The Shaolin Temple’s 72 Secret Fighting Exercises or ‘Kungs’ involve dramatic training extremes which, if persisted with, deliver astonishing results. Practising the Iron Kneecaps Exercise transforms the knees into formidable weapons capable of defeating the strongest opponent. Details of training methods and the three key stages involved follow.
‘Kungs’ involve mostly either Soft ‘Yin Rou Energy’ Training, (mainly Internal) or Hard ‘Yang Gang Power’ Training (mainly External) although a few involve both. The Iron Kneecaps Exercise aka Tie Xi Gong is of the Yang Gang External Power Training variety.
Training the Kneecaps this way allows them to be used like (and alongside) the elbows for striking, particularly useful in close and middle-range fighting. Developing the kneecaps’ combat use makes an extra weapon available for such purposes.
The impact of a sudden Knee-attack can be dramatic, ‘Like a tiger shattering a flock of sheep!’ During combat the knees can be used as a surprise or secret weapon to ‘turn the tables’ on and defeat an opponent.
Sit cross-legged, with the bottom of each fist, strike the knee-caps 72 times, simultaneously. Next, with palms flat upon the knee-caps, massage them from the outside inwards 36 times in circular fashion. Repeat the exercise, this time massaging 36 times from the inside outwards, similarly. This drill (which helps reshape the patella to fit and protect the knee-joint more effectively) should be repeated 9x, twice daily, morning and evening. After approximately 1 year Students should be ready for the next stage.
Now, two wooden mallets replace the fists and the exercise is repeated similarly, both striking and massaging. Again, Students should be ready for the third and final stage after 1 year.
This final training-stage, which is of a similar duration, uses two metal hammers but otherwise follows the same pattern as the first two. By this period’s close the knee-caps should be ‘as strong as iron’ and enough to defeat the strongest opponent, whether used offensively or in defence.
Varieties of Knee Attacks
Parrying Knee: stops opponents moving forwards, blocks kicks, sets the user up for a counter-attack;
Darting Knee Strike: quick, close-range upward and forward strikes to the centreline;
Goring Knee Strike: opportunist advancing strike to central or lower torso;
Curving Knee Strike: the knee moves upwards and sideways off the back foot to strike the head or upper body;
Upward Knee Strike: a quickly lifted knee-attack to the vital parts when opponents close carelessly;
Side Knee Strike: a counter-attacking knee technique, used after a side-step or other evasion;
Flying Knee Strike: single, double or combination jumping strikes, particularly useful against a tiring opponent;
In Stages 2 and 3 of the above training regime, it is advisable to rub the knee-caps thoroughly with Chinese medicinal wine/Dit-Da-Jeow, after practice to avoid internal injury.
In 5 Animals Terms knee technique (elbow too) Is Leopard: treacherous, deceptive, vicious with high power-to-weight characteristics (force and energy concentrates at the sharp-pointed kneecap)!