Iron Shirt warning

Discussion in 'Internal Martial Arts' started by soggycat, Jan 8, 2004.

  1. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    Iron Shirt , more accurately Iron Cloth Shirt (Teet Poh Sam) Kung Fu, is a specialised area of Internal Martial Art.
    Basically one trains to develop Chi to " insulate" the body from severe external blows, and to speed up the healing of any residual injuries.
    There are 2 known teachers in Sydney and they charge something like $60 -75 ph ( Master Yang)
    and ( Sifu Marko Vesse)

    Marko was Yang's senior student until they parted on bad terms , and Marko set up his own school.
    Yang claims Marko did not complete training, and is therefore limited in skill.
    Who knows, I'm not taking sides.
    I'm told Yang forbid his students from communicating / fratenising with other students
    Go figure.
    There are some really fascinating video clips on both websites that show " feats" of strength.
    Like crushing rocks by pounding with bare nands, absorbing baseball bat / sledghammer blows , and having a truck roll over one's body.

    Does Iron Shirt work .
    YES !
    What's wrong with it ?
    It shortens your life, because everytime one " turns on the power" to abosorb the blows or perform a " stunt", one is draining one's Chi at a phenomenal rate.
    And remember Chi is " lifeforce"
    In other words , use too much of it, and you have less of it to live on.
    Even daily meditation / Chikung may not be able to "recharge" you up sufficiently.

    This information can be found on the internet, and is confirmed by INTERNAL Martial Artists trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
    (External Arts / Shaolin master will disagree, but then they also cant understand why they have delibetating illness when they reach 50)
    My own Taoist master, who has Iron Shirt ability , confirms this.
    In other words, if you should train in Iron Shirt, use it sparingly, might like to keep that in mind when you're showing off as a party trick.

    I know many people will have their own views, and dissect and interpret this purely from a "hands off" academic viewpoint. But remember, this is your life you are experimenting with, not just a new Kung Fu style to try out/
  2. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    sorry for the delay in responding.
    Yes you are right, BK Frantzis does mention about the dangers of Improper Qigong. He has also made some similar comment about Yoga ( he studied Yoga in India for a while, and don't forget , BK= Bruce Kumar, Kumar is an INDIAN name , so he prob has Indian heritage .) As to wether it is Fire or Water meditation, I am not sure, so I won't comment on something I dont have clear knowledge about.

    But all I know is that all 3 of my Taoist Martial Arts/ TCM and Qigong trained teachers have warned me about Improper Qigong. From 1 main Taoist teacher, the Qigong I adopted is a bit diff, it is not stationery, it is a moving meditation and involves relaxing both mind and body, emptying one's mind and most importantly exerting as little force as possible to get the movement ( in accordance with Wu Wei principles).There's no name for this style, it's neither Fire or Water .

    I'm not saying it's better than other styles, but from the results of those that came before me, I'm impressed. I'm not about to spill the beans and make this teacher public knowledge, because once a upon a time I did that and was ridiculed. My teacher then adviced me that it is not for everyone. No everyone sees the light and will condemn that which they dont understand. I'd be made to look like a fool for trying to help others. It is my good fortune that I stumbled onto him. Now I understand why the Taoist Arts were/are shrouded in secrecy because if it fell in the wrong hands it could be bad for the community or the messenger could be ridiculed. Call em selffish, but so I continue the tradition. So far I have met only one person I felt was receptive enuff for me to bring along to my master and he has never looked back since. So the lesson to learn is " Keep one's ears open , mouth shut and one might learn more and have more seredipitious events happen "
    ie. Dont be too quick to dismiss somene's view , it might be you are the one with the incorrect view.

    To answer NZRIC's question, basically mental problems crop up when :
    1. The Qi rises to the head too fast
    and / or
    2.The Qi accumulates in the head ( stagnates actually) and is accidentally not allowed to circulate ( Microcosmic and Macrocosmic orbits)

    There's more to it but you need to research it yourself and get information from RECOGNISED masters.
    May I recommend you get intouch with TCM teachers who also know Qigong as a specialisation AND who come from China or if they non Chinese, have spent at least several years in China studying and observing first hand at what goes on or what goes wrong.

    BK Frantzis is American and spent a total of 20+years in China and I recognise him as an AUTHORITY on Qigong, IMA and TCM equal to a Chinese born one.
    I'd be very vary of those people who regard themselves as TCM/ Qigong / IMA experts from reading books written by Westerners who've NEVER studied in China or perhaps spent a few months stydying in China or learn from videos.
    It's always best to get it closest to the source.
    Like I said before if you want learn proper English , does one do so in China or England ?
    Likewise for Qigong.
  3. palecricket1

    palecricket1 New Member

    wait does that apply to other things involving chi? do they shorten your life as well? What about jing, ki, qi, etc.?

    Wait a sec... that doesn't make any sense. Chi is the latent metabolic energy from the phosphorylation of cellular molecules by ATP, the enery being assimilated into the body's own energy field. it is also aquired via the lungs when you breathe. Your body's energy supply is constantly being replenished. Your lifetime, as far as a natural death goes, is dependant more upon the length of your telomeres.
  4. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    Sorry , the previous message was posted in the wrong thread, it was in repsonse to someone else.

    In response to your question, the way Qi (aka Chi, Ki in Japanese , Prana in Yoga) is defined from your quote,
    is a very narrow way of trying to portray it in western Bio-Chemical terms.

    You¡¦d find it easier to understand, if for a moment you can you cast aside one¡¦s Western Science hat/ glasses, put on your Eastern Hat and glasses and start from a clean slate.

    Nothing wrong with western definition of Chi, but it seems to miss out many aspects.
    Qi is not just metabolic energy manufactured by cellular mitrochondria and transported by ATP.
    That is only one form of Chi.

    It is a Metaphysical term and Qi is manifest in several forms, some of which are :
    Breath, Energy, Vapour, Electricity, Radiation and Matter.
    Chi is in the body , in the air and in space ( Cosmic Qi) and in the food you eat.
    Chi is absorbed into the body thru :
    1. Food
    2. Silent Meditation
    3. Sexual Mediatation, where Qi is drawn from the other partner ( yeah, got you interested eh ?)
    4. Laying of hands ¡Kin a healing session.

    In Silent Taoist Meditatation, the goal is to relax and open up the body to absorb Cosmic Chi.
    Tense muscles do not allow cosmic chi to permeate one¡¦s body.
    This is why one is asked to Relax and ¡§ Empty the Mind¡¨ ¡Kit draws cosmic Qi into your system.
    To use a Western Scientic analogy, this make absolute sense,
    an electric current will flow from a point of higher potential ( voltage) to one of ZERO or lower potential (voltage)

    Lightining stikes you because in relative terms, when you stand on the ground , you have the same voltage as ground ( Zero volts) whereas, the Clouds are charge up to several hundred thousand volts. This ¡§ difference¡¨ causes the electrons to leap across from the clouds topwards you..

    So the same with Qi.
    If you empty your mind( like Zero potential) during meditation, you are attracting Cosmic Chi towards you.

    There¡¦s also Yin Qi and Yang Qi
    Jing is Semen Esence
    Qi/ Chi is Energy
    Shen is Spiritual Intelligence.
    Taoist meditation strives to conserve Jing ( thus the recommended abstinence from ejaculation).
    The also teach men to ¡§orgasm without loss of seminal fluid, ie. without ejaculation¡¨ ¡K¡Ksomething which I¡¦m just starting to learn and practise .
    This has and added advantage¡K..multiple orgasms are then possible in men , just as in women.
    ( Now I really got you interested yeah ?)


    Taoist aim to convert Jing in the 3rd Dantien ( 3 inches below and 3 inches behind Navel) by ¡§heating¡¨ it in the Cauldron ( 3rd Dantien) during meditation , so as to convert it into Qi ( vapour from) where it rises UP to the 2nd and 1st Dantien (Solar Plexus and between eyebrows respectively).
    In the ¡§ DOWN cycle¡¨ it must come down the meridians along the front of the body, reenter the 3rd Dantien and the process repeated in cyclic fashion.
    This is the Cyclic REFINEMENT process as described in the Tao Te Ching.

    It is also described as part of the ¡§ Microcosmic Circulation¡¨ that is so important, to avoid problems of Qi stagnation.
    BTW, the 3 Dantiens are collectively known as the Triple Burners.
    Taoists believe a man¡¦s CUM has lots of Chi in raw form ( Jing).
    Excessive sex with frequent ejaculations means you are losing Qi enery (coach was right ! ) and is therefore weakening
    ¡K.why do you think you fall asleep right after, the body releases a ¡§sleepy¡¨ neurotransmitter urging you to rest because you have just lost energy.

    Off course you can replenish it with food/ meditation, but that¡¦s like trying to fill a tank with leaks in it.
    Yes, in aswer to your question, losing semen does shorten one¡¦s life¡K.according to Taoists.
    (This hasn¡¦t been proven/ disproven in western science yet but I¡¦m accepting this for now !)
    No, not the sex or orgasm part, just the ejaculation part.
    This is clearly stated in ALL Taoist texts, after all Taoist did aim to achieve Immortality.
    This makes sense when one thinks of Chi as Life Energy needed to create life in the fertilisation process.
    When you ejaculate in casual sex, that Life Energy is just going into your Durex or Kleenex !

    Hope this helps.
    Please remember, I¡¦m not an expert, I share with you only what my 3 teachers have taught me.
    It¡¦s best you get first hand advice from a Taoist teacher, but if you live in a place where this isn¡¦t possible, may I recommend books by Mantak Chia and a few other ones by enlightened western writers/ translators ( Thomas Cleary)¡K.if you find reading the original text , the Tao Te Ching too deep and methaphorical.

    * I¡¦m not a TCM expert, but I do have one degree in Radiation Physics and this is where my knowledge of Lightning, Voltage Current comes from.

    Wrt your question about " Genetic telomeres" determining the length of one's life....again that's western science.
    I'm also aware of the " Free Radical damage" tbeory of aging as well. I like to be able to reconcile Western science with Taoist science , hopefully in the future....after all I am a western trained scientist, but for now I will keep an Open mind and conditionally accept ideas theories and not be too quick to dismiss things I dont understand ( yet)

    Hey, guess what, in researching this longevity matter, I stumbled on a very interesting point. Some trees are several thousands year old !
    I realise they are of diff Genetic structure and have diff chrosome count, but they have cells like us humans. Is there something we can learn from these trees ? Can we adapt our lifstyle to be more like a tree ?
    Like being Vegetarian ?
    Have birds sit on your Woody bits ?
    Getting Woody and not ejaculating ?
    But seriously, if Some trees can achieve near Immortality, maybe the Taoist are on to something.
    Whaddya think ?
  5. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    Hello palecricket1,
    Hey I just read your profile and visited your website.
    Really kewl stuff !
    I think we have like minds and I'm really into the kind of stuff you listed.
    I have some information on " Empty Force" stuff, and would like to discusss with you and send info etc.....but prefer not to do it in open forum becuz some MAP denizens are too clever for me.

    So how can I email you privately or what ?
    From the website , you seem very well versed with the Qi subject, I couldn't tell from your initial questions.
    I guess I was telling you stuff you'd already know
    you are so modest !
  6. Azrael

    Azrael Fighting Spirit

    Soggycat: I am actually a student of Master Yang’s, and feel I should clear up some misconceptions raised in your post about the Yang Mian System.

    Yes, it is true that Marko was once a student of Master Yang’s, and that they Marko was asked to leave the school. There were a number of reasons behind this, but the main reason was that Marko took it upon himself to teach things that he himself had not been permitted to teach, and it was Master Yang’s feeling that Marko might unintentionally injure a student as he was not versed in the correct principles behind such training methods & techniques.

    Training within the Yang Mian System is an ongoing process, and there are certain stages of skill and attainment that one must go through in order to progress. The main reason these stages are in place is to insure quality, and most importantly the safety of the people participating. Marko did achieve a certain degree of attainment under Master Yang, and was at a stage where he was beginning to learn some more advanced methods & techniques. At this stage, he was also given permission to assist Master Yang instruct beginners in the basics. Unfortunately he was teaching his own variations, which raised justified safety concerns, and lead to his dismissal. Even more unfortunate is the fact that he has gone on to open his own school, and appears to be teaching a rudimentary form of Yang Mian, which really does raise some serious concerns.

    But anyway, so far I’ve addressed nothing but old politics which have nothing to do with the nature of the system itself.

    Not sure who your source for such information is soggy, but I can assure you this is not the case. I myself have taken friends I have made from other systems to visit my school on many occasions, and Master Yang has always welcomed them unconditionally. He is also well aware that I often visit their schools in return, and participate in mixed meets as often as I can.

    On the topic of 'Iron Shirt', or 'Steel Body' in our system, although I am really not the best person to ask, as I have only completed a very basic stage of this area, I will try to explain a little. Most iron body work to my knowledge is based on various methods of using ones chi to assist in protecting ones self from damage or injury from external force.

    That’s probably because they bash their heads with various objects, and other obviously dangerous activities like that (which mind you we do not take any part of within the yang mian system). Where did you get the age 50 from? It's not because of that old fighting monk you see in many of the Shaolin documentaries who has alzheimer's it? How many other cases come to mind (not counting the many found in boxing)?

    As for the chi depletion one risks training in iron body techniques... that is really beyond my knowledge to debate. It is the first I myself have ever heard of such phenomenon, but I would be interested in reading any case studies or material that supports such a theory.

    In any case, there is an article on our website titled 'Steel Body Training', which explains Yang Mian’s Steel Body component. The article can be find at

    I should also add that Master Yang has about for years of training and experience, and is well versed in many of the taoist arts (inlcuding taiji, bagua, and xing yi) as he himself studied them as a child whilst growing up in China. Any questions relating to Yang Mian training should probably be directed to him as it is his families system, and he is easily contactable and readily availible to do so.

    Soggycat: This is very wise advice to be giving, and I applaude you in doing so. Every martial art does have the potential to change ones life for better or worse, and life is precious - especially a healthy one. Do your reasearch, ask questions, don't take anything at face value, experience as much as allowable, and follow your instinct. Most importantly, use common sense, and keep safe. :)
  7. palecricket1

    palecricket1 New Member

    soggy cat:
    Wait i didn't include breathing in my post? oops silly me! Oh well, the Russian studies on the cavernous structures effect proves that ki is really just energy. When you breath, your lungs take in the energy. Then it comes through metabolism, and during meditation you gain it because you shift into a state of conciousness where you can control your energy better. I'm not taoist, nor am i into yin and yang qi, although i am keeping an open mind on the matter. Overall, my philosophy is as follows: anything in of this universe can be explained scientifically, mathematically, and/or logically. Anyway, I really don't think (but I'm still keeping an open mind) that you can lose "life energy" and not regain it, as even eastern martial artists have told me that you can replenish your supply. From what I can gather, I've found that "life energy" is really just a label for superstrings of a certain vibration rate/energy level that is often found in live organisms. I'm not saying your wrong, It's too early in my studies to say that; I'm just saying that my sources say otherwise. Oh and one more thing: where are all the dan tiens?? So far I've only heard of two of them, the one below the naval and the one in the chest. Where's the other?
  8. Syd

    Syd 1/2 Dan in Origami

    There is the upper dan tien which is commonly known as the third eye position. Actually AZ said it...and between eyebrows respectively, you just missed it I think
  9. Azrael

    Azrael Fighting Spirit

    I'm actually in the middle of an Intensive Bagua Course underr Grandmaster Ma Chuan Xu Bejing, at the moment, and I asked him for his opinion on this. He did confirm that a certain amount of Chi is lost during Iron Body, but how much (if any), depends on the method used. He did say that it is nothing that cannot be replenished, going on to say that anything that can be lost, can also be found.
  10. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    Azrael G'day !
    Thanks 4 taking the time for such indepth repsonse.
    I really appreciate your explanation of the Master Yang and Marco issue.
    It's wise of Master Yang to be careful and minimise injury potential.
    I too have met " senior students" who after a while think they are knowledgeable enough to teach ,modify or add things with little understanding of downstream effects. No doubt you will meet more along your journey.

    Glad you clarified the mistruth about Yang's students not being allowed to fraternised.

    It seems we have similar interests in developing Chi .
    How kewl ! Are you enjoying heaps with Grandmaster Ma's training?

    Yes am glad he too is of the view "Iron Shirt" does deplete chi.
    My teachers also say it can be replenished thru food/ meditation / Chikung....guess it depends on how much is lost per "Iron Shirt" episode eh?

    Say daily food and meditation gains you +X units of chi
    and an episode of " Iron Shirt" loss is -Y units of chi.

    As long as X is greater than Y, you are still inpositive territory and gaining, and moving towards longevity and good health.
    But if X is lesser than Y , you suddenly dip in life-shortening territory.
    Sometimes Yis so large it can wipe out several days worth
    of X Chi.

    This was the way my teacher explained it to me.
    Strict Taoist IMAs are very cautious about conserving their Chi and will stay away from activities that deplete Chi unnecessarily.
    ...meaning they will glad consume precious Chi if it is used to save lives or heal a family member....but not to get a purse snatcher.
  11. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    Hello palecricket1

    I agree with your description of Chi and what the Russians found. But I think the Taoist are saying it is more than just tangible energy measured in calories and joules. There's a report in a Western book ( UK ) that claims Chinese scientist have also measured the speed of transmission of chi as well. The issue with the way the West views Chi is is that it is described in scientific terms , and therefore limited to the state of scientific progress of the day. Before Einstein proved it, Relativity was unheard of, and much of Star ( Black Holes and Red Dwarfs) activity could not be explained .

    The Taoist view is that Chi can change form, cosmic Chi, Air Chi,Blood Chi , Vapour depends where the Chi is at that point in time. This is not entirely inconsistent with the way western science views the transformative nature of tangible energy...Kinetic, Potential, Chemical Electromagnetic, Electric and Magnetic and Radioactive.
    I am a western trained scientist with a degree in Physics, but I still like to keep an open mind to Taoist discoveries. Whilst trying to reconcile Western and Taosit science, I find it useful to temporarily put aside my western Glasses when reading Taoist text.

    The 3 Dantiens:
    1.Just below and behind navel
    2.Just behind Solar Plexus
    3. Between eyebrows

    It is good that you keep an open mind and suspend judgement .
  12. Azrael

    Azrael Fighting Spirit

    soggycat: Hey mate. No worries. Glad my best was good enough in this case. :)

    Well, it is unfortunately over now (finished up today), but yeah, I really enjoyed it. It was an awesome (and humbling) experience that i will cherish for the rest of my life. I only pray that it will not be the last time I have this opportunity. :)

    Hahahaha, yeah!

    Actually, I have a story you might find interesting.

    Grandmaster Ma was telling us about a 91yr old I-Chuan (spelling?) Master in China that gave up his family and moved to the mountains about 40 years ago. According to Ma, he does 14 hours a day of I-Chuan mediation in order to cultiavte as much internal energy as possible. Apparently he is capable of some amazing things, but thats another topic.

    Anyway, Ma Shifu was telling us that this guy actually refused to come down from the mountains to heal his grand-daughter who was very ill. His reason for this was that he would have to waste his internal energy to do so. He did end up coming down, but it was only when his grand-daughter was literally on the brink of death. Not sure how true that story is, but I do not see any reason for Ma to have made it up. Pretty exctreme huh?!
  13. pandajelly

    pandajelly New Member

    Yes , that is what a Daoist would do.
    To them conserving personal Chi is paramount, any kindness shown to others is measured. Maybe he didnt like his daughter.
    I haven't heard of this story personally, but this Ichuan ( YiChuan) guy sounds a lot like Wang Xiang Zhai founder ( YiChuan is aka DaChengChuan - modified HsingI)
    I have the book written by his son,Wang Xuan Jie.

    if u read this , so you realise now that Master Bing's is not the only "uncaring b*******" Daoist ?
    Like I said before, Master Bing avoids publicity of all sorts FOR THE SAME REASON !
    But he is kind enuff to teach the 20+ of us genuine and receptive students at some cost to hispersonal Chi.
    We are so honored.
  14. nzric

    nzric on lookout for bad guys


    Now... about that iron shirt training
  15. nzric

    nzric on lookout for bad guys

    I agree with many of the posts here. The reason many of us chose IMA is because we recognise that "conditioning" does much more long term damage than any short-term gain in power/dulled senses.

    Whatever your view on chi - the fundamental thing is that concentration and meditation (whether by qigong or other ways) works. It focuses your mind, makes you much more conscious of your bodily functions, and enables you to concentrate your blood/energy/focus/mind/coordination on certain parts of your body to speed healing and develop power.

    Nothing you do will make you live longer, whether it's chi cultivation, abstinence or eating healthy. It will just make you die more slowly. Our body is a clock that's slowly winding down. In my opinion, iron body work is a waste of energy - why bash your head/chest on things when you don't need to? Do what the real IMA masters do and circulate your own chi/energy internally, make your body a more efficient machine.

    SC - we disagree about a lot of the finer details about the concept of chi, but I think we agree on quite a bit.
  16. pandajelly

    pandajelly New Member

    * * * Nzric * * * *

    I take it that your unwillingness to respond to the statement below is a tacit admission that you concede that Master Bing's refusal to save your cherished orphans is for a good reason and not UNCOMMON behaviour amongst Daoist ?

    Not trying to rub your face in it, just trying to help you understand " selfish" Daoist behaviour.

  17. pandajelly

    pandajelly New Member

    * * * Nzric * * * *

    I take it that your unwillingness to respond to the statement below is a tacit admission that you concede that Master Bing's refusal to save your cherished orphans is for a good reason and not UNCOMMON behaviour amongst Daoist ?

    Not trying to rub your face in it, just trying to help you understand " selfish" Daoist behaviour.

  18. pandajelly

    pandajelly New Member

    Questions for Grandmaster Ma

    If Chi= Hypnosis + Bio-Mechanics, more of it won't extend one's life, just makes one less decrepit towards end days

    But if Chi = Life force energy, t it stands to reason the more you have , the longer you live until it runs out.
    This is central to all Daoist teaching and TCM.
    Please don't take my word for it and ask Grandmaster Ma before he leaves .
    Whilst you are there ask him to explain the Jing ( semen) - Chi - Shen refinement cycle .

    Just so you know it's not just Master Bing who said it.

    Whilst you are there , ask Master Ma also about Empty Force ...I dunno his views but there's a good chance he might dismiss it....and then you can say "I told you so" to me.

    Also ask him about Daoist Master Yu Shwen Der ( spelling?) who spent 20 years training in Wudang and is a known figure in the Wudang circle. He's approx 45 yo and has a reddish face and beard.

    Ask him if he has heard of his Empty Force abilities.
  19. wutan

    wutan Valued Member

    As we all know there are various ways of developing the internal organ strength which I like to call 'Nei Kung' rather than 'Chi Kung'.
    We practice a 24 nei kung internal strength method which is safe and will give the same benefits as all the unsafe practices without the bad side effects.
    The thing is that you have to practice the exercises on a regular basis which takes quite a bit of time even at the basic level.
    I recal a story of our grandmaster Cheng Tin Hung sending a guy who had been practising a dangerous form of Chi Kung (which resulted in him constantly ejaculating) to a student of Cheng's to correct and reverse an imbalance.The student's occupation was a roadsweeper in Hong Kong.
    One never knows what internal skills people posess by looking at their daily occupation.
  20. nzric

    nzric on lookout for bad guys

    I heard of that story!

    PJ - I didn't answer you because I don't want to insult SC by turning this into another discussion about your teacher and your teacher's psychic powers. This thread is about iron shirt training. Respect the rules of the forum mate.

    (btw - I believe in the strength of chinese medicine and the fact that a hermit who practices forms every day for his entire life would have a fairly extensive knowledge of the body and its imbalances. Giving someone first aid by treating them with knowledge of the human body gained over years of practice is not the same as introducing the world to a new energy force.)

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