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Dit Da Jow
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DIT DA JOW
Q. What is Dit Da Jow? A. Dit Da Jow refers to a category of herbal liniments developed in ancient China by martial artists for the healing of injuries and to strengthen the body. Dit Da Jow is a Cantonese term and its exact translation is the subject of some debate but is generally agreed to be either -Iron Hit Wine- or Fall and Hit Wine-. Chinese Martial Arts masters developed this herbal knowledge to a very high degree such that Dit Da Medicine is now considered a separate specialized branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Dit Da medicine is deepley intertwined with the Chinese Martial Arts, which are generally referred to as Kung Fu. Each distinct system or style of kung fu has its own set of formulas that have been passed on from generation to generation, typically only within the style. Each herbal recipe has its specific properties and uses, on for simple bumps and bruises, another for deeper tissue injuries, and still others for pulled or torn muscles, tendons, ligaments, for hairline fractures, severe multiple fractures and more, literally addressing all types of musculo-skeletal damage. Dit Da medicine however goes farther then the healing aspects. The ancient masters were much more focused on avodiing inury and in strengthening their bodies to prevent damage. Thus, the herbal Dit Da Jow recipes usually contain herbs to strengthen particular areas and tissues of the body. General purpose formulas address both healing and strengthening, but others are specially formulated for strengthening and conditioning to make the body more resistant to injury.
There is still another aspect to Dit Da Jow that is very important. Certainherbs have particular affinities with parts of the body or within areas of the body. Therefore, different formulations can target different areas of the body. For example, there are formulas that are best for the lower body, some that are best for leg injuries, others that are attuned to the upper body, some are best for joints and appendages and so on.
Martial artists have been using Dit Da Jow for centuries and there is a wealth of history and experience that have accumulated over time, making this a very deep and veryeffective catergory of natural healing. Over the last 4 decades, martial artists all over the world, outside of China have also experienced and developed a great deal of respect for this type of medicine and its sometimes miraculous results.
It is clear that this funny smelling herbal liquid with the weird Chinese name has great potential with many uses outside of the martial arts and is of benefit to other sports and to pain and injury management at large.
Q. Is Dit Da Jow Toxic? A. There are many different formulas or recipes, some which do contain herbs that are known to be toxic. Do not take dit da jow internally or apply to open wounds. Keep away from children. Pregnant women should avoid using Dit Da Jow. Q. Is Dit Da Jow Safe to Use? A. Yes, it is very safe to use. Dit Da Jow has a very long history of effective use and of healing and relieving pain from injury and trauma. At Shen Martial Arts, we have been making and providing Dit Da Jow students, and to the general public for 3 decades and have extensive first hand experience with the many benefits of using Dit Da Jow. We have observed thousands of cases and can directly afirm the to the safety and effectiveness of the formulas that we offer. All of our formulas are classical, traditional formulas developed by master herbalists and used for decades if not centuries. We cannot speak for Dit Da Jow offered by other sellers or for formulas made up by herbal enthusiasts. Please note, this is not medical advice nor prescription. Q. How do I use Dit Da Jow? A. Dit Da Jow is a topical liniment. Apply to bruises, sore joints or muscles, torn muscles, pulled ligaments, bone bruising and fractures. Massage the herbal liquid on the affected area until it is completely absorbed through the skin. Repeat 2 - 3 times, more for deeper or more serious injuries. Do not apply to open wounds. Do not drink. Keep away from your eyes.
For serious injuries, apply liquid to a gauze or cotton pad and tape or wrap lightly to the injured area. Leave over-night, remove in the morning. Repeat nightly for as long as needed.
Q. Can you provide the list of Ingredients for the formula I ordered? A. No. All of our formulas are proprietary and the intellectual property of the masters that developed them or that shared them with us. We have express permission to sell the herbs or the prepared Dit Da Jow with the agreement that we will not make the formula public. We respect the wishes of the creators of these formulas and the traditions that keep this deep knowledge guarded and reserved for worthy students within their respective families. Q. How often can I or should I apply Dit Da Jow? A. Dit Da Jow can be applied as often as needed. In the case of injury, 3 times a day is a good rule of thumb, but the higher the frequency the better. For strengthening, conditioning, Iron Palm, Iron Body, etc., apply before and after training. Using Dit Da Jow regularly and consistently will pay handsome dividends.... so use it whenever you train, whether doing contact practice or not. The results will speak for themselves. Q. How Long will a Bottle last me? A. This depends on your usage, how much you are applying each time, how regularly you train.Each regular bottle contains 4 ounces of ready to use liguid. As an example, our students use Dit Da Jow which is enough to last for several weeks of copious application. Q. Which is the right formula for me? A. That is a complex question and depends on a number of variables. There are 3 main categories in our site, 1) Training Dit Da Jow which is for normal day to day exercise, sports or martial arts training; 2) Iron Palm: This is specifically for Iron Palm and Iron Skills training regimens, including Iron Body conditioning and;3)Healing Dit Da Jow - These formulas are made specifically to heal injured or damaged body tissues, bones, sinews, muscles. Once you determine which category you need, you will find a variety of formulas to choose from. You may have to try various formulas to find the one that works optimally for you. If you have any questions or need any help with your selection, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 760-586-9384 and we will be happy to help you with finding a good choice. Please note, we do not offer medical advice or prescription. Q. Is Dit Da Jow FDA Approved? A. No. Dit Da Jow is a Traditional Remedy which is a category of supplements and remedies that are not FDA regulated. At Shen Martial Arts, we obtain our herbs from FDA compliant suppliers and we handle and produce our Dit Da Jow using FDA GMP guidelines and quality practices. Q. Do you fill customer provided formulas or make prepare custom recipes? A. Yes, we can fill your recipe and ready it for aging. We use 1 gallon glass jars for consistency and repeatability and can ship your mixed formula for you to age and bottle.
We can also store and bottle your dit da jow after aging, or just fill your herbal formula and ship you the herbs ready to mix.
Q. Do you offer shipping discounts for multiple item orders? A. Yes. Our shopping cart is programed to automatically apply shipping discounts on orders of more than one item. Q. What are your hours of operation? A. Our website is functional 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For customer support, you can contact us Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 6:30pm and Saturdays from 10:00am to 4:00pm (pacific standard time). We are closed on Sundays. Please feel free to leave voice messages at any time and we will return your call as soon as possible. Q. Do you take special orders? A. Yes. If there is something you are looking for and cannot find it on our website, please be sure to email us at email@example.com. We will reply with a price quote and availability. Q. Do you ship to countries outside of the United States? A. We ship worldwide. International customers are welcome and we are happy to service you. We cannot however, be responsible for country specific customs regulations, duties, product entry acceptance etc. We ship worldwide and seldom encounter any difficulties, however, these can occur due to ever changing country specific customs regulations. Q. What Methods Do You Use for Shipping? A. All shipping is done via either USPS Priority Service or UPS Ground. The majority of our shipping goes via USPS priority service. This is the most economical expedited shipping available that offers order tracking. We use UPS ground whenever shipping large and heavy items.
Q. Are Herbal Wines and Elixirs Safe? A. Internally ingested herbal wines have a history of use spanning thousands of years. At Shen Martial Arts, we have supplied hundreds of customers and regularly received reports of their effectiveness and fast action. Our herbal wines and elixirs are made with high grade spirits ensuring safety and hygene. Only the best herbs are used for our internal wines.
Note: User assumes all risk. Shen Martial Arts does not provide medical advice, consultation or prescription.
Q. Do you use ingredients coming from endangered species? A. Absolutely Not. Q. What are the dosage instructions for Herbal Wines? A. Everyone is different and so your specific dosage will be determined by adjusting the amount you intake based on the results you get. At the beginning, start with one tablespoon of herbal wine mixed with water or tea. Take it once in the morning after breakfsst. You can increase to 2 tablespoons and observe your results. If more is needed, take 1 tablespoon after dinner. Do not exceed 2 ounces per day. A general dosage will be between 1 tablespoon and 4 tablespoons per day.
Note: This is not medical advise or prescription. These directions are based on traditional quantities used.
IRON PALM BAGS
Q. I've heard that Iron Palm Training can cause permanent damage to my hands. Is this true? A. There are a number of different methods for training Iron Palm but they all involve repetitive striking for extended times. This in itself can cause injury or damage if not aided or supplemented by complimentary and supplementary practices that are part of Authentic Iron Palm training. Iron Palm should only be practiced under the guidance of an experienced and knowledgeable instructor that is capable of teaching the practice in a complete manner. We advise finding a qualified teacher and following their instructions. Done correctly, Iron Palm is a safe and beneficial practice that will improve your health instead of causing harm. Q. What are the different bags and how should I use them? A. First of all, we advise that Iron Palm training be conducted under the guidance of a qualified instructor.
There are 3 levels as a practitioner advances through Iron Palm training, Beginning, Intermediate & Advanced. Our Iron Palm bags are designed for each of those levels with the appropriate and traditionally used filling contents. At the advanced level, offer 2 fillings, with the most advanced being steel shot. Advancement is progressive and each level must be fully mastered before moving to the next. CAUTION: Dit DA Jow or Iron Palm liniment MUST be used in conjunction with Iron Palm Training at all levels.
Q. Do you make Custom iron Palm bags? A. Yes. Just contact us with your requirements and we will quote you a price based on size, filling, material and time to make. You can send your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Q. Why does it take time to ship my iron palm bag? A. All of our bags are hand-crafted and made to order. We do not mass produce, and we do not have our bags made at some 3rd world country. We make them ourselves and we make them as we receive orders. This means there will always be a lag time between when you place your order and when we ship your bag. We do our best to turn your order around quickly but it can take up to 5 working days for your bag to be completed and shipped. If you are willing to be a bit patient, you will be happy you did. We keep our quality and our standards high.
Q. What is a Ching Jong? A. Ching Jong is a type of wooden dummy developed for training in the Choy Lee Fut style of Kung Fu. Ching Jong means "Balance Dummy" and refers to the movable upper arm which resembles an old style weight balance.
The Ching Jong dummy is designed to train footwork, distance, dynamic power generation (power during movement and transitions), and bridge arm and leg conditioning. It is a fantastic tool and superbly effective.
More and more fighters, competitors and practitioners of other combat styles and sports are finding that training the Ching Jong advances and improves their stand up game and improves their ability to strike and defend while in movement and is becoming very popular for hardening and conditioning the body.
Q. What are Chinese Patent Medicines? A. Chinese Patent Medicines are manufactured herbal medicines that are used for a great variety of ailments and diseases. They are based on ancient herbal medicinal formulas but pre-made and available to the general public over the counter. These medicines typically come in the form of a small, herbal ball called a "tea-pill". Dosage can be accurately controlled by the number of pills prescribed.
Patent medicines are the folk medicnes, the people's farmacy and are inexpensive and widely available in asian countries and more and more so in the USA and other western nations. They are now used and prescribed extensively by formally trained herbalists and acupuncturists.
Chinese patent medicines are very effective. They are not controlled by FDA regulations since they fall under traditional remedies. There is a strong undertow of disapproval from the FDA and there have been several smear campaigns generated with the goal of causing fear and skepticism towards their use by the public.
In reality, Chinese Patent medicines are quite safe, and a great deal safer than western pharmaceuticals. There are some guidelines to follow and contraindications to be aware of but other than that, they can be a great tool for maintaining long term health, specially the tonic formulas made into patent form, which are renowned for helping to ward off illness.
Shen Martial Arts offers a careful selection of Patent Medicines, Tonics, ointments, teas, syrups and even shampoo, all tried and proven by ourselves in regular use.
Q. You have great information and content in your site. Can I copy and use some of this information? A. All content is the property of Shen Martial Arts. No portion of this site can be used without our written approval. Those wishing to use any of our information, articles, blog entries, pictures, videos or anything in the site can email us at email@example.com. Please provide the exact part(s) that you want to use, how you will be using the info or content, how long you want to use it for and the detailed and specific purpose for your request. Shen Martial Arts will give priority to requests associated with academic and research related pursuits. All requests are to be considered denied until a written response is sent stating otherwise.
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One day in ancient China a crash of symbols and drums is heard as a crowd converges around a man with several assistants. Suddenly he leaps into the air and commences a thrilling Gongfu form, his assistants adding loud rhythmic accompaniment. At the end of the form the master smashes several roofing tiles as a demonstration of his internal strength and the crowd is both entertained and astounded. As the performance concludes the assistants produce large jugs of medicinal wines and brightly colored pills to sell as cure-alls for injuries, rheumatism or other diseases. The Gongfu master is also a doctor of Chinese Medicine. Specifically he is a specialist in Die Da Ke 跌打科, or Fall and Strike Medicine (also known as Dit Da in Cantonese).
In China, medicine and the martial arts have long been linked like opposite sides of the same discipline. Most martial artists have heard stories of special herbal “Hit Liniments” called Dit Da Jow in Cantonese (or Die Da Jiu in Mandarin; 跌打酒) created to enhance the efficacy of training or to treat injuries. Master teachers kept these liniments as secret recipes handed down in their lineage even though few now understand the rationale for their composition. Some teachers, because of their familiarity with traumatic injury, made their livings also as physicians who practiced orthopedics or traumatology – the aforementioned specialty known in Chinese as Die Da Ke. Die Da specialists were the original creators of Hit Liniments. With their expertise they could adjust herbal recipes for martial artists based on their styles of training or types of injuries.
Today martial arts have spread across the world along with the fanciful stories of secret herbal prescriptions for health and longevity. Unfortunately, the medical science that was once so closely associated with the martial arts and the medical knowledge used to create things such as secret Hit Liniments rarely followed alongside. The “secret recipes” still passed on in martial arts schools are usually very common and simple herbal formulas for people familiar with the concepts and uses of Chinese Medicine. Now that ambulances and hospitals are available to most people in the western world martial artists no longer need to take the same responsibility for their own health or the health of others in the training hall. In ancient China this was not the case. An injury needed to be dealt with by the student or the student’s instructor.
WHAT IS CHINESE MEDICINE 中醫?
Chinese Medicine 中醫 (CM) is one of the world’s oldest professionally practiced medical systems in the world, having served a majority of the world’s population for most of recorded history. It is a literary medical system with a continuos written record that spans even by conservative estimates the last 2,000 years of Chinese history. The two most commonly utilized modalities in CM are Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture, although physicians also practice physical medicine (massage and physiotherapy), dietary therapy, minor surgery, bone setting and other techniques. Over the last 2,000 years CM has maintained a core theoretical framework that continues to be used today. However, CM is neither an anthropological nor historical curiosity as throughout history it has and continues to constantly evolve its ideas and practices. Like any valid medical system CM learns from and adopts useful aspects of other medical systems even including western bio-medicine. Contemporary CM is a traditionally based yet modern and professional medial system that is fast becoming mainstream in the West as well as the East.
What is commonly referred to as Chinese Medicine (or TCM, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Classical Chinese Medicine, Oriental Medicine) is actually best understood as “Traditional East Asian Medicine.” Various professional and folk/home therapies from countries such as China, Vietnam, Korea, the Ryukyus and Japan all evolved from classical Chinese medical models. While modern TCM from China may differ from traditional Korean or Japanese medicines, all have no doubt evolved from the same essential underlying theories. In contrast, other Asian medical systems such as Tibetan, Ayurvedic and Unanai medicines maintain distinctly different core medical theories.
CM has its roots in folk therapies utilized by the Chinese since prehistoric times. Medical theories were based on peoples’ observations of the natural world, human health and disease. Ancient symbolic language relating health to natural earthly and cosmic phenomenon is still used today and represents a highly sophisticated and equally scientific understanding of the body as is that of western biomedicine. With the gradual creation of societies in China, and with the advent of written language and printing technologies, various competing schools of medicine began reconciling contrasting theories. Scholar physicians compiled theories into classical texts such as the Huang Di Nei Jing, a compilation of short treatises from differing schools of medicine that later became the foundation text for CM medical theory. Gradually over several thousand years a body of learned physicians and an enormous written tradition was born and flourished in China as well as other neighboring countries.
The study of medicine and martial arts were linked closely in ancient China. In an era where medical care was scarce martial artists and martial arts teachers needed to know at the very least the rudiments of first aid when faced by traumatic injuries. Furthermore a knowledge of anatomy was an asset in fighting so as to better understand the vulnerabilities of the human form. The basic study of medicine was thus considered part of the standard curriculum for serious martial artists.
Medicine was also important in spiritual traditions. In both Taoist and Buddhist spiritual practice, a detailed understanding of the body was essential for inner visualization exercises. Furthermore, the practice of medicine was considered an act of compassion important in the Mahayana Buddhist traditions. Many martial arts systems have their roots in monastic traditions and thus the two were often studied together by initiates. For example Da Mo (Bodhidharma), the Buddhist patriarch responsible for bringing Chan (Zen) Buddhism to China, is credited with transmitting the Muscle/Tendon Changing and Marrow Washing Classics. These texts describe exercises based on classical medical theory and eventually became the basis of Shaolin martial arts. The Shaolin Temple, in addition to being known for its martial traditions, was a repository of medical knowledge. Herbal formulas used in the treatment of traumatic injury were highly developed by the Shaolin monk/physicians.
Eventually more specific medical knowledge was integrated into martial practice so as to make it easier to injure or subdue an opponent. Based on a detailed understanding of the physical and energetic body martial artists began developing specialized techniques such as Fen Jin 分筋(dividing or grabbing the muscles and tendons), Cu Gu 錯骨 (misplacing or dislocating bones and joints), bone breaking, Bi Qi 閉氣 (sealing off the breath causing an opponent to loose consciousness), Dian Xue 點血 (striking veins and arteries), and Dian Mai 點脈 (striking acupuncture points, also known as Dim Mak in Cantonese).
As the use of medicine in martial arts grew, so too did the use of medicine to treat traumatic injury. As early as the Western Zhou Dynasty (1066 – 70 B.C.E.) doctors were divided into four categories: Dietitians, Internal Medicine specialists. External Medicine specialists, and Veterinarians. Doctors of External Medicine specialized in the treatment of for example sores, abcesses, ulcers, fractures and wounds. One of the Han Dynasty (202 B.C.E. – 220 A.C.E.) texts unearthed at Mawangdui, The Fifty Two Diseases and Prescriptions, details therapeutic techniques and herbal formulas for injuries such as traumatic bleeding and wounds from metal weapons and tools. By the Sui Dynasty (220 – 960 A.C.E.) a physician named Ge Hong documented reduction techniques still used today for dislocated joints. Also during the Sui Dynasty a Taoist physician wrote the first book specifically devoted to Traumatology – Secret Recipes for Treating Wounds and Bonesetting Taught by Celestials.
OKINAWA AND JAPAN
Both the indigenous martial and medical traditions were heavily influenced by China. Chinese medicine was first introduced to Japan via Korea during the 5th Century A.C.E.. By the 7th Century students from Japan were sent to study medicine in China and by the 8th Century a system of medical education based on the Chinese Tang dynasty model was established in Japan to serve the needs of the aristocracy. The first major Japanese medical text, the Ishinpo, was published in 984 A.C.E. and based on over 100 original Chinese sources.
Throughout history the Japanese continued to import and develop techniques such as Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture. At some point, either by their own ingenuity or by the assimilation of Chinese techniques, Japanese unarmed fighting methods came to utilize vital point striking. In addition, Kappo, or resuscitation techniques, were integrated into the curriculum in martial arts schools. These techniques maintained and continue to maintain a prominent position in the atemi-waza (striking techniques) of Ju-jitsu.
The island of Okinawa in Ryukyu Island Chain is the birthplace of Karate. The Ryukyus were an independent kingdom until 1879 and, like Japan, had early contact with the Chinese. During the 1300’s the Ryukyu Kingdom entered into a tributary relationship with Ming China that lasted into the 19th Century whereby the Ryukyuan kings pledged allegiance to the Chinese Emperor. By 1393 a Chinese settlement was established in Okinawa and simultaneously a permanent Okinawan settlement was growing in Fuzhou, China. It is probable that during this period of social and economic exchange both Chinese medical and martial sciences were transmitted to the peoples of Okinawa.
Just as in China and Japan, the martial traditions of Okinawa adopted the art of striking vital points. Okinawan martial artists also studied the rudiments of Chinese medical theory and Herbal Medicine. The Bubishi, a once secret martial text of Okinawa, details information on striking vital points as was as herbal treatment for injuries. Many of the chapters on Herbal Medicine in the Bubishi were written in such a way that the reader was expected to already have a rudimentary understanding of Chinese pharmacology and medical theory, thus substantiating that martial arts masters would have been trained not only in fighting techniques but also in Chinese medicine. (McCarthy, p.75)
It is commonly known in Okinawa that, historically, masters were expected to know Chinese medicine. Modern day Okinawan master Miyahara Katsuya (b.1918) relates that karate men of old “had knowledge of Chinese medicine. Therefore, whenever something went wrong, they could take care of themselves.” (Silvan, p.77) The modern master Motobu Choki recorded numerous herbal therapies of both Chinese and Okinawan origin for injury or fracture, along with basic first aid, joint reduction and revival techniques, in his 1926 book Okinawa Kempo Karate-jutsu. Even today some Okinawan schools teach medicine as part of their advanced curriculum. For example, Kojo-ryu advanced students learn five essential sciences and their relations to the martial arts: Shakaigaku (Social Studies), Sugaku (mathematics), Butsurigaku (physics), Tetsugaku (philosophy) and Igaku (Traditional Chinese Medicine). (Bishop, p.56)
For various reasons including perhaps misunderstandings in translation, feelings of medical cultural superiority, or the dismissal of classical ideas as mere primitive superstition, during the 20th century many of the medical and traditional internal cultivation techniques of East Asian martial arts were forgotten by American and even sometimes modern Asian martial artists. Foreign and exotic herbal remedies became curiosities instead of medicines. Acupuncture theories and vital point striking was too esoteric and dangerous for westerners more interested in sport martial arts. For example, The Complete Kano Jiu-Jitsu (Judo) by Hancock and Higashi published originally in 1905 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons contained 26 pages of information on vital point striking and resuscitation techniques. However, when this book was republished by Dover Publications in 1961 (and in all subsequent reprintings) the publishers purposely omitted only these chapters because “their use to the public is doubtful.” (Hancock, title page)
The following story illustrates this point. When I lived and studied in Okinawa I trained with one of Shimabuku Tatsuo’s senior students. Shimabuku, originally a master of Shorin-ryu, based his new martial arts system Isshinryu on older martial arts system as well as his understanding of the Bubishi. (McCarthy, p.23) Shimabuku also studied Goju-ryu under Miyagi Chojun and was thus well versed in vital point striking and esoteric breathing techniques. One day I questioned my teacher about whether Shimabuku used to teach the Shoshuten 小周天 (also known as the Microcosmic or Lesser Heavenly Orbit), a basic internal energy circulation exercise used in Daoist meditation and in some Chinese martial arts schools. This question was greeted with a blank stare until I described the procedure. He then realized what I meant and admitted that Shimabuku talked about this exercise all the time as a part of Kata practice. Unfortunately the younger and more modern Okinawan students, thinking these exercises to be mere superstition, never practiced or taught these internal energy cultivation techniques. Furthermore, almost none of Shimabuku’s American students either spoke Japanese or spent more than a year or so training with him and thus these advanced techniques were not transmitted with Isshinryu to America.
Sadly this is a common story for Chinese, Okinawan and Japanese martial arts stylists. Yet, in traditional martial arts a detailed study of modern and traditional anatomy is an asset in training so as to both better prevent and inflict injury. In the west today there is an increased interest in traditional or holistic health systems. Likewise martial artists are learning to move beyond training that ignores anything beyond competition “fighting.”
Even as late as the 1980’s acupuncture and Herbal Medicine were thought of as superstitious folk quackery. Today Oriental Medicine is professionally licensed in almost every state in the US. Also during the end of the 20th Century there was an explosion in the amount of once “secret” martial arts knowledge openly taught or printed. It is now easy to find books, videos or web sites about vital point striking, Qi Gong, and other esoteric martial arts techniques. The Bubishi has been published in both modern Japanese and English, in several versions.
Until know however there has been relatively little information about Chinese Medicine and the martial arts, especially material presented by a professional physician and long time martial artist. The Institute for Classical Asian Medicine hopes to remedy this by providing the general public with access to the medical knowledge once secret in martial arts communities, and to help martial artists appreciate and reconnect with their medical heritage.