We've all heard of karate, akido, mixed-martial arts, boxing, wrestling and so much more. But one secret that these masters fiercely guarded is now out in the open.
Every person has a hobby, and it might be something that others might always understand. Whether it's extreme ironing or toy voyaging or even news-raiding, we do it because we love it. Granted, some of these unusual hobbies will have to be looked up in order to even know what they are, but when we have a passion for something, we try our best to share it with others. And that is what China’s Wang Liutai is trying to do, although the skills he's attempting to teach is less a hobby and more a martial arts form, one that is called iron-crotch kung fu.
According to Reuters, Wang is one of the few remaining trustees of a reportedly 300-year-old discipline in which the practitioner uses their scrotum as a shield. Called iron-crotch kung fu, the technique involves either a brick or a steel-plate capped log, 6.5 ft in (2m) in length, weighing 88lbs (40kgs), which swings through the air and smashes into a man’s crotch. “As long as you push yourself, you will feel great,” said the martial artist, who has been practicing iron crotch kung fu for around 50 years. Talk about steel balls.
He teaches this ball-busting exercise at the Juntun Martial Arts Academy in Luoyang, Henan Province, and this practice actually doesn't hurt, he claims. Additionally, he says that with the correct methods and enough practice, it has no effect on fertility, as evidenced by his two kids. “Please don’t worry about this,” assured Wang, as quoted by NY Post. “If practicing this damaged this part of the body permanently, then over time no one would do it.”
The art itself involves gaining mastery by constantly being hit at the body’s weakest points while using qigong breathing techniques to inure oneself. It is just one element of the branch of Tongbeiquan kung fu that has been practiced in his village. It also includes numerous attack techniques as well as resisting pressure, pain, or hits to other sensitive areas. “We also have iron throat, iron head, iron chest, and iron back as well,” said fellow master 53-year-old Tang Xiaocheng.
This style of kung fu by those in Juntun village on the outskirts of the ancient capital of Luoyang was initially a secret that was guarded very close to the chest. But now, the masters of this technique are concerned because fewer people are practicing it and are worried that the art might die out soon. Where 200 people used to practice in the village, now only a few more than 20 are learning it. As for the people who practice the iron crotch technique, the count has dropped from around 80 to 5.
It's for this reason that the martial arts style is no longer a secret, and Wang and his fellow masters are starting to actively promote their style of kung fu. This time, they're using the swinging log device to demonstrate the iron crotch technique where previously villagers had kicked, punched, or used bricks or sticks. And it has worked as their efforts have helped them get several new students across the country by using social media and creating an online presence for themselves. “If there are more students carry it forward and spread it to the whole country and the world, if they can carry this form of kung fu forward, then my dream will come true,” said Wang.