Behind the Zhan Zhuang Training

December 27, 2017 | Author: Lupe Palomero | Category: Tai Chi, Qigong, Chinese Martial Arts, Qi, Emotions
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Behind The Zhan Zhuang Training Neigong Dicussion Zhan Zhuang training (Standing Exercise) is a significent component of the internal martial arts. The objective of Zhan Zhuang training is to improve the condition of the physiological organs'. As a result of Solo Drill one will develop stronger bones, better coordination in the contraction and extension of all muscle groups so that all movements will be powerful, improved oxygen utilization so that one will not get tired, and improved nervous system function so that all movements come from one center and all martial responses become natural reflexes. In Zhan Zhuang training, a correct position is when the weight is equally balanced on two feet to form a comfortable and relaxing position, an opportunity for the intent to appear and work. Zhan Zhuang works by applying the concept of intent over physical force to improve all the physiological organs and their functions. Today, there are many publications confirming that one's mental condition is directly affected by the physical body. In Zhan Zhuang training, we use the mind to train the body. Although one is standing in a physically still position, the intent is working very hard inside the body to harmonize all physiological organs with this particular positon so that all parts of the body are contributing to maintain this static position. There are three steps of Zhan Zhuang training associated with martial art's high demand: recognization, harmony, and application. 1. Recognization In this step, the intent is focused on positioning the body correctly to maximize the training of physical and mental conditions. Most people, standing still for only one minute will begin to experience difficulty, such as physical discomfort, mental doubts and shortness of breathe. When confronted with these situations, a practitioner should begin to develop different forms of intent to reduce physical pain, gain confidence and enjoyment. One common method of focusing and eliminating difficulties is to imagine standing infront of a tranquil environment. When one can stand in a position for 15 minutes without any problem, one can go onto the next step. 2. Harmony


In this step, the intent is focused on the body's togetherness by utilizing the 'method of opposition'. In any martial strike, a powerful strike is always associated with the whole body. The better the unification, the more power there is the strike and less possibility of physical injury to the practitioner. In this step of Zhan Zhuang a practitioner imagines every part of his body's muscles relaxing and stretching so that they end up with forces pulling from top and bottom, left and right, front and back, in all directions. When one can stand in a position for 10 minutes without tiring, one can go onto the next step. 3. Application In this step, the intent is focused on the goal of martial application. One of the characteristics of martial arts is that they are dynamic. Therefore, martial arts techniques are alway associated with physical movement in order to be effective. A practitioner should imagine an opponent is attacking from a certain direction and that one must mobilize the whole body from inside and outside, top and bottom, left and right, front and back to neutralize the threat. Since it is difficult to coordinate physical movement and intent's creativity, it is better control if one begins with a slower movement and simpler concept of intent. Later on, when one is practicing Zhan Zhuang with a stronger intent and quicker physical motions, one will witness more power developed by discharging through physical movement. There are not many martial art styles that apply this bare handed Fa Jing method to developed power. One reason is that if the movement is not executed property, one will end up with physical injury. Therefore, this method is not recommended for beginners, it is recommended for more experienced practitioners. A better method the beginner is to use a staff or spear. The result of this Zhan Zhuang training is great. However, one should not fool himself. There is no short cut, begin with one step as a time. One must master the first step before engaging in the second and third steps. A tall building begins with a strong foundation. Fonte:


What is the Solo Drill? Solo Drill and Martial Art Training

The Solo Drill is a dynamic qigong exercise incorporating the concept of Fa Jing with the applications from the individual movements of Tai Chi Chuan's Solo Form's. It is an extension of Zhan Zhuang training. The objective is to discharge power accumulated from Zhan Zhuang training by executing physical movements. The relationship between Zhan Zhuang training and the Solo Drill training is that Zhan Zhuang training is a method of accumulating power so that all the physiological organs are strong and energetic, and Solo Drill training is the method used to discharge power through some of these physiological organs. Therefore, skillful practitioners often focus on the combination of internal and external training. If one emphasizes only Zhan Zhuang training, he or she will not be able to discharge power outside the body efficiently. On the other hand, if one emphasizes only the Solo Drill training, there will not be enough power to discharge. From my years of teaching, I have seen this happen to many people whom possess power but do not know what to do with it. Therefore, Zhan Zhuang training and Solo Drill training are important components of Tai Chi Chuan as a martial arts system. The power accumulated from Zhan Zhuang training and discharged in the Solo Drill training is the same as the process of moving from a physically static to a dynamic state, or in other words "from wu chi to tai chi". Therefore, this transition is very significent and also difficult for all practitioners to accomplish. It requires a very special kind of person. From my experience, those that are successful are people who have discipline, confidence, intelligence, patience and are consistent. In addition to accomulating power, Zhan Zhuang training also improves the practitioner's physical condition. However, this fact is often ignored by many practitioners until one is engaging in the physically demanding Solo Drill training. In Zhan Zhuang training, when one feels that the body is comfortable and energetic in a particular positon after few minutes, this is a sign that one is ready to engage in Solo Drill training. In Solo Drill training, one should follow the concepts of 'slow is better than fast', and 'fluid is better than hurried' to reduced the risk of physical injury. First, one works with large and slow movements. Later, one works with small movements with speed and power. When one is follows these instructions, one will be able to


understand all the powers changed inside the body and performed by the body accordingly. The training in Solo Drill is similiar to Zhan Zhuang in a few important ways. 1) It is highly demanding of physical endurance and mental concentration. Therefore, one should expect to experience all sorts of discomfort and boredom at the beginning. 2) All the movements are guided by the intent, not physical force. When one is applying physical force, the muscles tense up and this inhibits flexibility and all circulation. Therefore, as long as one is applying the intent to guide the chi circulation, which is expressing outwardly in physical movement, the discomfort will be gone and the training is achievable. In the beginning, practicing the Solo Drill's movements are but a series of simple exercises for the hands and feet. With experience, one will understand the power behind each exercise is not coming only from the hands and feet but from the whole body. This is what we call 'when the top portion moves, the lower portion follows. When the lower portion moves, the top portion leads.' When one is practicing the Solo Drill, one should pay closer attention to the mechanics of each movement. The intent and movement should be coordinated to result in a powerful strike. The movement should be natural, comfortable, and muscles, joints, and tendons should stay relaxed. Each movment's motion should be large at the beginning to fine tune all the different components, later, the same movement should have smaller motion so that it is fast and powerful. The slower the motion, the better the control, and focus. This is the reason why Yang Cheng Fu said that first one seeks large movement and later seeks smaller movement. Fonte:


A Discussion on Wu Chi Behind the Zhen Zhuang Training

The Tai Chi Chuan Classics say, "Tai Chi came from Wu Chi, the mother of Yin and Yang." This highlights the important relationship between Tai Chi Chuan and Wu Chi and yet today's Tai Chi Chuan practitioners do not concentrate and talk about this Wu Chi. In the past, Tai Chi Chuan students generally had a complete physical and spiritual training by working on the Wu Chi Posture or static component and Tai Chi Chuan or the dynamic component. The Tai Chi Chuan Classics say, "Wu Chi gives birth to Tai Chi. Tai Chi gives birth to Two Elements. Two Elements give birth to Four Phenomena and Four Phenomena give birth to Pa Kua." Wu Chi refers to the state before the universe was formed; it is the world that has no shape and mass and it is infinite or void. Tai Chi refers to the time the universe was about to be formed. Therefore, Tai Chi refers to initiation. Two Elements refers to Yin and Yang Components. Four Phenomena refers to Metal, Wood, Water, and Fire or Four Seasons as Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Pa Kua refers to Heaven, Earth, Thunder, Wind, Water, Fire, Mountain and Lake. In Tai Chi Chuan training, Wu Chi refers to the condition when the body and spirit are not divided into Yin and Yang Components. In other words, the body is tranquil and is not affected by any contact with the outside world. The whole body, physical as well as spiritual, is united into oneness. When we talk about Wu Chi training, we are talking about the ability to remove all the body's tensions and other emotions guided by intent so that the practitioner can return to the stable and natural stage that is full of potential and innate ability. 2. Wu Chi Posture To form a Wu Chi Posture, one begins with the feet parallel to the shoulders and the knees bent. The two arms on the side of the body are suspended without any tension. The fingers are relaxed and pointing forward. The two elbows are slightly bent. Therefore, the palms have a sense of pushing down and the arms are warding off outward. The head is upright. The lips and teeth are close together. The tongue touches the roof of the hard palate. The eyes are looking forward. 3. Relaxation


In order for the whole body to relax, all the joints must be loose and the bones stacked lightly. This is especially true with the spinal column: One should not apply strength to make it straight. It should be natural and not rely on muscle contraction or tension for balance. One can picture the body's skeleton as a cloth hanger, with the skin, muscle, tendon and ligament as cloth. Placing clothes evenly on the hanger will provide proper balance. Correct body alignment and weight distribution on the feet will provide the same result. To have a relaxed body, the key is to remove tension from the chest. The tension on the chest is generally the result of a pull by the abdominal and the shoulders. Therefore, to remove the tension in the chest, one should remove the tension in the abdomen and shoulders so that all the internal organs are hanging down in a natural position. The head should be upright. When it is leaning either to the left or right side, it is easy to correct. When it is leaning backward, it is not. When the head is leaning backward, it can cause the body imbalance, the jawbone will tilt upward and expose the throat and this can cause the throat to dry. All these can cause tension on the neck. Protruding the buttocks are another cause of tension in the body. The buttocks should be relaxed so that they will tuck under or downward naturally. If the buttocks are sticking out, extra muscles are required to work on the hip and waist areas because the chest will go forward to maintain this new balance. This will cause the chest to be tense again. When the buttocks are tucked under, the skeleton assumes correct alignment and it becomes stable. It no longer needs additional work from the muscles and ligaments for balance. The muscles, ligaments and joints will loosely fit together to form a relaxing and comfortable posture. The only part that has tension in the Wu Chi Posture is the wrist. The wrist has to bend so that the fingers will be pointing forward. This serves two functions. a. When the body is relaxed, falling asleep is easy. The tension on the wrist will provided a small amount of stimuli to keep the practitioner awake. b. The tension on the wrist alerts the practitioner physically as well as mentally. When there is tension, one can focus and the arms have the warding off intent and the chi is there. This is why many practitioners feel all kinds of chi


sensation on the hands when they practice this exercise even only for a few minutes. From this, one can sees that a small tension on the wrist, which does not affect the whole body's relaxation, has so many meanings. This is an expression of one of many concepts often observed throughout Tai Chi Chuan training- concentrating on one thing and forgetting 1000 things so that the body can be restored and refreshed. 4. Concentration In Wu Chi training, relaxation is the external requirement and tranquility is the internal requirement. Tai Chi Chuan is considered an internal art because it highly emphasizes the intent throughout every movement so that every small movement has purpose and objective. In Wu Chi training, one slowly tries to remove all unnecessary thoughts and sometimes remove oneself from any disturbing environment or location so relaxation and tranquility are possible. When the body is truly relaxed and tranquil, the intent is like a second being living inside the body to monitor the body's relaxation and tranquility beginning with the head, throat, shoulders, hands, chest, abdominal, hip, legs, feet, internal organs and then returning upward from the bottom to the top of the head. When you detect that a certain area of the body is not correct and relaxed, make correction immediately. Bad habits die hard. Many bad habits still occur after several corrections. Therefore, one must repeat this process of checking over and over until the body becomes relaxed, tranquil and natural. The better one can concentrate, the better one can remove the stress from the external environment and the easier one can enter a tranquil condition. When one is able to concentrate, the body is relaxed, the intent is able to check everywhere inside the body for any internal conflict. All components exist independent inside the body without any interference, pressure and tension so that one will feel very comfortable. What is Wu Chi training? It is the training to develop the skill to apply the intent to monitor the body and the ability to calm certain organs so that when focusing or concentrating, there will be a biological response. After this kind of training, the functions of all involuntary organs will be better and the functions of the voluntary organs will be improved as well. Therefore, when one has Wu Chi skill, the body can quickly be restored in a short time, the feet are mobile and the body is nimble and energetic.


In order to have intent as a guide, one much have high spirit. High spirit is the result of concentration. Some people conclude that high spirit relates to body tension based on whether one does physical work. According to them, when one is resting or inactive, the spirit is low and the body is tired. But there is a basic difference between high spirit and tension. When one has tension, it is the result of external influence that is natural, unconscious response and can not be controlled. When this influence happens, the nervous system also has tension and feels the pressure and expresses it externally as physical tension. High spirit on the other hand is a man made excitement. It can be controlled. This is often expressed as a form of confidence, courage and endurance. It can make the tense body relax, restore and refresh itself or it can tense up the body to do physical work. Therefore, high spirit and tension appear together due to work relationship. Low spirit and internal concentration are not the same. Low spirit refers to the brain being tired that causes the function to deteriorate. When one works with low spirit, it is not a normal life, unnecessary tension will accumulate to harm the body. 5. Unification of chi and intent In Wu Chi training, the primary duty of intent is to monitor the body internally to have the body relaxed and tranquil; the secondary duty is to regulate the breathing so that it can be deep, slow, soft and even. When breathing is rhythmic, the intent applies the same speed to patrol the body from top to bottom and bottom to top, a continuous process. This exercise is called the unification of chi and intent among the stationary qigong exercises. As described above, when the intent monitors the body, it is able to tell the condition of certain areas or have biological responses from these areas. This kind of sensation or response will become more obvious when the practitioner has more experience. 6. Functions When the physical and spiritual body achieves all the requirements, it enters the Wu Chi condition. When one can get there at any time of the day, this means one has the Wu Chi skill. The more one is able to relax, the better one can concentrate internally and the application and benefits are wider spread. From a physiological perspective, Wu Chi is the best technique for restoration. From a spiritual perspective, it is alert and has high spirit and concentration. From a dynamic perspective, it is tranquil and internally comfortable. From the physical perspective, it


is full with energy and is alive. Therefore, in a Wu Chi condition, the whole body, physical as well as spiritual, is in a very beneficial restoration process and it is alert. It emphasizes oneness, and so some people defined Wu Chi as before the separation of Yin and Yang, but the carrier of Yin and Yang. Wu Chi training contributes a lot to improving health. It serves a very special function for the nervous system by balancing the excitation and inhibition of the brain. Today, we know that emotions play a very important role in one's health. Muscle contraction, blood circulation, the function of the internal organs and the endocrine system change according to change in emotion and environment. Bad emotions such as anger, sadness, fear, worry can cause tension and pressure on the nervous system. When the nervous system is over stimulated, the organs will affect one's health. There are many symptoms such as muscle pain, ulcer, headache, that are affected by long term unstable emotions. Therefore, negative emotions injure one's health and positive emotion improves one's health. Although a positive emotion such as happiness can improve one's health, one can not be in this condition constantly and there is reason to be happy so positive emotions require an external stimulus. A better technique than positive emotion is to have a Wu Chi condition, it can neutralize the bad emotions that affect the body. Therefore, Wu Chi condition is the best method to maintain good health. Although Tai Chi Chuan training does not recommend any extreme emotion, it is difficult not to encounter any in life; when it occurs, one will apply the Wu Chi condition to neutralize it so that the body will be relaxed, peaceful and tranquil. This process does not require any external support. It depends only on the intent. Besides improving one's health, Wu Chi condition also improves the nervous system's sensitivity so that there is better communication and coordination between the brain and the physical body. Therefore, Wu Chi is a good maintenance exercise for the physical body as well as spiritual body. In Wu Chi condition, the body is relaxed and there is no tension or stiffness. It is very comfortable and natural. When one has the Wu Chi skill, one fall asleep quickly, perform at peak condition, focus and concentrate better. Since Wu Chi condition provides so many functions and benefits, one should practice this exercise often so that more benefit will be attained. Wu Chi exercise can be done when one is in situation such as waiting, sitting in the airplane, riding in the


car, laying down to sleep and before getting up. It can be practiced anytime when the practitioner needs to. Article By Vincent Chu Fonte:


Neigong Discussion All advanced training among Chinese martial arts systems requires Neigong skill (Internal Work) as the foundation. For anyone who is interested in achieving higher skills, a great deal of time must be spent on training in this neigong methodology to promote better qi circulation and cultivate more qi. This qi is not the same as the kind people commonly understand as the air one breathes, it is the energy that is located inside the body and is responsible for the physiological functions. Martial arts practitioners often say "External training is to strengthen the tendons, ligaments and bones. Internal training is to strengthen the qi". This qi is mobile by itself. In neigong training, one is trying to manipulate it so that it can be control by one's intention. When the intent is active, the qi is active. When the intent stops, the qi stops. When the intent is there, the qi is there as well. This is what practitiioners are referring to when they say, "The intent is the general and the qi is the solider". When this qi is available for manipulation, the practitioner has graduated from neigong training. How can we apply this qi to martial arts techniques? That brings us to the training of Kaigong (External Work). In martial arts training, to cultivate more qi and have better qi circulation is not enough. One must manipulate this qi to fuel martial arts techniques. The complete work in martial arts training often involves two steps: active and inactive exercises or internal and external exercises. The methodology consists of first accumulating qi, then converting the qi into NeiJing or internal power by coordinating it with martial arts techniques. This training methodology, which involves quick and sudden physical movements, is called kaigong by some and Fa Jing by others. It is the combination of quick and sudden movements with intent and qi. The practice of this method is often guided by the principle called "Six Harmony Theory" among chinese martial art practitioners. The Six Harmony Theory is divided into the Three Internal Harmonies and the Three External Harmonies. The three internal harmonies are the mind in harmony with the intent, the intent in harmony with qi and the qi in harmony with the power, to guide one in the neigong training. The three external harmonies are the shoulders in harmonize with the hips, the elbows in harmony with the knees and the hands in harmony with the feet, to guide in the kaigong training. In other words, the method of neijing development involves special breathing techniques combined with a goal specific physical movement so that the result of this execution


is concentrated and powerful. Because this execution involves intent, qi and power, the result is often so powerful that it is difficult for the spectator to believe. Throughtout neigong training, the practitioner slowly, improves and develops his body for optimum performance, resulting in good muscle tone, a body full with lively neijing or internal power and without stiffness, and with all brute force removed. This neijing is the result of neigong and kaigong trainings guided by Six Harmony Theory. When one applies this neijing to the body, it is soft like cottom if the body is relaxed. When the body is tense, it is hard like steel. From a scientific perspective, one can understand neijing as the force resulting from blood and qi circulation. From an application perspective, it is guided by the intent. The qi and the blood flow in a specific direction, coordinated with a specific movement, and delivered to a specific point. Or, the qi begins unfocused, and becomes more focused and finally, concentrated. When the qi follows the intent's instruction into a specific area of the body, and then is delivered outside the body by a quick and sudden physical movement, the qi becomes neijing. It is capable of causing serious injury to the opponent. Of course, this whole procedure must invovle some muscle contraction; but the primary component comes from the intent's function in guiding the qi and blood. Among martial art practitioners, it is often said " It is easy to train kai Gong. It is difficult to train Nei Gong". The neigong training is difficult because of qi's accumulation and circulation. It is easy in kaigong training because of the tangible factors. One can see, touch, adjust, and easily master the principles, methodology and theories. On the other hand, qi accumulation and circulation are intangible. One can not see or touch qi and awareness of it depends on one's sensitivity/awareness which is difficult to experience for some people. Therefore, neigong training is difficult. Our cogitation is very active. Generally, there are many thoughts appearing in the mind at the same time. The second thought arrives before the first thought disappears. It is very difficult to stop and be quiet. In neigong training, tranquility is the first requirement. It is only in a tranquil condition that one is able to concentrate on the intent to have the qi and blood circulate inside the body. Therefore, concentration determines the quality of neigong training. If one has many thoughts and is not able to concentrate, the qi will be scarce and it will be difficult to unify and circulate it. The result is not very good. To improve one's concentration, one must have patience and remove all stimulants and temptations,


one must spent a great deal of time practicing the inactive exercises or meditation exercises. Some of the more common meditation exercises are sitting meditation or standing meditation. The goal of sitting meditation is to cultivate the mind, qi and spirit. The goal of standing meditation is to condition the body, and improve qi circulation and accumulation. The goal of this neigong training is to have better qi circulation so that it can be accumulated, unified, mobilized and coordinated with physical movements to produce more neijing. In qi manipulation, the intent is the most important ingredient. The stronger the intent, the outcome is greater. Therefore, all advanced martial arts training often emphasizes cultivation of the intent. The work of intent cultivation is not a day's work, it is a daily work. It is a yearly work. Therefore, one must have confidence, patience, persistence and persevrance in training. Fonte:

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