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Red Sand Palm

Left hand palm prism rainbow
Red Sand Palm is a skill developed in training the Shaolin Arts.

Whether you’ve been training qigong for a long time, or have just recently started, you may have noticed the palms of your hands turn red after a training session, particularly with certain exercises. If you’re just starting to delve into patterns and techniques to train internal force, you’ve definitely noticed this phenomenon. What is happening here when you experience this and what does it mean?

Within the Shaolin Arts, speaking particularly of Shaolin Kungfu, there are many different types of palm techniques, one of which is known as “Red Sand Palm”, or more classically, “Cinnabar Palm”, as the palm of the hand becomes so charged with energy that it turns red, like the cinnabar or vermillion used in ancient China for making inks, dyes, and even used in the Chinese materia medica. A trained and skillful exponent possessing the Red Sand Palm can strike gently, yet exert enough internal force to cause great harm to his opponent.

But for the vast majority of us, this is not how we experience Red Sand Palm. For us, it is a transient phenomenon which is a result of good Qi flow to our palms. Certain patterns like Pushing Mountains, Lifting Water, or even just practicing a kungfu set can cause Red Sand Palm in a much more noticeable way, indeed with my own students, after teaching any sort of internal force training, I always chuckle to myself a bit when so many of them are looking surprisingly at their hands afterwards. If you notice this after your training, take it as a good sign that you are practicing well. Notice it, don’t look for it again the next time, and continue on with your training.

Red Sand Palm also touches on other indicators of good health, which I will describe in a future post. Our Shaolin Kungfu class focuses on developing internal force and combat efficiency, among other things, but I always find it interesting to see how students in our qigong class also develop this, even though it is not the primary focus. Beginning classes will be starting up again in January, follow this link to find out more about signing up, and how the Shaolin Arts can enrich your life, whatever your goals may be.

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