remained indifferent from ordinary people. The same goes to James Y. Lee. Besides proper conditioning, the use of appropriate internal force in striking is also crucial. If Bruce was able to break hard objects like bricks, cobblestone and thick boards etc. it was no doubt that he had mastered the Iron Palm Kung Fu. The reason why Bruce’s hands were different from other Iron Palm Masters might be due to the fact that Bruce had mastered skill that resembled the higher level Iron Palm Kung Fu, i.e. Cinnabar Palm, which requires the use of internal force (“kin”) and not external force (“lik”). Yet, the mastering of Cinnabar Palm usually takes a longer time than Iron Palm, normally 5-15 years. Thus, there were no clear evidences that show Bruce had mastered this skill. Another possibility was Bruce might have integrated the essence of various Palm techniques into his own palm’s training program plus the herbal liniment conditioning, which he eventually attained the desired result.

When we observe Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung’s palm, we could also see that his hand, similar to Bruce, was small but not engorged. This is the difference between the advanced level and the ordinary level Iron Palm. Ordinary Iron Palm applies external strength (“lik”) unto the limb to strike the surface of the object. The more one practices, the more abnormal and bloated the hands would become. Though the giant palm may looks great but one will suffer long-term pains as age catches up.

“Yin” & “Yang” Palm
=================
Grandmaster Ku Yu Cheung was a big believer in Ying and Yang in his martial arts practice which led to his mastery of the external and internal arts. Basically, there are 2 categories of Palm, i.e. Yin & Yang Palm. Iron Pam (aka Iron Sand Palm) falls into the category “Yang” while Cinnabar Palm (Red Sand Palm) belongs to the category “Yin”. Both varied in their training methods and effects. Iron Palm is considered the hard (external) Shaolin Chi Kung, whereas Cinnabar Palm is viewed as the soft (internal) Shaolin Kung Fu. Whereas Iron Palm hits on the surface and leaves no trace behind, Cinnabar Palm penetrates the surface and usually leaves a red palm mark behind.

Another point to note about Bruce’s Iron Palm was that he revised the striking method by generating the 1-3 Inch power to incorporate with the Iron Palm’s internal force. Notice from the photo that the curve shape of Bruce’s palm hitting the bricks. Unlike Bruce, most of the Iron Palm masters normally raise their palms above their head to generate force before striking the object. Bruce just broke the object with his hand extended within inches away and he had never raised his palm above his head. This is similar to the Cinnabar Palm’s strike, which also resembled Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung’s style.

From Iron Palm training to JKD’s Biu Jee (JKD-BJ)
=======================================
Nevertheless, in actual fighting, using great internal power strike alone is not enough. One needs to be good in other departments such as punching, kicking, jabbing, footwork, balance etc. Bruce once told Canadian host, Pierre Berton that, “…we use everything, not just the hand!...When you’re talking about fighting…with no rules, well baby, you’d better train every part of your body!”

Iron Palm is good at striking stationery object but in real fighting, it may not be ideal to strike moving objects. It needs the coordination of feinting, footwork etc. in order to work effectively. Hence, Bruce who had trained in Iron Palm (circa 1962-1965), probably had merged the training methods of Iron Palm with his Wing Chun Biu Jee (WC-BJ), and practiced the power and precision of his fingers (refer to his training/demo, photos circa 1966-1973). Nevertheless, Bruce did not totally discard Iron Palm instead he retained some of its training methods and incorporated them into his Jun Fun Kung Fu’s (later JKD) training.

Biu Jee’s (BJ’s) training inspired by Iron Palm
==================================
Bruce was a visionary martial arts practitioner and he revolutionized the ways which he trained his body and limbs. He probably was inspired by the Iron Palm training and revised some of the ways to develop his finger jab’s (Biu Jee’s) power. As seen from the photos, during training, Bruce would punch his fingers into the sand/ gravel box, poked his fingers at the finger jab leather belt, held the gripping device etc. This was rarely seen in the training of U.S. martial artists in the 60’s. But Bruce did. These all showed that he was very particular about using every part of his body as his weapons in the course of fighting.

Bruce had toughened his palms and fingers due to his training of Iron Palm and JKD’s Biu Jee (JKD-BJ) but his hands were not out of shape (Note: To toughen his fist, Bruce also had a habit of hitting the chairs, tables, lamppost etc since young). They still looked great and at the same time possessed the firmness and resilience. If Bruce had not died, he might have 100% mastered Jing Mo Jee (JMJ; aka Iron Finger). He once told Tony To Wai-Tung, Iron Finger could poke through the opponent’s body if it is fully mastered. This reminds us about the final scene in “The Big Boss” where he fought the triad boss and killed him by jabbing his fingers into his body violently.

So, did Bruce JKD’s Biu Jee (JKD-BJ; circa 1967) ultimately transform into Jing Mo Jee (JMJ; circa 1973)?

Photos of Bruce’s Iron Palm: https://postimg.org/image/ikomlgahx/
Awesome skills of Bruce Lee!

He never stopped improving his JKD even he went to HK to make movies.

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Suraj
Suraj

August 13th, 2016, 6:49 pm #6

Thanks for the quality stuff! This is the first time I read about Bruce Lee's Iron Palm & Iron Finger in great length and details. Excellent work!

James Lee's student, Al Novak was a great Iron Palm master. Would like to see his Iron Palm demo footage if any.
Never seen his footage on Iron Palm before. Would love to see if anyone have it.
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Joined: October 1st, 2011, 9:12 pm

August 13th, 2016, 8:22 pm #7

Iron Palm Kung Fu
===============
Iron Palm or Iron hand Kung Fu is one of the 72 arts of the Shaolin temple. As the name implies, it is practiced using the iron shots and belongs to the category of external style or so-called “hard chi-kung.” Besides Shaolin (aka Sil Lum) Iron Palm, there are several other styles of Iron Palm Kung Fu like Ku’s style (Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung), Five Sea’s style and Wu Dang’s style.

The Iron Palm (aka Iron Sand Palm) is done with a simultaneous coordination of a physical hand strike coupled with the use and intent of the mind (Yi). There are 5 traditional hand strikes in Iron Palm: 1) The whole cupped hand 2) The finger tips 3) The knife edge 4) The bottom edge of the palm 5) The rear of the hand. Iron Palm can be used in a variety of open or close hand strikes. Practitioner often demonstrate his abilities by breaking hard objects like thick boards, bricks, coconuts, stones and even steel objects with his bare hands rapidly without sustaining injury. Highly skilled Iron Palm practitioner could deliver very powerful blows causing serious injury to his opponent. Hence, unless necessary, practitioners will refrain from using this devastating hand technique.

Did Bruce learn Iron Palm?
====================
As seen from see from some of his Iron Palm training photos and according to Bruce himself, he did learn Iron Palm Kung Fu from James Y. Lee (circa 1962) personally and also self-learnt from his own Iron Palm manual (by Master Yuen Chor-Choy). Moreover, Iron Palm training methods can also be found in Praying Mantis and many other southern styles Kung Fu training as well. Bruce who had trained in Praying Mantis should have been introduced to Iron Palm way before James Y. Lee taught him this skill. In one of the Bruce’s handwritten notes on Iron Palm, he wrote there are 3 types of strikes, i.e. “1) Stamping palm which generates the “kin” (internal force) from the diaphragm and applies it to the wrist before striking; full concentration is required; 2) Cutting/Slicing Palm – same as above; 3) Biu Jee (finger jab) – strike with the fingers.” Bruce also illustrated his iron hands’ training and understanding in two of his own drawings. The first one depicted an iron palm striking an elastic object. Bruce wrote, “Firm yet not hard; Soft yet not yielding…the direction of flowing energy etc.” The second one depicted a man holding unto the iron bar and Bruce wrote, “Be like an iron bar and you will be lifted!!!”

Bruce wanted to increase the range of his arsenals so as to leverage his fighting ability against his opponent in street-fighting. As a keen young martial arts practitioner, he was eager to explore all kinds of martial arts. Hence, he was pleased to master this hand striking system from James Y. Lee. James himself learnt Shaolin (Sil Lum) Kung Fu from Master T. Y. Wong in San Francisco for 4 years. He later became well known for his Iron Palm specialty, and would routinely break bricks at demonstrations. James was the first to publish an Iron Palm book in America in 1957 and the book title was “Iron Poison Hand Training Book 1 (Break Brick in 100 Days).” The book cover was the photo of his top student Al Novak (1924-2011) breaking a stack of bricks. Novak was one of the first white Americans who mastered Iron Palm Kung Fu in the 50s.

James Y. Lee’s Shaolin (Sil Lum) Iron Palm
================================
The Iron Palm Kung Fu which James Y. Lee (1920-1972) learnt belonged to Shaolin (Sil Lum) style. Shaolin Iron Palm is practiced through using of iron shots together with the application of Iron Palm liniment/ Dit Da Jow as the conditioning supplement. Through consistent training, practitioner could use his Iron Palm to break bricks, rocks and other hard objects. Eventually, the skin of the practitioner’s palm usually will get thicker, his bones become harden, and both his tendons and ligaments also get firmer.

James taught Bruce Iron Palm and provided him some bodybuilding tips (with Allen Joe’s guidance too) which Bruce picked up diligently. Bruce soon built a body with well-defined muscles and more significantly, his resilience and explosive power became increasingly greater. Consequently, this enhanced Bruce’s close range fighting ability tremendously. Talking about Iron Palm, one cannot help but to mention about the Iron Palm Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheong whom Bruce respected a lot. He had even kept a photo and brief profile of Grandmaster Ku in his personal Kung Fu scrapbook.

Iron Palm Grandmaster – Ku Yu-Cheung (1894-1952)
=======================================
Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung was famous for his Iron Palm Kung Fu. However, his palm was soft and different from many of the swollen palms’ Iron Palm practitioners. Grandmaster Ku’s Iron Palm was able to generate tremendous force and break hard rocks and steel easily. Many witnesses from Canton once saw Grandmaster Ku hit a stack of 14 bricks with his Iron Palm. To the astonishment of the witnesses, only the top and the bottom bricks remain undamaged while the rest of the 12 bricks in-between were all broken into pieces. The penetration power, strength of his palm and his ability to control the breaking were truly shocking and amazing.

In fact, Grandmaster Ku had already developed his Iron Palm and Iron Body (Shaolin Shield of Golden Bell Kung Fu) techniques with his Chi development. He once withstood three horse kicks using his Iron Body breathing techniques and suffered no injuries. Then, he slapped the horse on the back with his Iron Palm and killed the horse on the spot. When the horse was autopsied, it was found that all the internal organs had been ruptured. This is actually the high level of Iron Palm called the Cinnabar Palm (aka Red Sand Palm, an internal style, Soft Nai Kung), which is well-known for its penetration power through objects. It was said that, if the technique was applied by a Master, whilst no external evidence of any strike being made would be initially apparent, bright red palm marks would appear on the victim's body gradually after 3 days. Subsequently, death would ensue after approximately 10-15 days caused by damage to the internal organs. However, only very few people have mastered this deadly Soft Palm Kung Fu.

Iron Palm’s family
==============
One of Grandmaster Ku’s top students was Master Yim Shan-Wu who later became the Sifu of Wong Jack Man in HK. Master Yim used to travel with Grandmaster Ku for martial arts performance and was his partner in the demonstration of bricking bricks. There were photos of them doing the demonstration together. This implies that the masters of Wong Jack Man and Bruce Lee actually belonged to the same family as both practiced Iron Palm Kung Fu. It was also a coincidence that both of their Iron Palm masters bore the same Chinese surname, Yim/ Yimm (same characters in Chinese. Yim Shan-Wu and Yimm Keng-Hoi (James Y. Lee’s full Chinese name)). In this sense, James Lee should be considered the elder or Si-suk of Wong Jack-Man. If Wong Jack Man had known about this connection earlier, and based on the customs and rules of the Chinese pugilist world, Wong should have avoided the fight with Bruce out of respect for his Si-suk. Furthermore, if Wong knew that Bruce was also the student of Jing Mo’s Master Siu Hon-San, and therefore both belonged to the same family, i.e. Jing Mo Athlete Association (both were descendents of Great Grandmaster Fok Yuen-Kap), then, the clash between them probably might have been avoided. However, Wong who had then, just arrived in the U.S. had no knowledge of the above matters. Thus, it was destined the fight was unavoidable and history could not be reversed.

Photos of Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung: https://postimg.org/image/t1gc98m5t/

The difference between Bruce’s Iron Palm and other masters’
============================================
Unlike some Iron Palm masters whose palms look like big puffy bun due to striking of hard objects over a long period of time, Bruce’s hand which had undergone similar trainings remained indifferent from ordinary people. The same goes to James Y. Lee. Besides proper conditioning, the use of appropriate internal force in striking is also crucial. If Bruce was able to break hard objects like bricks, cobblestone and thick boards etc. it was no doubt that he had mastered the Iron Palm Kung Fu. The reason why Bruce’s hands were different from other Iron Palm Masters might be due to the fact that Bruce had mastered skill that resembled the higher level Iron Palm Kung Fu, i.e. Cinnabar Palm, which requires the use of internal force (“kin”) and not external force (“lik”). Yet, the mastering of Cinnabar Palm usually takes a longer time than Iron Palm, normally 5-15 years. Thus, there were no clear evidences that show Bruce had mastered this skill. Another possibility was Bruce might have integrated the essence of various Palm techniques into his own palm’s training program plus the herbal liniment conditioning, which he eventually attained the desired result.

When we observe Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung’s palm, we could also see that his hand, similar to Bruce, was small but not engorged. This is the difference between the advanced level and the ordinary level Iron Palm. Ordinary Iron Palm applies external strength (“lik”) unto the limb to strike the surface of the object. The more one practices, the more abnormal and bloated the hands would become. Though the giant palm may looks great but one will suffer long-term pains as age catches up.

“Yin” & “Yang” Palm
=================
Grandmaster Ku Yu Cheung was a big believer in Ying and Yang in his martial arts practice which led to his mastery of the external and internal arts. Basically, there are 2 categories of Palm, i.e. Yin & Yang Palm. Iron Pam (aka Iron Sand Palm) falls into the category “Yang” while Cinnabar Palm (Red Sand Palm) belongs to the category “Yin”. Both varied in their training methods and effects. Iron Palm is considered the hard (external) Shaolin Chi Kung, whereas Cinnabar Palm is viewed as the soft (internal) Shaolin Kung Fu. Whereas Iron Palm hits on the surface and leaves no trace behind, Cinnabar Palm penetrates the surface and usually leaves a red palm mark behind.

Another point to note about Bruce’s Iron Palm was that he revised the striking method by generating the 1-3 Inch power to incorporate with the Iron Palm’s internal force. Notice from the photo that the curve shape of Bruce’s palm hitting the bricks. Unlike Bruce, most of the Iron Palm masters normally raise their palms above their head to generate force before striking the object. Bruce just broke the object with his hand extended within inches away and he had never raised his palm above his head. This is similar to the Cinnabar Palm’s strike, which also resembled Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung’s style.

From Iron Palm training to JKD’s Biu Jee (JKD-BJ)
=======================================
Nevertheless, in actual fighting, using great internal power strike alone is not enough. One needs to be good in other departments such as punching, kicking, jabbing, footwork, balance etc. Bruce once told Canadian host, Pierre Berton that, “…we use everything, not just the hand!...When you’re talking about fighting…with no rules, well baby, you’d better train every part of your body!”

Iron Palm is good at striking stationery object but in real fighting, it may not be ideal to strike moving objects. It needs the coordination of feinting, footwork etc. in order to work effectively. Hence, Bruce who had trained in Iron Palm (circa 1962-1965), probably had merged the training methods of Iron Palm with his Wing Chun Biu Jee (WC-BJ), and practiced the power and precision of his fingers (refer to his training/demo, photos circa 1966-1973). Nevertheless, Bruce did not totally discard Iron Palm instead he retained some of its training methods and incorporated them into his Jun Fun Kung Fu’s (later JKD) training.

Biu Jee’s (BJ’s) training inspired by Iron Palm
==================================
Bruce was a visionary martial arts practitioner and he revolutionized the ways which he trained his body and limbs. He probably was inspired by the Iron Palm training and revised some of the ways to develop his finger jab’s (Biu Jee’s) power. As seen from the photos, during training, Bruce would punch his fingers into the sand/ gravel box, poked his fingers at the finger jab leather belt, held the gripping device etc. This was rarely seen in the training of U.S. martial artists in the 60’s. But Bruce did. These all showed that he was very particular about using every part of his body as his weapons in the course of fighting.

Bruce had toughened his palms and fingers due to his training of Iron Palm and JKD’s Biu Jee (JKD-BJ) but his hands were not out of shape (Note: To toughen his fist, Bruce also had a habit of hitting the chairs, tables, lamppost etc since young). They still looked great and at the same time possessed the firmness and resilience. If Bruce had not died, he might have 100% mastered Jing Mo Jee (JMJ; aka Iron Finger). He once told Tony To Wai-Tung, Iron Finger could poke through the opponent’s body if it is fully mastered. This reminds us about the final scene in “The Big Boss” where he fought the triad boss and killed him by jabbing his fingers into his body violently.

So, did Bruce JKD’s Biu Jee (JKD-BJ; circa 1967) ultimately transform into Jing Mo Jee (JMJ; circa 1973)?

Photos of Bruce’s Iron Palm: https://postimg.org/image/ikomlgahx/
:-)
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Joined: September 25th, 2015, 5:34 am

August 14th, 2016, 7:23 am #8

Iron Palm Kung Fu
===============
Iron Palm or Iron hand Kung Fu is one of the 72 arts of the Shaolin temple. As the name implies, it is practiced using the iron shots and belongs to the category of external style or so-called “hard chi-kung.” Besides Shaolin (aka Sil Lum) Iron Palm, there are several other styles of Iron Palm Kung Fu like Ku’s style (Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung), Five Sea’s style and Wu Dang’s style.

The Iron Palm (aka Iron Sand Palm) is done with a simultaneous coordination of a physical hand strike coupled with the use and intent of the mind (Yi). There are 5 traditional hand strikes in Iron Palm: 1) The whole cupped hand 2) The finger tips 3) The knife edge 4) The bottom edge of the palm 5) The rear of the hand. Iron Palm can be used in a variety of open or close hand strikes. Practitioner often demonstrate his abilities by breaking hard objects like thick boards, bricks, coconuts, stones and even steel objects with his bare hands rapidly without sustaining injury. Highly skilled Iron Palm practitioner could deliver very powerful blows causing serious injury to his opponent. Hence, unless necessary, practitioners will refrain from using this devastating hand technique.

Did Bruce learn Iron Palm?
====================
As seen from see from some of his Iron Palm training photos and according to Bruce himself, he did learn Iron Palm Kung Fu from James Y. Lee (circa 1962) personally and also self-learnt from his own Iron Palm manual (by Master Yuen Chor-Choy). Moreover, Iron Palm training methods can also be found in Praying Mantis and many other southern styles Kung Fu training as well. Bruce who had trained in Praying Mantis should have been introduced to Iron Palm way before James Y. Lee taught him this skill. In one of the Bruce’s handwritten notes on Iron Palm, he wrote there are 3 types of strikes, i.e. “1) Stamping palm which generates the “kin” (internal force) from the diaphragm and applies it to the wrist before striking; full concentration is required; 2) Cutting/Slicing Palm – same as above; 3) Biu Jee (finger jab) – strike with the fingers.” Bruce also illustrated his iron hands’ training and understanding in two of his own drawings. The first one depicted an iron palm striking an elastic object. Bruce wrote, “Firm yet not hard; Soft yet not yielding…the direction of flowing energy etc.” The second one depicted a man holding unto the iron bar and Bruce wrote, “Be like an iron bar and you will be lifted!!!”

Bruce wanted to increase the range of his arsenals so as to leverage his fighting ability against his opponent in street-fighting. As a keen young martial arts practitioner, he was eager to explore all kinds of martial arts. Hence, he was pleased to master this hand striking system from James Y. Lee. James himself learnt Shaolin (Sil Lum) Kung Fu from Master T. Y. Wong in San Francisco for 4 years. He later became well known for his Iron Palm specialty, and would routinely break bricks at demonstrations. James was the first to publish an Iron Palm book in America in 1957 and the book title was “Iron Poison Hand Training Book 1 (Break Brick in 100 Days).” The book cover was the photo of his top student Al Novak (1924-2011) breaking a stack of bricks. Novak was one of the first white Americans who mastered Iron Palm Kung Fu in the 50s.

James Y. Lee’s Shaolin (Sil Lum) Iron Palm
================================
The Iron Palm Kung Fu which James Y. Lee (1920-1972) learnt belonged to Shaolin (Sil Lum) style. Shaolin Iron Palm is practiced through using of iron shots together with the application of Iron Palm liniment/ Dit Da Jow as the conditioning supplement. Through consistent training, practitioner could use his Iron Palm to break bricks, rocks and other hard objects. Eventually, the skin of the practitioner’s palm usually will get thicker, his bones become harden, and both his tendons and ligaments also get firmer.

James taught Bruce Iron Palm and provided him some bodybuilding tips (with Allen Joe’s guidance too) which Bruce picked up diligently. Bruce soon built a body with well-defined muscles and more significantly, his resilience and explosive power became increasingly greater. Consequently, this enhanced Bruce’s close range fighting ability tremendously. Talking about Iron Palm, one cannot help but to mention about the Iron Palm Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheong whom Bruce respected a lot. He had even kept a photo and brief profile of Grandmaster Ku in his personal Kung Fu scrapbook.

Iron Palm Grandmaster – Ku Yu-Cheung (1894-1952)
=======================================
Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung was famous for his Iron Palm Kung Fu. However, his palm was soft and different from many of the swollen palms’ Iron Palm practitioners. Grandmaster Ku’s Iron Palm was able to generate tremendous force and break hard rocks and steel easily. Many witnesses from Canton once saw Grandmaster Ku hit a stack of 14 bricks with his Iron Palm. To the astonishment of the witnesses, only the top and the bottom bricks remain undamaged while the rest of the 12 bricks in-between were all broken into pieces. The penetration power, strength of his palm and his ability to control the breaking were truly shocking and amazing.

In fact, Grandmaster Ku had already developed his Iron Palm and Iron Body (Shaolin Shield of Golden Bell Kung Fu) techniques with his Chi development. He once withstood three horse kicks using his Iron Body breathing techniques and suffered no injuries. Then, he slapped the horse on the back with his Iron Palm and killed the horse on the spot. When the horse was autopsied, it was found that all the internal organs had been ruptured. This is actually the high level of Iron Palm called the Cinnabar Palm (aka Red Sand Palm, an internal style, Soft Nai Kung), which is well-known for its penetration power through objects. It was said that, if the technique was applied by a Master, whilst no external evidence of any strike being made would be initially apparent, bright red palm marks would appear on the victim's body gradually after 3 days. Subsequently, death would ensue after approximately 10-15 days caused by damage to the internal organs. However, only very few people have mastered this deadly Soft Palm Kung Fu.

Iron Palm’s family
==============
One of Grandmaster Ku’s top students was Master Yim Shan-Wu who later became the Sifu of Wong Jack Man in HK. Master Yim used to travel with Grandmaster Ku for martial arts performance and was his partner in the demonstration of bricking bricks. There were photos of them doing the demonstration together. This implies that the masters of Wong Jack Man and Bruce Lee actually belonged to the same family as both practiced Iron Palm Kung Fu. It was also a coincidence that both of their Iron Palm masters bore the same Chinese surname, Yim/ Yimm (same characters in Chinese. Yim Shan-Wu and Yimm Keng-Hoi (James Y. Lee’s full Chinese name)). In this sense, James Lee should be considered the elder or Si-suk of Wong Jack-Man. If Wong Jack Man had known about this connection earlier, and based on the customs and rules of the Chinese pugilist world, Wong should have avoided the fight with Bruce out of respect for his Si-suk. Furthermore, if Wong knew that Bruce was also the student of Jing Mo’s Master Siu Hon-San, and therefore both belonged to the same family, i.e. Jing Mo Athlete Association (both were descendents of Great Grandmaster Fok Yuen-Kap), then, the clash between them probably might have been avoided. However, Wong who had then, just arrived in the U.S. had no knowledge of the above matters. Thus, it was destined the fight was unavoidable and history could not be reversed.

Photos of Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung: https://postimg.org/image/t1gc98m5t/

The difference between Bruce’s Iron Palm and other masters’
============================================
Unlike some Iron Palm masters whose palms look like big puffy bun due to striking of hard objects over a long period of time, Bruce’s hand which had undergone similar trainings remained indifferent from ordinary people. The same goes to James Y. Lee. Besides proper conditioning, the use of appropriate internal force in striking is also crucial. If Bruce was able to break hard objects like bricks, cobblestone and thick boards etc. it was no doubt that he had mastered the Iron Palm Kung Fu. The reason why Bruce’s hands were different from other Iron Palm Masters might be due to the fact that Bruce had mastered skill that resembled the higher level Iron Palm Kung Fu, i.e. Cinnabar Palm, which requires the use of internal force (“kin”) and not external force (“lik”). Yet, the mastering of Cinnabar Palm usually takes a longer time than Iron Palm, normally 5-15 years. Thus, there were no clear evidences that show Bruce had mastered this skill. Another possibility was Bruce might have integrated the essence of various Palm techniques into his own palm’s training program plus the herbal liniment conditioning, which he eventually attained the desired result.

When we observe Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung’s palm, we could also see that his hand, similar to Bruce, was small but not engorged. This is the difference between the advanced level and the ordinary level Iron Palm. Ordinary Iron Palm applies external strength (“lik”) unto the limb to strike the surface of the object. The more one practices, the more abnormal and bloated the hands would become. Though the giant palm may looks great but one will suffer long-term pains as age catches up.

“Yin” & “Yang” Palm
=================
Grandmaster Ku Yu Cheung was a big believer in Ying and Yang in his martial arts practice which led to his mastery of the external and internal arts. Basically, there are 2 categories of Palm, i.e. Yin & Yang Palm. Iron Pam (aka Iron Sand Palm) falls into the category “Yang” while Cinnabar Palm (Red Sand Palm) belongs to the category “Yin”. Both varied in their training methods and effects. Iron Palm is considered the hard (external) Shaolin Chi Kung, whereas Cinnabar Palm is viewed as the soft (internal) Shaolin Kung Fu. Whereas Iron Palm hits on the surface and leaves no trace behind, Cinnabar Palm penetrates the surface and usually leaves a red palm mark behind.

Another point to note about Bruce’s Iron Palm was that he revised the striking method by generating the 1-3 Inch power to incorporate with the Iron Palm’s internal force. Notice from the photo that the curve shape of Bruce’s palm hitting the bricks. Unlike Bruce, most of the Iron Palm masters normally raise their palms above their head to generate force before striking the object. Bruce just broke the object with his hand extended within inches away and he had never raised his palm above his head. This is similar to the Cinnabar Palm’s strike, which also resembled Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung’s style.

From Iron Palm training to JKD’s Biu Jee (JKD-BJ)
=======================================
Nevertheless, in actual fighting, using great internal power strike alone is not enough. One needs to be good in other departments such as punching, kicking, jabbing, footwork, balance etc. Bruce once told Canadian host, Pierre Berton that, “…we use everything, not just the hand!...When you’re talking about fighting…with no rules, well baby, you’d better train every part of your body!”

Iron Palm is good at striking stationery object but in real fighting, it may not be ideal to strike moving objects. It needs the coordination of feinting, footwork etc. in order to work effectively. Hence, Bruce who had trained in Iron Palm (circa 1962-1965), probably had merged the training methods of Iron Palm with his Wing Chun Biu Jee (WC-BJ), and practiced the power and precision of his fingers (refer to his training/demo, photos circa 1966-1973). Nevertheless, Bruce did not totally discard Iron Palm instead he retained some of its training methods and incorporated them into his Jun Fun Kung Fu’s (later JKD) training.

Biu Jee’s (BJ’s) training inspired by Iron Palm
==================================
Bruce was a visionary martial arts practitioner and he revolutionized the ways which he trained his body and limbs. He probably was inspired by the Iron Palm training and revised some of the ways to develop his finger jab’s (Biu Jee’s) power. As seen from the photos, during training, Bruce would punch his fingers into the sand/ gravel box, poked his fingers at the finger jab leather belt, held the gripping device etc. This was rarely seen in the training of U.S. martial artists in the 60’s. But Bruce did. These all showed that he was very particular about using every part of his body as his weapons in the course of fighting.

Bruce had toughened his palms and fingers due to his training of Iron Palm and JKD’s Biu Jee (JKD-BJ) but his hands were not out of shape (Note: To toughen his fist, Bruce also had a habit of hitting the chairs, tables, lamppost etc since young). They still looked great and at the same time possessed the firmness and resilience. If Bruce had not died, he might have 100% mastered Jing Mo Jee (JMJ; aka Iron Finger). He once told Tony To Wai-Tung, Iron Finger could poke through the opponent’s body if it is fully mastered. This reminds us about the final scene in “The Big Boss” where he fought the triad boss and killed him by jabbing his fingers into his body violently.

So, did Bruce JKD’s Biu Jee (JKD-BJ; circa 1967) ultimately transform into Jing Mo Jee (JMJ; circa 1973)?

Photos of Bruce’s Iron Palm: https://postimg.org/image/ikomlgahx/
Very well-written with history, documented proofs, comparisons, systematic approaches and even training methods of both Iron Palm and Iron Finger. I believed his JMJ is an extension of his JKD-BJ as you stated.

Lee left us too early otherwise his contribution to the martial arts world would be even enormous.


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Anonymous
Anonymous

August 15th, 2016, 3:42 am #9

Never seen his footage on Iron Palm before. Would love to see if anyone have it.
No such footage exist.
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Joined: September 21st, 2015, 3:56 am

August 15th, 2016, 5:02 pm #10

Iron Palm Kung Fu
===============
Iron Palm or Iron hand Kung Fu is one of the 72 arts of the Shaolin temple. As the name implies, it is practiced using the iron shots and belongs to the category of external style or so-called “hard chi-kung.” Besides Shaolin (aka Sil Lum) Iron Palm, there are several other styles of Iron Palm Kung Fu like Ku’s style (Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung), Five Sea’s style and Wu Dang’s style.

The Iron Palm (aka Iron Sand Palm) is done with a simultaneous coordination of a physical hand strike coupled with the use and intent of the mind (Yi). There are 5 traditional hand strikes in Iron Palm: 1) The whole cupped hand 2) The finger tips 3) The knife edge 4) The bottom edge of the palm 5) The rear of the hand. Iron Palm can be used in a variety of open or close hand strikes. Practitioner often demonstrate his abilities by breaking hard objects like thick boards, bricks, coconuts, stones and even steel objects with his bare hands rapidly without sustaining injury. Highly skilled Iron Palm practitioner could deliver very powerful blows causing serious injury to his opponent. Hence, unless necessary, practitioners will refrain from using this devastating hand technique.

Did Bruce learn Iron Palm?
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As seen from see from some of his Iron Palm training photos and according to Bruce himself, he did learn Iron Palm Kung Fu from James Y. Lee (circa 1962) personally and also self-learnt from his own Iron Palm manual (by Master Yuen Chor-Choy). Moreover, Iron Palm training methods can also be found in Praying Mantis and many other southern styles Kung Fu training as well. Bruce who had trained in Praying Mantis should have been introduced to Iron Palm way before James Y. Lee taught him this skill. In one of the Bruce’s handwritten notes on Iron Palm, he wrote there are 3 types of strikes, i.e. “1) Stamping palm which generates the “kin” (internal force) from the diaphragm and applies it to the wrist before striking; full concentration is required; 2) Cutting/Slicing Palm – same as above; 3) Biu Jee (finger jab) – strike with the fingers.” Bruce also illustrated his iron hands’ training and understanding in two of his own drawings. The first one depicted an iron palm striking an elastic object. Bruce wrote, “Firm yet not hard; Soft yet not yielding…the direction of flowing energy etc.” The second one depicted a man holding unto the iron bar and Bruce wrote, “Be like an iron bar and you will be lifted!!!”

Bruce wanted to increase the range of his arsenals so as to leverage his fighting ability against his opponent in street-fighting. As a keen young martial arts practitioner, he was eager to explore all kinds of martial arts. Hence, he was pleased to master this hand striking system from James Y. Lee. James himself learnt Shaolin (Sil Lum) Kung Fu from Master T. Y. Wong in San Francisco for 4 years. He later became well known for his Iron Palm specialty, and would routinely break bricks at demonstrations. James was the first to publish an Iron Palm book in America in 1957 and the book title was “Iron Poison Hand Training Book 1 (Break Brick in 100 Days).” The book cover was the photo of his top student Al Novak (1924-2011) breaking a stack of bricks. Novak was one of the first white Americans who mastered Iron Palm Kung Fu in the 50s.

James Y. Lee’s Shaolin (Sil Lum) Iron Palm
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The Iron Palm Kung Fu which James Y. Lee (1920-1972) learnt belonged to Shaolin (Sil Lum) style. Shaolin Iron Palm is practiced through using of iron shots together with the application of Iron Palm liniment/ Dit Da Jow as the conditioning supplement. Through consistent training, practitioner could use his Iron Palm to break bricks, rocks and other hard objects. Eventually, the skin of the practitioner’s palm usually will get thicker, his bones become harden, and both his tendons and ligaments also get firmer.

James taught Bruce Iron Palm and provided him some bodybuilding tips (with Allen Joe’s guidance too) which Bruce picked up diligently. Bruce soon built a body with well-defined muscles and more significantly, his resilience and explosive power became increasingly greater. Consequently, this enhanced Bruce’s close range fighting ability tremendously. Talking about Iron Palm, one cannot help but to mention about the Iron Palm Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheong whom Bruce respected a lot. He had even kept a photo and brief profile of Grandmaster Ku in his personal Kung Fu scrapbook.

Iron Palm Grandmaster – Ku Yu-Cheung (1894-1952)
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Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung was famous for his Iron Palm Kung Fu. However, his palm was soft and different from many of the swollen palms’ Iron Palm practitioners. Grandmaster Ku’s Iron Palm was able to generate tremendous force and break hard rocks and steel easily. Many witnesses from Canton once saw Grandmaster Ku hit a stack of 14 bricks with his Iron Palm. To the astonishment of the witnesses, only the top and the bottom bricks remain undamaged while the rest of the 12 bricks in-between were all broken into pieces. The penetration power, strength of his palm and his ability to control the breaking were truly shocking and amazing.

In fact, Grandmaster Ku had already developed his Iron Palm and Iron Body (Shaolin Shield of Golden Bell Kung Fu) techniques with his Chi development. He once withstood three horse kicks using his Iron Body breathing techniques and suffered no injuries. Then, he slapped the horse on the back with his Iron Palm and killed the horse on the spot. When the horse was autopsied, it was found that all the internal organs had been ruptured. This is actually the high level of Iron Palm called the Cinnabar Palm (aka Red Sand Palm, an internal style, Soft Nai Kung), which is well-known for its penetration power through objects. It was said that, if the technique was applied by a Master, whilst no external evidence of any strike being made would be initially apparent, bright red palm marks would appear on the victim's body gradually after 3 days. Subsequently, death would ensue after approximately 10-15 days caused by damage to the internal organs. However, only very few people have mastered this deadly Soft Palm Kung Fu.

Iron Palm’s family
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One of Grandmaster Ku’s top students was Master Yim Shan-Wu who later became the Sifu of Wong Jack Man in HK. Master Yim used to travel with Grandmaster Ku for martial arts performance and was his partner in the demonstration of bricking bricks. There were photos of them doing the demonstration together. This implies that the masters of Wong Jack Man and Bruce Lee actually belonged to the same family as both practiced Iron Palm Kung Fu. It was also a coincidence that both of their Iron Palm masters bore the same Chinese surname, Yim/ Yimm (same characters in Chinese. Yim Shan-Wu and Yimm Keng-Hoi (James Y. Lee’s full Chinese name)). In this sense, James Lee should be considered the elder or Si-suk of Wong Jack-Man. If Wong Jack Man had known about this connection earlier, and based on the customs and rules of the Chinese pugilist world, Wong should have avoided the fight with Bruce out of respect for his Si-suk. Furthermore, if Wong knew that Bruce was also the student of Jing Mo’s Master Siu Hon-San, and therefore both belonged to the same family, i.e. Jing Mo Athlete Association (both were descendents of Great Grandmaster Fok Yuen-Kap), then, the clash between them probably might have been avoided. However, Wong who had then, just arrived in the U.S. had no knowledge of the above matters. Thus, it was destined the fight was unavoidable and history could not be reversed.

Photos of Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung: https://postimg.org/image/t1gc98m5t/

The difference between Bruce’s Iron Palm and other masters’
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Unlike some Iron Palm masters whose palms look like big puffy bun due to striking of hard objects over a long period of time, Bruce’s hand which had undergone similar trainings remained indifferent from ordinary people. The same goes to James Y. Lee. Besides proper conditioning, the use of appropriate internal force in striking is also crucial. If Bruce was able to break hard objects like bricks, cobblestone and thick boards etc. it was no doubt that he had mastered the Iron Palm Kung Fu. The reason why Bruce’s hands were different from other Iron Palm Masters might be due to the fact that Bruce had mastered skill that resembled the higher level Iron Palm Kung Fu, i.e. Cinnabar Palm, which requires the use of internal force (“kin”) and not external force (“lik”). Yet, the mastering of Cinnabar Palm usually takes a longer time than Iron Palm, normally 5-15 years. Thus, there were no clear evidences that show Bruce had mastered this skill. Another possibility was Bruce might have integrated the essence of various Palm techniques into his own palm’s training program plus the herbal liniment conditioning, which he eventually attained the desired result.

When we observe Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung’s palm, we could also see that his hand, similar to Bruce, was small but not engorged. This is the difference between the advanced level and the ordinary level Iron Palm. Ordinary Iron Palm applies external strength (“lik”) unto the limb to strike the surface of the object. The more one practices, the more abnormal and bloated the hands would become. Though the giant palm may looks great but one will suffer long-term pains as age catches up.

“Yin” & “Yang” Palm
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Grandmaster Ku Yu Cheung was a big believer in Ying and Yang in his martial arts practice which led to his mastery of the external and internal arts. Basically, there are 2 categories of Palm, i.e. Yin & Yang Palm. Iron Pam (aka Iron Sand Palm) falls into the category “Yang” while Cinnabar Palm (Red Sand Palm) belongs to the category “Yin”. Both varied in their training methods and effects. Iron Palm is considered the hard (external) Shaolin Chi Kung, whereas Cinnabar Palm is viewed as the soft (internal) Shaolin Kung Fu. Whereas Iron Palm hits on the surface and leaves no trace behind, Cinnabar Palm penetrates the surface and usually leaves a red palm mark behind.

Another point to note about Bruce’s Iron Palm was that he revised the striking method by generating the 1-3 Inch power to incorporate with the Iron Palm’s internal force. Notice from the photo that the curve shape of Bruce’s palm hitting the bricks. Unlike Bruce, most of the Iron Palm masters normally raise their palms above their head to generate force before striking the object. Bruce just broke the object with his hand extended within inches away and he had never raised his palm above his head. This is similar to the Cinnabar Palm’s strike, which also resembled Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung’s style.

From Iron Palm training to JKD’s Biu Jee (JKD-BJ)
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Nevertheless, in actual fighting, using great internal power strike alone is not enough. One needs to be good in other departments such as punching, kicking, jabbing, footwork, balance etc. Bruce once told Canadian host, Pierre Berton that, “…we use everything, not just the hand!...When you’re talking about fighting…with no rules, well baby, you’d better train every part of your body!”

Iron Palm is good at striking stationery object but in real fighting, it may not be ideal to strike moving objects. It needs the coordination of feinting, footwork etc. in order to work effectively. Hence, Bruce who had trained in Iron Palm (circa 1962-1965), probably had merged the training methods of Iron Palm with his Wing Chun Biu Jee (WC-BJ), and practiced the power and precision of his fingers (refer to his training/demo, photos circa 1966-1973). Nevertheless, Bruce did not totally discard Iron Palm instead he retained some of its training methods and incorporated them into his Jun Fun Kung Fu’s (later JKD) training.

Biu Jee’s (BJ’s) training inspired by Iron Palm
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Bruce was a visionary martial arts practitioner and he revolutionized the ways which he trained his body and limbs. He probably was inspired by the Iron Palm training and revised some of the ways to develop his finger jab’s (Biu Jee’s) power. As seen from the photos, during training, Bruce would punch his fingers into the sand/ gravel box, poked his fingers at the finger jab leather belt, held the gripping device etc. This was rarely seen in the training of U.S. martial artists in the 60’s. But Bruce did. These all showed that he was very particular about using every part of his body as his weapons in the course of fighting.

Bruce had toughened his palms and fingers due to his training of Iron Palm and JKD’s Biu Jee (JKD-BJ) but his hands were not out of shape (Note: To toughen his fist, Bruce also had a habit of hitting the chairs, tables, lamppost etc since young). They still looked great and at the same time possessed the firmness and resilience. If Bruce had not died, he might have 100% mastered Jing Mo Jee (JMJ; aka Iron Finger). He once told Tony To Wai-Tung, Iron Finger could poke through the opponent’s body if it is fully mastered. This reminds us about the final scene in “The Big Boss” where he fought the triad boss and killed him by jabbing his fingers into his body violently.

So, did Bruce JKD’s Biu Jee (JKD-BJ; circa 1967) ultimately transform into Jing Mo Jee (JMJ; circa 1973)?

Photos of Bruce’s Iron Palm: https://postimg.org/image/ikomlgahx/
Recently, WJM is hot like Ip Man because his name was linked to Bruce Lee in the latest movie in production, "Birth of the dragon." I was suprised to see that both WJM and BL had some similarities in their Kung Fu roots through LJF's articles. Really enlightening.

The Iron Palm article states:

"One of Grandmaster Ku’s top students was Master Yim Shan-Wu who later became the Sifu of Wong Jack Man in HK. Master Yim used to travel with Grandmaster Ku for martial arts performance and was his partner in the demonstration of bricking bricks. There were photos of them doing the demonstration together. This implies that the masters of Wong Jack Man and Bruce Lee actually belonged to the same family as both practiced Iron Palm Kung Fu."


I believe many like me are very curious about WJM's background from HK. So far, we have heard very little info about this guy's background from HK. Was he really a formiddable fighter from HK as the Chinatown sifus claimed before the fight with BL in late 1964?

If anyone have any info, please share with us here in the forum.
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