RICHARD AMBROSE (V/O): Can a Kung Fu master really destroy a pile of breeze blocks with just his fist?
Or is it just movie trickery with specially rigged props?
Ian Armstrong is going to prove it's all for real. He's one of the few westerners to have become a Shaolin Kung Fu master. He's spent over 20 years training in this mystical art, regularly travelling to temples in Southeast Asia to perfect his techniques. Which is why you shouldn't try any of this at home.
RICHARD AMBROSE (SYNC - TO IAN): Is Shaolin Kung Fu similar to any of the, the things that we see on television at all? Like Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan?
IAN ARMSTRONG (SYNC - TO RICHARD): Most of the martial arts - and there's a huge diverse array of martial arts - most of them trace their origin back to Shaolin Kung Fu so -
RICHARD: Right so that -
IAN: - you know -
IAN: - more or less the different facets of Shaolin Kung Fu have branched out and and given rise to -
IAN: - many different martial arts.
RICHARD:So that was like the original form?
IAN: Yes, yes.
RICHARD: And it's all derived from there.
RICHARD (V/O)The key to Ian's incredible feats of strength has little to do with the size of his biceps.
RICHARD (SYNC): Ooo.
It's all about his ability to channel his inner energies or Chi.
IAN (SYNC - TO RICHARD): Kung Fu is about converting the Chi into what we call Geng. Geng is power, yeah?
RICHARD (OOV): Yeah.
Chi is energy. Geng is power.
RICHARD (SYNC - TO IAN): So can, can you demonstrate it?
IAN: So what I'd like you to do is put your hands over your body like this. Now these are acting as a little bit of a shield. This can be done from various ranges but I'm doing it with, without any pull back -
IAN: - which is the most difficult.
RICHARD: Is this effectively like a one inch punch, or?
IAN: Yes - this is the, this is a no inch punch. You're gonna get a zero inch punch here. OK. So what I need to do, just relax my body and then I'm looking to channel the energy through my body into your body.
RICHARD: Oh! Eh. Is this a force of energy that I, I can harness I mean and break a block or anything like that?
IAN: Definitely. Yeah.
IAN: Yeah. Although it's, it takes training. So obviously we've got to work on that one.
RICHARD: Shall we get some blocks?
RICHARD: OK - great.
RICHARD AMBROSE(V/O): It took Ian eight years to train his you-know-what so he can draw them up into his pelvis. And ten years of Chi Geng exercises to train his skin to have the elastic properties to repel the axe. But he reckons he can teach me to chop a block in just one afternoon.
RICHARD AMBROSE (V/O): But first, to make sure the blocks were the real deal we went down to the local builders' yard to get some fresh ones.
RICHARD AMBROSE (V/O): My training started by learning the correct stances and punching techniques.
IAN ARMSTRONG (SYNC - TO RICHARD): When I do that.
IAN (SYNC): Relax. Go!
RICHARD (SYNC): Right, I'm gonna go for it. Right - go. Wow. Wow.
IAN (OOV): Do we want to do the block next?
RICHARD (SYNC): What do you think?
IAN (OOV): I think so, yeah, I think so.
Yeah? OK. OK. Shall we do two?
IAN (V/O): Yep - definitely.
RICHARD (OOV): Yeah? You're comfortable if I do two?
IAN (OOV): You're gonna hit it in the middle. Same stance, same posture as before, same technique.
RICHARD (SYNC): And open palm again.
IAN (SYNC): Open palm.
RICHARD (SYNC): OK. Fine.
IAN (SYNC): But you're gonna have to hit it a bit harder -
RICHARD (SYNC): Yes.
IAN (SYNC): - cos this one's a bit meaner.
RICHARD (SYNC): OK. Right.
IAN (OOV): Here we go. One. Confidence is growing now, isn't it? There we go.
RICHARD (SYNC): Wow - wow.
IAN (SYNC): That easy.
RICHARD (SYNC): Thank you very much. Honestly was fantastic.
IAN (SYNC): Well, well done. No that was a good break. Well done.