The exercise "Celestial's Palm" belongs to hard exercises for outer strengthening. This exercise trains to obtain so called "YANG Hand", it trains the skill of stabbing force of finger tips. There is a similar, on the face of it, exercise for a hand YIN, the soft exercise "One Finger of CHAN Meditation" (YI ZHI CHAN GONG) (see par.#7). However, those two exercises are similar only in that in both cases finger tips are used. Four fingers closely laid together are used in this exercise. The training method is quite simple and one can achieve a good result comparatively soon, therefore many people do it.
The method of doing the exercise: at first press together four fingers tightly, (the fingers are straight and strained) and deliver stabbing blows with force at hard objects, for instance at wall, tree, table or wooden bench. At the first stage it is not essential that it should be a definite object. Training must be carried out each day. After long training some result will be achieved, for instance, you will be able to make a small dent in a wood. The more you train, the more will be the dent, with time you will strike a hole. Take then a big stone - a green semiprecious stone -and continue training as before. With time, after many blows, you will make a deep dent. If you deliver a blow at an enemy with this palm, you will inflict on him a severe wound. Therefore, one should be quiet and well-balanced. Even those who improve their skill in "Iron Bull" (TIE NIU GONG) and bear sword and spear blows with confidence, will not be able withstand. It is of no
importance whether he knows about this technique or not: when he comes across with "Celestial's Palm", he will surely lose. A trainee in "Iron Bull" exercises hard force of YANG. Although a trainee in "Celestial's Palm" also exercises the hard force of YANG, but the soft force of YIN is also available, therefore YIN overpowers YANG. It is called "to overpower hardness with the help of softness". There is such a saying among fighters: "Training the exercise "Iron Bull", it is possible to attain perfection, but this skill becomes ineffectual against "Celestial's Palm".
When training this skill, it is better to exercise both left and right palm, in that case the enemy will not know from where a blow will be delivered. Two words (hieroglyphs) JIAN and REN - "Tenacity" and "Endurance" can be the best wishes.
16. Method of Hardness and Softness (GANG ROU FA).
Another name of "Method of Hardness and Softness" is the exercise with a paper bundle. This skill belongs to YANG category, but it also uses the vital energy QI, training in which belongs to YIN category. This GONG FU is concentrated in a fist. Although it is said to be the hard GONG FU, but you will understand in a process of training that it is not pure hardness. Actually, it is mutually complementary combination of soft and hard GONG FU.
At the first stage of training it is necessary to take a small amount of spoiled paper and tie it up with a string, shaping a bundle into a brick two CHIs (about 66 cm) long and wide, two of its opposite sides are a little longer. Tie a long cord at the butt-end to pull this weight. It is necessary to lay this paper bundle on a long table. The length of the table should be about two ZHANGs (about 6.6 m), its width should be about three CHIs (1 m). The surface of the table should consist of several boards of different width laid perpendicular to a longer side of the table. The outer boards are fixed to the frame of the table and ten odd boards at the middle are removable. A trainee stands by one of the end of the table, assumes the stance MA BU ("Rider") or GONG BU ("Bow"), takes the end of the long cord with his left hand and strikes with his right fist at the paper bundle lying near him at the end of the table. At first the bundle moves to a small distance which increases with greater skill. After a blow the left hand pulls the cord and returns the bundle to the initial position. After one more blow return the bundle again and so on: do so until you exhaust. Then, change hands. You should train yourself each day, one time in the morning, one time in the evening. At first the weight of the paper bundle must not exceed 20 JINs (10 kg), it is comparatively easy to strike at it. Later some lead should be added to the bundle, the weight is gradually increased up to 100 JINs. If the weight is gradually increased, it is hardly noticeable for a trainee. Continue training as before: after a blow the bundle should move to some distance, the other hand returns it to the initial position. At that stage half a success is reached. The force of a punch is astonishing, but has not reached the highest degree yet. After that it is necessary to remove the narrowest board to have a chink. Strike at the bundle in the same manner and return it back. At first the bundle will fall through the chink, but after a few months it will fly over it without hindrance. It is necessary, then, to remove one more board and continue training. Gradually you will remove all the removable boards and a chink 1 ZHANG (about 3.3 m) wide will appear on the table. If, when striking, the bundle flies over the chink and then, after a jerk, comes to the initial position without falling into the chink, it means the full success. Although a man, struck with the same force, receives an injury not as heavy as that one when GONG FU "Horse's Saddle" (MA AN GONG) is used, all the same he will fly at a distance of more than 2 ZHANGs (about 6.6 m) and fall. This method is very effective in a combat with several enemies. The gist of this method is hardness YANG, but softness YIN is also available. Thus, hardness and softness complement each other, that's why the exercise is called "Method of Hardness and Softness" (GANG ROU FA).
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