Should Wing Chun Have Iron Palm?
At a seminar, somebody said to me, “I have read some old books on Wing Chun. One of the books it mentions, that in the past, people who studied Wing Chun also trained Iron Palm and Iron Fist. Why don’t we practice this?” This is an interesting question! So first of all, did Wing Chun contain Iron Palm and Iron Fist training? I have never heard my teacher Grandmaster Ip Chun 葉準 say anything about this and as far as I know his father Grandmaster Ip Man 葉問 never mentioned this as well. I have also not read anything like this before.
Wing Chun is a woman’s fighting skill, as such it concentrates on using less energy or soft energy, sensitivity and how to use the opponent’s strength against them. Iron Palm skill is not suitable for Wing Chun training since the stronger the palm or the fist then the stiffer the muscles and joints become and this reduces the sensitivity and mobility of our movements. This is why Wing Chun does not just focus on the power of one strike. Of course we still need enough strength to hurt our opponent, but we also target the weak areas, sense their energy, diverting or redirecting it back to them. Therefore Wing Chun training focuses on Chī Sáu 黐手, in order to develop our skill and sensitivity rather than creating so much power in the hands. However this does not mean our hands a weak, they are powerful but in a different way.