Under Armor

An interesting achievement that comes from diligent practice of the Yi Chuan Method is an increase in resistance to damage from being hit.  Sometimes this resistance is referred to as ‘iron shirt’ because it is like have a layer of ‘iron’ armor over the body.

We can safely say that ‘iron’ has nothing to do with it, no reason to alter your diet or start taking supplements.  The question is, what is changing with the body to have this effect?

Let’s start with the torso.  Between the ribs and the hips everything is soft tissue, other than a few vertebra there are no bones at all to protect what is inside.  The fundamental posture if the method addresses this problem by leveling the ‘bowl’ of the hips so the organs can be pressed down by the diaphragm.  The sinking or closing of the chest enhances this effect by physically squeezing the rib cage around the abdominal cavity.

The result is like a power lifter putting on a weight belt.  The pressure inside the body cavity increases, enhancing the stability between the upper and lower body.  At the same time something else is happening.

Again the fundamental posture of the method requires all of the connective tissue to be stretched and pulled.  The hundreds of large and small pockets of muscle tissue separated by fascia are engaged.  Like bulkheads in a ship these pockets isolate and pressurize in a way the diffuses the force of an impact rather than let it penetrate.

This interconnection is, of course, dynamic.  When one thing moves, everything moves.  Push and pull ebb and flow with the internal orbit of the frame and the expression of strength as directed by the Yi .  Like a spinning top this internal motion serves to deflect incoming force.

Visualize punching an empty soda can, even a small amount of force makes it go crunch.

Visualize a punching a full soda can, even a large amount of force fails to dent it, hand and can bounce off of each other.

Now imagine punching a full soda can that is fluttering around like a butterfly………

About steveehrenreich

I am a long time practitioner of martial arts and Yi Chuan student of Master Cheuk Fung.
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