Translator’s Note: Iron Groin Self-Cultivation is a highly specialised part of traditional Chinese martial arts training. As modern martial sports conform to arbitrary rules (that prohibit strikes to the groin), the art of Iron Groin Self-Cultivation is not required, or even known. Traditional Chinese martial arts work from the premise that an individual (or group) can be attacked at any time, in any place, and with any method, and through the many different styles, has formulated a number of different and effective responses to such threats. The Ch’an Dao Method is Longfist based and the first part of Iron Groin Self-Cultivation consists simply in the practice of blocking, deflecting or evading any strikes to the groin area. This is exactly the same training format for both men and women. Many are satisfied with this stage of training and seldom go beyond it, even though occasionally in free-sparring (without pads), a student may be accidently struck in the groin area and learn how painful this can be. The next step in Iron Groin Self-Cultivation is the learning of how to ‘accommodate’ or ‘take’ a blow to the groin that positions the incoming power away from the vital organs. As part of the all-round mind and body conditioning, the ligaments and tendons that support the groinal area are both toughened and made pliable. Furthermore, with enhanced awareness, the groinal area can be suitably re-positioned as the incoming strike lands – thus diverting power away. For a man, this can involve the re-directing of the incoming power to the front of, behind, or between the testicles. Regular practise of this technique also conditions the groinal area so that the intense pain associated with the genital organs being struck, is de-sensitised in such a manner that allows the practitioner to continue to defend his or herself. This is a moderately advanced skill and some people practise it. Advanced Iron Groin Self-Cultivation training can involve the testicles being withdrawn upwards (through an act of concentrated will and muscle-control) into the lower body - away from the groinal area. Another method (featured in the translated article below) involves heavy weights suspended from the penis and/or testicles. This creates such psychological and physical strength in the practitioner that any strikes landing in the groinal area are more likely to hurt the attacker. This is a very rare stage of attainment that when trained in properly, appears to enhance and not hinder the reproductive function. ACW 29.2.2016
In the early 1920’s, Master Xie Ying Zhai (谢映斋), who at the time was already a renowned dentist in Shanghai, also trained in a true (but hidden) cultural treasure. He received instruction (behind closed doors) at the home of Old Master Zhang (张). Old Master Zhang was a direct lay-lineage successor of the art of ‘Yi Jin Jing’ (易筋经) attributed to the Indian Buddhist monk Bodhidharma. Yi Jin Ying translates as ‘Change Muscle Tendon Classic’. Master Zhang transmitted Bodhidharma’s Yi Jin Jing lineage to Master Xie Ying Zhai – who specialised and excelled in the ‘Iron Groin Self-Cultivation’ (铁裆功 – Tie Dang Gong) aspect of the art. Master Xie Ying Zhai taught and passed on this lineage to Zhu Gong Yun (竺公云), and Master Zhu Gong Yun passed on the lineage to Gu Shi Xiong (顾师兄), and Zi Yuan (紫元). The arts of Yi Yin Jing (Change Muscle and Tendon Classic) and Tie Dang Gong (Iron Groin Self-cultivation) retain both a spiritual and transcendent quality.