The method of training of Chow Gar aims at strengthening the whole body and the basic exercises develop all parts of the body at once. However, in order to understand how the power is built up and make the power training more effective we also practice special exercises which concentrate on the main parts of the way of the power.
Obviously the fingers and the hands are important since the power is expressed in these body parts during fighting: we use them for hitting. If they are weak we cannot use our full power. The shock power is mostly applied through the hands which therefore should be strong in order not to obstruct the power hence it becomes really shocking.
Phoenix Eye Fist is the characteristic fist form of our system and its effectiveness is dependent upon the strong fingers. We use many open hand techniques (tiger claw, dragon claw, eagle claw, palm …etc.) which make strong fingers essential. The sudden and fierceful grabbing is also part of our fighting repertoire which as you may think cannot be useful fighting applications without strong fingers. Therefore the developing of finger power is included in all foundation training in Chow Gar.
For example, one of the grandmasters of the system, Sijo Lao Sui, had such strong fingers that he could break through the skull of a cattle. (Once he was challenged by a kung-fu master. The incident took place near a slaughterhouse. Sijo’s humble character did not allow him to accept the challenge, as his kung fu was of a much higher order than the others. To avoid the fight, he walked to a cattle skull and broke through with his fingers, showing his outstanding power. The challenger gave up.)
Another example for the importance of the strong fingers is that the late grandmaster Sikung Ip Sui (our Sifu’s father) practiced Jee Lik exercise daily till his late eighties.