- May 2, 2020
- Reaction score
You're right, the extra g was wrong.Sorry, that's way off!
Zhan Zhuang is meant to train you to achieve biomechanical unity by forcing you to distribute the effort of standing through as much of your body as possible. First, you shift between feeling the weight on balls of the feet vs. heels, by alternating between using the calves and thighs. Once you distribute the effort between those, you are using "legs." You then extrapolate this distribution until no part of the body feels as if it's carrying the effort more than any other. That can take years.
After a few years of practising, I achieved this state, where all I could notice was the pressure of my body weight on the pads of my feet. Internally, because no part of my body stood out as taking the effort of standing, I felt hollow, which is the best word to describe it, aside from feeling "ready." On the squash court, people called me "rabbit," and this was in my late fifties. I reacted much faster, without much thought at all.
One result of this practice is, yes, as they promise, a tremendous amount of energy when you need it.
Yes, it's counter-intuitive, but like many endeavours, it cannot be adequately appreciated without direct experience, and in this case, a lot of direct experience, because that experience changes over time. The student really needs to do it for a long time before its utility becomes apparent.
I've learned many different versions of Zhan Zhuang, including in Weijia classes. Standing on one leg versions, moving versions with stepping etc.
They are ultimately all the same, letting the body sink on its frame, similar to static Qigong like the Seven Golden Gates. This is why most people can only stand like that for a couple minutes (or less) before training a while, and then holding position for an hour. Relaxation and full body awareness are key, for sure. And then the moving versions like in Tai Chi are really damn hard at first, because moving your body weight slowly through a space is work. You sweat right?
One of the big differentiators in Chinese Qigong is the isotonic vs isometric. In that sense Tai Chi Zhan Zhuang sort of stands out as odd. I believe this is because it is a lot older than Tai Chi itself and goes back thousands of years.
If you ever get a chance to read the Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicine, there are a lot physical recommendations that still live up to modern medical scrutiny. Zhan Zhuang practice is one of those. Helps with everything from lowe back pain (because of the psoas muscle) and acid reflux, proper alignment of the GI tract from years of bad posture.
Everything you said lines up, pun intended.