Iron palm training, also sometimes called “iron fist” training, is a system of hand conditioning used by martial artists to develop toughness in their hands and the ability to deliver powerful strikes. Iron palm training takes months and years of dedicated training under the guidance of a qualified instructor, and care must be taken to ensure that the student does not try to progress too quickly as doing so could result in injury. A skilled practitioner will be able to break bricks and concrete slabs with ease. By the same token, he will be able to do significant damage to an enemy with a strike.
Iron Palm raining begins by dropping the hand onto a canvas bag filled with mung beans, which is place on a table or stand waist high. The mung beans are solid but not too hard and provide a good amount of resistance for the beginner. After months of training, the second level is done with a bag full of gravel, which is harder and provides higher levels of conditioning. When the student has become advanced a bag full of steel shot may be used. This is optional and is not required to have a high level of skill, but steel shot is even harder than gravel.
Most iron palm training regimens require the use of dit da jow, a topical liniment, or some other type of liniment to help protect and heal the hands during and after training sessions. Since training takes place every day, the hands must be fully healed before the next training session occurs. Dit da jow helps to facilitate healing.