Internal Training in Shaolin Iron Shirt
Today’s martial arts are often for competition or for show, where martial artists need to withstand heavy blows much less often. Still, there are some masters who have kept the art of Iron shirt alive.
It is said that Shaolin Iron shirt works by strengthening Qi (sometimes spelled Chi), the energy that some people believe flows in and around the body. Any area a vest covers is the area that is trained to focus Qi – the chest, stomach, shoulders, and back. For those that don’t believe in Qi, the scientific principles of gradually strengthening bones and tissues in these areas through exercise and repetitive training still apply.
For internal training, there are several stances and postures to practice and hold for a certain period of time, followed by moving sets which increase core strength. There are too many of these to go over in this short article, so if you are interested, you can find a manual on the topic or a master to guide you. As always, it is not recommended to attempt these things without expert guidance because you may injure yourself.
You need to practice these postures and sets for up to 90 minutes a day for 3 years. And remember that this is just the internal part of Shaolin Iron shirt!