What is Iron Palm?


Iron Palm is one of the 72 arts or the Shaolin. Iron Palm Training was once a traditional part of every major style of Chinese Martial Art and is a highly beneficial practice for anyone wishing to develop a powerful strike.

Iron Palm refers to the techniques used by the Shaolin monks to make the hands, legs, and feet feel like iron smashing against any object they punched or kicked. In order to accomplish this, they applied Iron Palm liniment on the hands legs, shins or any part of the body they used to strike during training, this would prevent pain, strengthen and heal the area quickly so they could resume training.

The herbs used in an Iron Palm liniment are also designed to prevent future bone and joint problems by strengthening bones, connective tissue, sinew and other areas where there has been repetitive contact. Iron Palm is also very good for relieving pain in the areas mentioned above, so even if you do not practice Iron Palm this liniment is very beneficial.

True Iron Palm training is a combination of external training or conditioning and internal training through Qi Gong. You cannot develop your Iron Palm technique to it's fullest potential without internal Qi Gong training.

Of course striking hard objects daily can deform the hands, causing damage to joints, tendons and ligaments which can lead to arthritis and impairment in older age. To prevent this happening it is important to use the Iron Palm liniment (Dit Da Jow) both before, during and after training. See instructions on how to apply the Jow in the FAQ section.

In addition to great Iron Palm masters like Ku Yu Cheung, we must give great credit to the Shaolin Abbot Shi De Chan (1907-1993) who had just settled into the practice of medicine at the Shaolin Temple ,when  General Shi You San (石友三) arrived to burn the temple down.

Pre-empting the disaster, Shi De Chan took many books away from the Temple and hid them for safe-keeping.  He also encouraged the masters of Shaolin Kung Fu to teach additional students so that the treasures of Shaolin would not be lost during the coming war. Later, after the Temple had been all but destroyed, Shi De Chan returned to help salvage what was left, and to return the prized books to their original location. 

Abbot Shi De Chan also dictated over a 3 year period, all the secret Shaolin Herbalist recipes to a student monk De Qian who compiled the formulas into a manuscript 'Shaolin Secret Formulas for the Treatment of External Injury'. This book presents hundreds of treatments for a wide variety of external or martial arts injuries as well as preventive training formulas. Some of our liniments are taken directly from this book.

In 1993, at the age of eight-six, Abbot Shi De Jian passed away.  His remains are interred in the Pagoda Forest, the burial ground for Abbots of the Shaolin Temple since the year 791.

Can you develop Iron Palm skill in 100 Days?

One can certainly increase skill in 100 days, and probably break things too, however real Iron Palm skills are developed over a long period of time.

The mechanics and the physical conditioning can be achieved in 100 days, assuming you don't get any injuries and follow the instructions carefully without over doing it in the early phase. It also helps to have your SIFU or teacher guide you along your Iron Palm journey.

The five basic strikes of palm, back of hand, knife edge, fingers and heel of the palm can also be supplemented with fist striking and thumb strikes (jut sao) if you wish, it all depends on what you are trying to achieve.

If you have a wooden dummy, you can also develop the toughness and conditioning of the bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments of the forearm to develop devastating blocking or intercepting strikes during sparring.

If you are serious about Iron Palm, the book Iron Palm in 100 Days by Lee Ying-Arng is a good reference. I also recommend searching the Internet for anything by Rod Morgan of the Iron Lotus Society and Sifu Chris Lomas, UK. There are others ..

How are Red Chi liniments made?

Red Chi liniments are all made from prescriptions of Chinese herbs, prepared by a Chinese Medicine practitioner with over 25 years experience. We only use complete herbs, hand cut to usable size, not low quality powder sold by some merchants.

The herbs are placed in a large glass jar (typically 5-7 litres) soaked in 95% proof alcohol and agitated daily for at least 1 month, then weekly for a further 12 months. The alcohol is an excellent solvent for extracting and preserving the compounds and nutrients.


We use glass jars and bottles to ensure our liniments are not contaminated with chemicals that can leach from plastic.

How strong are Red Chi Liniments?

Our liniments use at least 500 grams, and sometimes over 1 kilogram of the different Chinese herbs to produce 5 litres of liniment and take around 2 years for full potency to occur.


That is a massive amount of herbs and guarantees that Red Chi liniments are the best and most potent you can buy.


What is Dit Da Jow or Jow?

Dit Da Jow is a liniment which literally means 'fall and strike wine' made from Chinese herbs and soaked in alcohol. It is not for drinking however, only for external use.


Dit Da Jow is a unique mixture of many aromatic herbs such as myrrh and ginseng, which are combined to stimulate circulation, reduce pain and swelling, and improve healing of injuries.


Different types of Jow can be made from different combinations (recipes) of herbs. Iron Palm jow for example contains herbs specifically to strengthen the skin, connective tissue and toughen bones.

Oil or Liniment?

Oils and Liniments have been in existence for thousands of years.  A liniment is an alcohol-based formula, one in which herbs have been soaked in alcohol for an extended period of time. An oil is created in a similar manner, but without alcohol as the extracting medium. Liniments absorb more quickly and generally have better penetration than oils, although oils are easier to massage in.

Abbot Shi De Chan (seated)

Rare old footage of the techniques discussed in 'Iron Palm in 100 Days' and some Iron Palm breaking

Ku Yu Cheung's



Original 25 herb formula

(excluding tiger bone)

Leung Jan's



Original 26 herb formula

from the Red Boat era.

Shaolin Temple



Original 15 herb formula

Ye Tianshi's



Original 34 herb formula

from over 300 years ago!.