Master Gu Ru Zhang was also known as the “King of Iron Palm”.
What is the name of this martial art style? Where do I get information about this man and his style? How do I achieve the goal of having hands like this? Which exercises do I need to do?
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The Northern Shaolin style of kung fu is one of the most prominent traditional northern styles of Chinese martial arts. The northern styles of kung-fu generally emphasize long range techniques, quick advances and retreats, wide stances, kicking and leaping techniques, whirling circular blocks, quickness, agility, and aggressive attacks.
The system teaches empty-hand techniques and weaponry through predetermined combinations, known as forms, routines, or movement of sets. The students learn the basics by practicing the routines until the movements in the routines can be executed naturally based on instinct. Then, two or multiple man sets are practiced to train responses and applications of techniques learned from the sets. The practice sets/routines are not only practical in applications but are also graceful and artistic in nature. The fluidness of the movements combined with acrobatic techniques are trademarks of the Northern Shaolin sets.
The curriculum is fairly well-documented and the forms are available online as YouTube videos. Oddly enough, I haven't found much evidence for a governing body or a form of licensing, so be wary and do your research on any teachers or schools you find to determine whether they have the knowledge and experience they claim.
As for hand conditioning, the general consensus is to not do it. At a time when a man's life might have depended on winning multiple fights in a life-or-death situation, it might have made sense to damage one's body, sacrificing joint mobility and hand sensitivity, to have a better weapon at the end of one's arm. We no longer live in that time period. Most of us will never fight for our life, and in cases where we do, we're much better off learning to run better, as it's got a better chance of increasing our survival.