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Iron Crotch Plane Tow 2006

Iron Crotch Plane Tow 2006

by Gene Ching

Grandmaster Tu Jin-ShengIf you had an iron crotch, what would you do with it? For the average male, the imagination runs wild with porn star fantasies of lascivious supermodels. But genuine iron crotch master Tu Jin-Sheng is a happily-married family man. So what does he dream of? A big jet plane. Never mind the Freudian implications there; Tu has had his iron-clad genitals pointed straight at a 747 for over half a decade. In 2001, we introduced Grandmaster Tu to the Western world in the very first English-language article about him: Iron Penis: Not for Men Only!. There Tu revealed his desire to stage an extraordinary exhibition of his Iron Crotch prowess – to tow a 747 jet airliner. This stunt would require the cooperation of several of his top pupils, not to mention a 747, but Tu remains devoted to this gonad goal. A preposterous penile publicity stunt, you say? On November 13, 2006, at the Palm Springs Air Museum in California, Tu got a few steps closer to realizing his dream.

Helping Hands for Iron Crotch
Since we published that Iron Penis article, the possibility of arranging an Iron Crotch Plane Tow for Grandmaster Tu has been discussed many times within our production chambers. We’ve had plenty of experience assisting in Iron Crotch Truck Pulls already. In fact, it’s become so common around here now that we don’t get that excited about them anymore. Perhaps that’s an indication of how jaded we’ve become about it. Grandmaster Tu performed a pull for our 10 Year Anniversary Benefit. He also did one in our office parking lot last year for a BBC documentary. There were several more tows that we didn’t bother to report. An Iron Crotch Plane Tow presents fresh challenges and we always love a new challenge. Acquiring a plane isn’t as easy as renting a truck. People lending planes like to know what you’re going to do with them. Rental truck companies don’t ask prohibitive questions like “will someone be towing this truck with their genitals?”

Staging the first Iron Crotch Plane Tow required the cooperation of three parties (coincidentally all run by women, but we won’t dwell on that). First, of course, was We’ve enjoyed a long and fruitful cooperative relationship with Iron Crotch, so our publisher, Gigi Oh, often serves as an intermediary for Grandmaster Tu. We support many masters, but we give special support to Grandmaster Tu because he’s always been very supportive of us. He’s eagerly provided research material for articles, calligraphy for special projects and is always open to doing demonstrations for events associated with us. He even offers free classes to all of our employees and orders his students to subscribe. Tu insists on donning our “got qi?” shirts for his demos. Our shirt is all he needs, since obviously he doesn’t need pants. We’re proud to be outfitters for the Iron Crotch.

The second accomplice in the Iron Crotch Plane Tow was the 9th World Congress of Qigong and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Overseeing the Congress is Dr. Effie Poy Yew Chow, one of the great pioneers of qigong in America. Dr. Chow has been a stalwart promoter for decades. has supported the Congress (or, more specifically, Gigi has supported Effie) almost since its inception. Gigi helped bring about Grandmaster Tu’s involvement with the Congress years ago, which included an Iron Crotch Truck Pull for them.

Golden Gate BridgeWhile the Congress has been held in San Francisco over the last few years, this year it went south. Dr. Chow cooperated with the International Complementary and Natural Healthcare Conference and Expo (CAMEXPO West) and nested the Congress within that event. CAMEXPO is a larger national gathering that was held in Los Angeles at the time of the tow. However, CAMEXPO wanted nothing to do with Iron Crotch. From the onset, Tu’s Iron Crotch was met with skepticism. The CAMEXPO organizers were quite explicit in their restrictions. There was to be no Iron Crotch demonstrations at their expo whatsoever. They would have none of that crotch business. Grandmaster Tu’s demonstrations at the Congress have always been crowd pleasers, so Gigi and Effie struggled to find him a place. In the end, he did demonstrate some qigong stunts, but was omitted from the speaker biographies in the CAMEXPO program.

Instead of Iron Crotch, Grandmaster Tu performed three of his other qigong standards for CAMEXPO. These are worthy of note, since Iron Crotch always overshadows the rest of Tu’s work, and his alternate qigong feats are extraordinary too, especially to the trained eye. First, Tu bent a metal pipe. Many strongmen and martial artists will bend metal bars, but few will try pipes. Pipes are hard to bend because a cylinder is a sound structure, especially if it is short. Once the pipe is crimped, it’s easier to bend; but starting that crimp is no easy task. Second, he painted while standing on raw eggs. Now eggs are actually fairly strong from end to end. There’s that old parlor trick of trying to crush an egg between your palms with your fingers interlaced. If you hold the egg on its ends, it’s very hard to do. So, eggs are strong enough to withstand quite a bit of pressure if they are at the right angle. The walking-on-eggs stunt is relatively easy by using a special stand that keeps the eggs at just the right angle. With such a prop, the performer need only step evenly and lightly. The thing is, Tu doesn’t use such a prop. He just uses a regular egg carton. That’s much more difficult. His third demonstration was to wrap chains around his chest and then break them using only the power of his torso. This is another common trick amongst strongmen and qigong performers’ but of course, Tu takes it further. His assistants wrap him with chains and pull them taught; Tu plays a melody on a flute, then breaks the chains. Breaking chains with your chest is hard enough. Try doing it while playing the flute. The casual observer might not notice these details or understand why they make these stunts more difficult than the typical fare. They just want to see the Iron Crotch.

This brings us to the third party involved in the Iron Crotch Plane Tow and the real instigators of this outrageous stunt. Our former editor, Martha Burr, and her film partner, Meijuin Chen of Lotus Films, arranged the plane tow for their new documentary project. This is the same team that brought us SHAOLIN ULYSSES, the PBS Independent Lens documentary that aired in 2004. Their latest project is for the National Geographic International Channel, which reaches some 140 countries but strangely excludes America. The hour-long documentary is scheduled to debut in 2007 as part of the “Taiwan to the World” series. In the tradition of Homer and Joyce, their second documentary has the working title KUNGFU ODYSSEY.

KUNGFU ODYSSEY consists of three different stories of the martial arts. The first segment follows Master Wang Jin Fa of Taiwan’s Hung Men Qingxi Tang. Wang is a leading scholar and lineage holder of this mysterious kung fu secret society. He was first introduced to the west in a special two-part feature, “Behind the Big Door,” by Gigi and yours truly that ran in our May/June and July/August issues of 2003. Part one was subtitled “Secrets of Taiwan’s Hung Men Conspiracy” while part two was “Taiwan’s Secret of Hung Men Salutes, Tribunal Halls and the Rituals of Exotic Lion Dance.” The final segment follows Jade Lin, a wushu competitor from the Taipei Physical Education College, as she prepares to compete in the Second World Traditional Wushu Festival that was held at the Shaolin Temple of China last October. The central segment is about Grandmaster Tu and gets up close and personal with his Iron Crotch.


Master Tu Prepares to pull a P-52 Mustang Fighter Plane


Iron Crotch Pulls the Mustang
Martha and Meijuin followed Grandmaster Tu through the Congress, filming the aforementioned qigong demonstrations there for their documentary, but the Iron Crotch Plane Tow was staged independent of the CAMEXPO and solely for their project. Dr. Chow attended Tu’s tow too, as one qigong master supporting another. According to Martha, they originally wanted to attempt the 747, but the price of that project soon got out of hand. They had hoped that some airline fleet might want to lend them a 747 for publicity (Martha was particularly hopeful for Virgin Airlines), but – like CAMEXPO – they balked. Iron Crotch was not the type of image they wanted to project. “Renting a 747 costs $10,000,” added Martha. Additionally, the filmmakers would have needed to fly at least eight of his students to the location, which was way beyond their budget. The size of the plane diminished to a 727, then a 707, and finally down to a P-51 Mustang fighter. Martha contacted the Palm Springs Air Museum and made an inquiry. “At first, they were like, ‘What?!’ But after I explained about qigong, they were very cooperative. They were mostly concerned that this wasn’t X rated.”


Grandmaster Tu Jin-Sheng pulling a WW2 era P-52 Mustang, fighter plane.


On the brilliant Monday morning after the Congress, the filmmakers and a small audience assembled at the Air Museum for Grandmaster Tu’s first ever Iron Crotch Plane Tow. The P-51 weighs some 8000 pounds, which is actually lighter than some of the loads he’s towed in previous Iron Crotch Truck Pulls. Nevertheless, towing a plane was unprecedented and everyone was very excited to see Tu do his thing.

Tu went through his typical qigong warm-ups, a unique curriculum of esoteric qigong and calisthenics, as well as rubbing and beating himself, that culminates in someone repeatedly kicking him in the balls. Few men can endure even that warm-up. In fact, most Iron Crotch demonstrators just stop there. On its own, taking a shot to the family jewels is an extraordinary qigong stunt. For most audiences, that’s more than proof enough.

Once he was warmed up, Tu faced the aircraft and strapped his penis into place with his signature baby blue silk cord. Then, bracing his arms against two large male assistants, he began stepping backwards, slowly at first, and then a bit quicker once the plane got rolling. Tu’s tow was a success, so much so that he insisted on a second, more difficult tow. The aircraft was repositioned with its wheels in a small groove in the tarmac. This would make it more challenging to get the initial momentum going, which is the hardest part. From this position, Tu repeated the stunt, but this time, unaided by any assistants. Everyone applauded with amazement. Martha and Meijuin got their footage. Gigi and Effie were happy to have been of service. Tu’s son Jack quickly posted his personal footage on youtube.

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