Introduction to Fundamental Iron Skills: What do you actually start training first?
Dr. Dale Dugas AP DOM
Iron Skills training is an old school method of training the entire body to accept more punishment than someone untrained in these amazing strength training programs. The monks of old trained body and mind and merged them to create a synergistic method to respond to physical hand to hand self-defense situations.
To succeed in Iron Skills training, one must enable and train the mind as well as the body. The first level of physical training enables one to examine the structure of the body and focus in on the levels of tension that can be found.
Tension is the true enemy of whole body movement and whole-body power generation. So, one must examine themselves as they locate and remove these areas of tension.
The next question would naturally be, how does one go about training this?
All complete martial arts systems have this training program. All arts teach how you first you to stand, and then how to move. One must learn how to stand, then shift, then walk, eventually leading them to run.
How does one stand?
Here in this newsletter I will be sharing my methods of standing for reducing stress, ridding the body and its residual tension as well as help you succeed in your Iron Skills practice.
The first level of standing will usually be the hardest for most as it will test your mind and develop your patience as well as your awareness skills.
Most will use the universal post posture as their posture to begin standing. Other postures can be added along with other training methods. Some systems such as Yiquan, focus on standing and fully develop their structure through serious standing before moving on to moving methods.
Standing should be done in the morning upon rising. Go to the bathroom if needed and get your business done. Dress for the season and be comfortable. Do not stand in insane heat or humidity. Do not stand for long times at high noon, as this was recognized as a most chaotic time energetically.
Thunderstorms here in Tampa where I alive are very common, though usually they occur in the early to late afternoon. Another reason to get your training done in the morning. I like many others do my quiet training, whether standing and sitting, before I train any Iron Skills training program.
Standing is part of all real Iron Palm training as well as movement specific to Iron Body training.
If you are not seriously standing daily, you are not going to be as fast and powerful as you think you are.
Now let’s examine how to properly train your standing.
Where loose fitting clothes. Cotton and silks are preferable over synthetic fabrics which can hold an electric charge much easier.
All breathing is going to be done by inhaling through the nose and then exhaling out of your mouth. We will be doing belly breathing, or hypogastric breathing. You will inhale and your belly will expand and move out. When you exhale you will deflate the belly and allow the belly to move back.
One complete breath, meaning an inhalation as well as an exhalation, counts as one set. You will hold the above posture for 18 breath sets. If you would like to count each breath you can, as it will be 36 breaths. Either method of measurement is fine. It is about training your awareness.
When you are practicing your standing, stand in the stance as pictured in the above photo. It is known as Standing Post or Universal Post. I just call it Power Standing.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
Unlock your knees and allow your legs to bend slightly and your weight to be shifted from the upper legs to the lower legs and feet. This is more beneficial as your knees are supposed to act like shock absorbers, so bend those knees.
Hold your arms down at your sides. The posture is very reminiscent of Gunfighters in Spaghetti Westerns at high noon readying to spring into action. Is it not funny that Gunfighters knew how to relax and move faster by standing still?
Do not allow your hands to touch your body. You also want to open the armpits and allow circulation to the hands. Opening the armpits will cause the lower position of the hands to flare out from the body. This is the beginning posture that allows for the least amount of resistance to be noticed.
Breath in and exhale to begin.
Bring your awareness to your neck, as you hold your head up for long periods of time, you need to examine your neck muscles. Many people hold their residual tension in their upper bodies, necks, and traps. Some have so much tension that these muscular structures resemble stone. It is not healthy and unaddressed this tension contributes to overall hypertension issues.
What do you notice in the muscles of your neck? Tightness? Can you raise your shoulders and touch them to your ears? If not, you have some serious tight traps that need to be relaxed.
You can touch your neck if you must see if it is too tight or not. So many people live daily with increased residual tension in their bodies that they do not notice.
Breath into that area of your body and imagine the tension breaking up and dissolving.
Imagine as you inhale that you are seeing the area under tension dissolving and falling down your body as if being washed down the drain.
Move from your neck to your traps, located on top of your shoulders. Examine them, touch them if necessary. Inhale, as you see any tension there breaking apart and being dissolved and then removed, drained from that area.
Now move to the chest, repeat the examination. Breathe in and dissolve and break apart any tension you find in your chest.
Next move to the diaphragm. Inhale in and then exhale any tension.
Move to the Abs. Inhale in and exhale, dissolving any tension you find.
Shift down to your thighs. Repeat. Inhale in and breath out any tension.
Move down to the front of the lower legs.
Then to the feet. Breath in and breath out any tension or pain that you encounter.
Now repeat the process as you move up the posterior section of your body. Start with the heels. Rock on your feet if necessary to locate the area of tension. Breath in and exhale any tension you locate.
Slide up to the calves. Breath in, and exhale your pain or tension.
Do this in stages up your body. Back of the thighs, glutes, lower lumbar, mid thoracic and upper back should all be examined and any tension removed.
Do this for 30 days.
At the end of one month not only will you have less physical stress stuck in your muscles as well as having dropped your blood pressure.
The more tension you can remove from your structure, the more muscle fibers can then be inculcated into movement. So, you will have more muscles to use in any movement. You will be faster, and stronger.
This is the first level of standing.
You can do this before any sporting event to calm your body and mind and to focus. Your ability to focus will be like a laser beam when you practice.
Standing is a serious part of Iron Palm training. Master Gene Chicoine, one of my Iron Skills teachers, made sure to ask me about developing true power while teaching me privately at his summer home in Gloucester MA. He asked and then explained that I should be standing daily for maximum power development.
I stand inside on mornings with rain or I will stand outside under my porches.
Standing should be done before any and all Iron Hand/Iron Palm training as well as competition to focus.
Thank you for joining us on the path to better health, more strength and less stress!
Dr. Dale Dugas, AP DOM
P.S. Stay tuned for more newsletter on all aspects of Iron Skills training and Dit Da Jow usage, along with much more!