Zhan Zhuang - what can you tell me about it?

Zhan Zhuang - what can you tell me about it?

Postby global village idiot » Tue Oct 11, 2016 1:08 am

I just found out about it today and my take on it is that it is complementary to tai chi practice, as a sort of conditioning exercise but not in quite the same way that, for example, running while carrying weights on your wrists or ankles is a conditioning exercise.

Since I don't even know what questions to ask about it, I'll simply bring the topic up and ask for your thoughts.

Thanks!

gvi
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Re: Zhan Zhuang - what can you tell me about it?

Postby DPasek » Tue Oct 11, 2016 12:29 pm

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Re: Zhan Zhuang - what can you tell me about it?

Postby ChiDragon » Fri Oct 14, 2016 11:29 pm

global village idiot wrote:I just found out about it today and my take on it is that it is complementary to tai chi practice, as a sort of conditioning exercise but not in quite the same way that, for example, running while carrying weights on your wrists or ankles is a conditioning exercise.

Since I don't even know what questions to ask about it, I'll simply bring the topic up and ask for your thoughts.

Thanks!

gvi

gvi

You should pay close attention to the posture of the legs in Zhan Zhuang. The legs are bend to some degrees from 15 to 90 degrees. The 90 degree stance is the most difficult to do. Normally, it was done by higher level practitioners or masters. The purpose of Zhan Zhuang is to strengthen the legs muscles for good rooting. In other words, it is to make the legs very strong. One will be standing still even others are pushing. It gives a good foundation like the roots of a tree stay solid in the ground.

The beginners start with the 15 degree stance and work gradually to the higher degrees until 90 degrees. At first the legs muscles get sore after few minutes of standing. However, the pain will go away in few months when the muscles are getting use to the stress. As the legs bend lower, there are more stress apply to the muscles. That is why the angles of bend has to be lowered gradually. Finally, the result of Zhan Zhuamg is to build up the muscle tone of the legs and become very strong to withstand any tremendous pressure. Such as jumping down from high places and land on the ground right side up without injury.
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Re: Zhan Zhuang - what can you tell me about it?

Postby Audi » Sun Oct 16, 2016 11:11 pm

Hi GVI,

I just found out about it today and my take on it is that it is complementary to tai chi practice, as a sort of conditioning exercise but not in quite the same way that, for example, running while carrying weights on your wrists or ankles is a conditioning exercise.


Dan gives an interesting link on zhan zhuang. My translation of the literal meaning would be "post/stake standing." Different martial arts, different traditions in those arts, and different teachers within those traditions will have their own understanding of its importance and how to do it best. This is actually not that different than the varying views about how best to the main Tai Chi bare-hand forms.

In the Association's Tai Chi, we are taught that Tai Chi practice consists of still and moving practice. Since this is a Yin-Yang relationship, we might also say "relatively still" and "relatively moving" practice. At the most still end of the spectrum is probably "meditation" while lying down. At the most moving end of the spectrum is probably sparring or fajin practice. We are advised to do both types of practice to balance out our training.

As for zhan zhuang, it is a practice we strongly encourage. Our basic practice is to do it in a relatively high stance, working up to sessions that are at least twenty minutes long. We consider that this practice normally has both internal and external benefits; but if you do it while talking or watching television, you will get only the external benefits, such as stronger legs.

What you do during the practice is focus on the Ten Essentials, especially on those aspects that deal with sinking qi to the dantian. I think different people experience different sensations. For me, I feel my energy smoothing out and the qi sinking deeply. My upper body gets light. For everyone, you should have a feeling of getting in touch with the fundamental mind, body, and energy configurations that underly all of our movement.

One way to practice is to do zhan zhuang just before doing the form. In that way, you can carry all the aspects of good posture, sunken qi, still focused mind, and body control into your moving practice. One major challenge in doing form is not to let the movements have an undue effect on your “natural” breathing. If you do the standing correctly, you begin to feel that even slight problems with balance or with the alignment of your lower back, for instance, affect your breathing. You can take these feelings and learnings into how you do the form.

I hope this helps.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: Zhan Zhuang - what can you tell me about it?

Postby ChiDragon » Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:26 am

This is original methdo of Zhan Zhuang (standing on the poles)
http://s10.sinaimg.cn/large/61cc12c7g8339aee786b9&690

The ancients had forced themselves to stand on the poles, to strengthen their legs and bodies. The purpose of standing on the poles was to force them to put lots of effort not to fall off. However, each time one fell off has to spend some time to climb on the poles again. In order prevent from falling off the poles, people will try very hard to keep their balance on the poles.

The practitioners were slowly doing ZZ on the ground or a flat surface. Nowadays, the original method had been forgotten.

Here is another picture showing a practitioner Zhan Zhuang with one leg.
http://tupian.baike.com/doc/%E6%A2%85%E ... e_zhengwen
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Re: Zhan Zhuang - what can you tell me about it?

Postby ChiDragon » Thu Oct 20, 2016 2:02 am

Let see if anyone can do this. Nowaday, this is the highest accomplishment that one can be attained.
http://photo.blog.sina.com.cn/showpic.h ... 538f9fdd50
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Re: Zhan Zhuang - what can you tell me about it?

Postby fchai » Fri Oct 21, 2016 3:04 am

Greetings,
An interpretation that I read somewhere makes the point that ''zhan zhuang'' might be better interpreted as, ''standing at stances'', rather than poles. For instance, the '''horse riding stance'' is a zhan zhuan stance, if you just do it for meditative or conditioning reasons and hold the position for a period of time. Many martial arts use it for training purposes. I remember staying in a horse stance for extended periods of time in previous martial arts training. Incidentally, it is also probably why I tend to do the form lower than most. lol.
Take care,
Frank
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Re: Zhan Zhuang - what can you tell me about it?

Postby ChiDragon » Fri Oct 21, 2016 5:50 pm

Greetings!
As I had pointed out in the previous post, the original method of Zhan Zhuang was performed on the poles with a horse stance. That is where the name Zhan Zhuang (standing on the poles) came from. I used to find lots of pictures showing people doing the horse stance on the poles online. However, since the horse stance are performed on a flat surface nowadays, it is still called Zhan Zhuang regardless it was done on the poles or not. Zhan Zhuang is almost a prerequisite for all martial artists to perform few hours a day to accomplish their martial goals.

FYI The lower that one can bend the knees is a better performer. In other words, the ideal condition of Zhan ZHuang is to have both upper and lower legs to form a 90 degree angle at the knee and the ankle perpendicular to the foot. This applies to both legs. Indeed, I had seen pictures of Shaolin monks in doing that but it's no longer posted online.

For beginners is better to start with a 10 to 15 degree bend at the knee, then gradually works down to 90 degrees. The leg muscles may be sore at the beginning of the practice. The soreness will go away after few months of practice which indicates that the muscles are getting stronger.
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