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I made an interesting discovery the other day. I volunteer with the local Food Bank. Part of that involves working at produce distributions where usually seven vegetables and fruits are given out to about 150 people in a hour. So a “customer” might get 6 oranges, a head of cabbage, 7 apples, four or five potatoes, a bag of carrots and a couple onions. There’s a fair amount of shuttling between the tables and the truck. It is not uncommon to have to scramble up to reach oranges, for example, stored in the top bin of the truck six feet off the ground. Due to a misspent youth I do NOT have the world’s best knees, and hot asphalt is hardly the best surface for them. In fact, they were both particularly sore last night.

In a lot of the “external” Chinese martial arts like Hung Gar and Shaolin advanced students often have the opportunity to do Iron Palm training. As I recall, Tong Bei also has Iron Palm, although I know nothing of the details. Probably other arts as well. Iron Palm involves striking canvas bags of mung beans, then gravel and finally steel shot. Eventually, one can break ice and bricks (well, really paving stones). A part of the training involves soaking your hands in a liniment often called Dit Da Jow. I had always assumed Dit Da Jow (and a cousin named Si Sou Fang) were strictly for hands and forearms. So, with no expectations, I rubbed some on my knees. A couple minutes later – no pain. I’ve emailed my old Iron Palm teacher (who will doubtless tell me I should have studied more Traditional Chinese Medicine and this would have been obvious) and have passed the discovery along a martial arts grapevine that I belong to.

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