Standing like a tree

Standing like a tree

Postby dragomilak » Fri Jan 27, 2006 7:51 pm

Does Standing like a tree help by Taijiquan practice?
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Postby Fred Hao » Sat Jan 28, 2006 6:03 am

Hi, Dragomilak

Quote-----------------------------------
Does Standing like a tree help by Taijiquan practice?
___________________________________ quote

Think about standing like a scale. What do the scale do to the opposite weighty object.
While we stand like a scale, we can cope with the opponent just correctly in equimblace. If there is no opponent, we are ready to respond to the coming weighty power agilely.
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Postby César » Sat Jan 28, 2006 2:40 pm

Hello!
Master Wong Kiew Kit says:
"Zhan zhuang, which literally means stance-standing, is a generic term, referring to a category of chi kung exercises where a practitioner remains in a particular static position ranging generally from 3 to 60 minutes. The principal aim is to develop internal force, and it is a very effective method if the practitioner has the patient and endurance to practise daily for at least a hundred days. However, as the exercise looks simple, it is also easy to make mistakes which may result in adverse side-effects. Zhan zhuang therefore should be practised under the supervision of a master, or on their own only by experienced students.

There are many different zhan zhuang exercises. The most famous are the Horse-Riding Stance in Shaolin Kungfu, and the Three-Circle Stance in Taijiquan. Those zhan zhuang exercises mentioned by you are also widely practised. Holding your hands up at about the level of your ears as though you were catching a large ball is called "Embracing the Cosmos". Holding out your arms horizontally to the sides as though you were trying to maintain your balance in a stream of water is called "Carrying the Mountain". Holding an imaginary balloon in front of the lower dan tian is called "Holding the Dan Tian".

Besides these symmetrical positions, there are also asymmetrical positions used in zhan zhuang. Some examples are the "Three-Treasure Stance" (similar to the "Lifting up Hands" pattern in Taijiquan) in Xing Yi Kungfu, "Single Changing Palm" in Baguazhang, and various positions of standing on one leg in White Crane Kungfu.

The different zhan zhuang positions have different focus and emphasis. For a Taijiquan exponent, it is best to stick to the "Three-Circle Stance"; there is no need to change to other stances even when he has progressed to an advanced stage, although he can do so for some particular reasons. For a Xing Yi Kungfu exponent, it is best to practise the "Three-Treasure Stance", as this is the stance that he uses most of the time in his kungfu practice and application. For one who wishes to develop powerful arms, he can practise "Carrying the Mountain"; and one who wishes to take in cosmic energy, "Embracing the Cosmos".

It is a common mis-conception, even among many kungfu students, that zhan zhuang merely develops solid stances. This type of chi kung is probably the most important for developing internal force. It is a little known secret that while kungfu novices (no matter for how many years they may have learnt kungfu) spend their time chasing after new kungfu forms, kungfu masters doggedly train in their same zhan zhuang exercise year after year.."
http://wongkk.com/answers/ans99b/aug99-2.html

I hope this helps

César
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Postby JerryKarin » Sat Jan 28, 2006 9:57 pm

In the Yang family training there seems to be a tradition of holding positions, particularly the ding4shi4 'characteristic posture' of a move. I have never heard the Yangs mention daily practice of a specific horse stance for lengthy periods, as distinguished from their practice of periodically holding all of the stances for periods of time.
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Postby César » Sun Jan 29, 2006 3:47 pm

Hi Jerry!
In Cheng Man Ching's Book "Master Cheng's New Method of Tai Chi Self Cultivation" pp 11-12, there is something about this topic: "...The tai Chi Classics say that the proper root is in the foot. A beginner can develop a root by simply spending three to five minutes, morning and night, standing fully on a single leg. Alternate legs and gradually increase the time while you sink lower. This bitter work not only develops a root, it stimulates the cardiovascular system, which benefits the brain. It is essential that your chi sinks to the tantien, both feet adhere to the floor, and you exert absolutely no force. When practicing this Standing Posture, you may assist your balance by lightly touching a chair or a table with the middle finger and index finger. After a while use only the index finger. When you can stand unassisted, you may choose either the Lift Hands Posture or Playing the Guitar Posture to continue your practice. The Single Whip Posture develops openness and extension while the Preparation Posture cultivates undifferentiated unity. These postures are essential in understanding taichi's form and application -so do not neglect them!..."

Based on this, Could you provide us more information about ding4 shi4 in the Traditional Yang Family training?

Thank you very much
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Postby shugdenla » Sun Jan 29, 2006 6:07 pm

It seems the present Yang family do not pay much attention to 'ding shi' now generically called taijizhuang or more generic 'zhanzhuang', at least in public, as I gather. No 16, Spring of International Yang Syyle tai chi chuan newsletter, pg 3 Foundation training states that 'horse stance, bow stance and empty stance zhuang are "help up to and beyond 1 hour".
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Postby dragomilak » Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:02 am

I think, there are at least two good experts of Zhan Zhuang: Lam Kam Chuen and Mantak Chia.Recommend.
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Postby JerryKarin » Mon Jan 30, 2006 3:21 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by shugdenla:
It seems the present Yang family do not pay much attention to 'ding shi' now generically called taijizhuang or more generic 'zhanzhuang', at least in public, as I gather. No 16, Spring of International Yang Syyle tai chi chuan newsletter, pg 3 Foundation training states that 'horse stance, bow stance and empty stance zhuang are "help up to and beyond 1 hour".</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Dingshi is very different from zhanzhuang. It is sometimes called the ending position. If you spend some time training with the Yangs you will see that they frequently make you hold each posture for many minutes. The difference between this type of training and the zhanzhuang taught by many teachers is that they do not advocate one special type of standing (horse stance, tree standing, etc) but instead hold all the stances (bow, horse, empty..) and all the moves of the form.

Each year, we get some posts on this forum accusing us of not being the real deal because we don't make the novice spend 2 years doing tree standing before teaching them the form... I suppose this occurs because some teacher tells his students standing is the fundamental practice without which .... and then the students rush out to criticize here. It might be better to get the big picture first.
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Postby Pamela » Mon Jan 30, 2006 3:52 pm

Hi All,

Interesting posts.

My mind keeps wondering about something though...

Jerry said that Yang family advocates holding the final position of all movements.

What of transitions and every micro movement in betwixt?

Would it be advisable to hold these moments?

Like in cloud hands...what is the final moment, and is that the only position of value to hold?

Thank you,
Pamela
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Postby shugdenla » Tue Jan 31, 2006 6:01 pm

Pamela,

That is exactly what taijizhuang is (ding shi), to wit, holding the end posture, as it were. For holding pi'pa (lute/guitar, etc) one stays in the postuer for 2 min (example) then switch to opposite side for another 2 minutes. Same applies to other end postures.

Cloud hands (yun shou) as a moving posture, may not be considered as posture houlding but as individual posteur movemnt or transitional movement. One modification would to yun shou would be holding pi'pa to either left or right side as opposed to straight ahead!

Some examples of static posteur (taijizhaung/ding shi)NOTE I used them interchangeable:
a. Begnning posteur (hands at sides no movement)- may either be feet together or shoulder width apart
b. Strum pipa
c. single whip (dan pian)
d. Brush knee
e. Diagnolly flying
f. Pat the wild horse

The basics would be:
1. holding beach ball at chest
2. Palm up
3. Palm facing dantian (qihai) ending

Your own vision should see a method to the 'madness'!
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Postby JerryKarin » Tue Jan 31, 2006 6:07 pm

Note that dingshi and zhanzhuang are not at all similar. They should not be used interchangeably. Dingshi is a technical term which refers to the characteristic ending position of a move. These are often held by the student and tested by the teacher. You may use the ending position as a posture for zhanzhuang, but these two concepts are completely different in kind.
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Postby Pamela » Tue Jan 31, 2006 6:54 pm

Hello Shugdenla, Jerry,

I thank you Shugdenla for your explanations on Dingshi, and Jerry, thank you for presenting the distinction between Dingshi and Zhuangzhang.


Now that I know more about it... I am even more confused, I think...
as to WHY there is such a distinction between these two activities. They must have had a reason for labelling them differently...to my novice mind, they seem both for the same purpose, to strengthen the muscles in that particular position, and perhaps to improve the state of being song in a particular position without the added stress or responsibility to balance in movement.

So, let me recap, to see if I understood this correctly, which I doubt...Dingshi is the static holding of the final phase of form movements for long periods of time...and Zhuangzhang is the static holding of non~form movements for extended periods of time???

Is that right?

Now, Jerry, why do you say that dingshi can be used as zuangzhang...? Image

Shugdenla...The BASICS you mention, are these Zuangzhang or Dingshi, please?

All in all, I AM confused!

Does anyone think that holding the positions prior to and following "the position" would be a valuable exercise...or would it confuse our poor neurological pathways? Or is there any other reason we should not pause at ANY moment in the form and just hold it to gain stregnth?

Or maybe I should ask this last question like this: Have you ever seen Master Jun stop an individual or class in midmovement, before they reached the final "position" and ask them to stay as such for any period of time....or is it completely unheard of?

Thank you for your help.

Best wishes,
Pamela

[This message has been edited by Pamela (edited 01-31-2006).]
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Postby JerryKarin » Tue Jan 31, 2006 8:35 pm

Dingshi does not refer to the holding of the ending position, it is the ending position.
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Postby JerryKarin » Tue Jan 31, 2006 8:39 pm

Typically, the positions that you might want to hold for training purposes are completed forward bow step, empty step, and horse step. Usually the completed bow, empty, or horse step is in fact the ding shi. However there probably are some situations where you have a 'completed' or 'finished' bow, empty, or horse step which is not in fact the final spot in the move. Those could be held too.
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Postby Pamela » Tue Jan 31, 2006 8:39 pm

Thank you Jerry. Image
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