Friday, May 19, 2006

The Best Dit Da Jow - Part Two (Again)

This is a re-issue of part 2 of a series of 3 posts addressing the so often heard question and the endless quest for "What is the Best Dit Da Jow". This picks up where the last posting left of. Remember, your comments are welcome so let me hear from you.

OK, So the response was less than overwhelming, but I have to assume someone is reading this and will now end the gnawing suspense I left you with. Drum roll please - THE BEST DIT DA JOW IS ......

There is none.

There is no one formula that is best for everyone or for every type of use. That is why there are many different formulas and different approaches used in the combination of herbs, number of herbs, Alcohol type, mixing, making, storage, aging, etc. Over time, like the martial arts themselves, different variations have been developed from many particular viewpoints of what each believes to be "the best" or better than the others. And being that there are so many herbs in the Chinese Pharmacoupia, there are many different combinations that will lead to a good formula that exhibits good results.

But what are good results? Well, what is it that you are looking for? What results are you seeking? In Martial Arts, this usually means a distinction between 2 categories: Healing or Conditioning. Healing jows are those that have warmer formulations, increasing blood circulation and dispersing congealed blood. These are the formulas that clear up those nasty training bruises like magic, some much better than others. Conditioning jows are the Iron Palm formulas which are cooling in nature, disperse stagnation, and mobilize Chi. These are the formulas used for repetitive striking, such as done in Iron Palm training, or in blow resistance exercises like 3 star, shin star, roller bar, or in OkinawanMartial arts, Makiwara training. The conditioning formulas will prevent damage, avoid swelling, and dramatically increase the resistance and strength of the areas being conditioned.

It would be nice if these two categories were discrete and distinct but that is not the case. First, there are formulas that have elements of both, a category of all purpose formulas, if you will. That is not too bad, a formula that takes care of healing and conditioning? More combinience. Yes but... there are so many people marketing Dit Da Jow these days and invariably there are formulas being sold as healing that are not, and others being sold as Iron Palm formulas that are not. In other words, these broad categories are being mixed and the terms are being used interchangeably. This further muddies the waters.

But that's not all. No one said that there were only 3 types(Healing, Conditioning, General Purpose). In fact there are many more. There are formulas for healing deep tissue, formulas for healing muscle tears, formulas for fractured bones. There are formulas that heal conditions located in the upper body and others for lower body. There are specific formulas for the shoulders, for the knees, for the waist. And then there are those for internal, soft tissue bruising. And we can go on and on.

So, in our search for the best Dit Da Jow, the first question that must be asked is: for what purpose? Stated differently, What do you want it for? And with that I will end todays installment, leaving you all on pins and needles, anxiously waiting for the next.

Pictured is Grandmaster Ark Y. Wong's famous Iron Palm Dit Da Jow (5 Family / 5 Animal Style). See this and the many other formulas available through Shen Martial Arts at