Xingyi Addict - Santi Shi plus Zazen equals

Xue Sheng

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Something interesting

I discovered something rather interesting, or at least I think it is, as it applies to Standing in Santi Shi… OK likely I did not discover it but I came to a realization as it applies to Santi Shi and beginning Zazen practice.

Last night I started applying some Zen sitting (Zazen) theory to it. Basically just stand and watch and count your breath. Which means try to count your breaths from 1 to 10 without thinking about anything else. When you realize you are no longer watching your breathes you stop let the thought go, don’t force them to stop, just acknowledge then and let them go, and start counting again at “1” and try again to get to 10, after you can easily reach 10 stop counting and just stand and breath. I got as far a 6 twice in 7 minutes but I never got to 10.

I have been a bit intrigued by a bit of a Buddhist connection to Xingyiquan that I came across in the book “The Xingyi Boxing Manual: Hebei Style's Five Principles and Seven Words by Jin Yunting” he had the line “Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is form” written in his book and that is from the Heart Sutra. Now I am not saying Xingyiquan is Buddhist but I think there is something about that line, without thinking “HEY THAT’S BUDDHIST” that is rather important. Somehow that brought me to standing in Santi counting breaths last night and I have to say it was a rather good, albeit short, Santi Session



 
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Xue Sheng

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This same approach can also be applied to Zhan zhuang and Wuji standing as well.

For those unfamiliar with Stance training and or Santi Shi you may think this is slow but Going from not standing in Santi for months to starting at 3 minutes and getting to 4 minutes, comfortably, in less than a week is fast.

I am not sure if I will make it, since you can’t push stance training and I won’t try, but I am hoping to get to 10 minutes per side by the mid to late July
 
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Xue Sheng

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Should also add that if one does apply Zazen type breathing to this the easily stages you can could inhale and exhale separately as 1 and 2. Inhale (1), Exhale (2) until you get to 10 and if you find yourself thinking about something else before you get to 10 then start again at 1.

After you are able to do that easily then change to inhale/exhale = 1, inhale/exhale = 2 until you get to 10 and if you find yourself thinking about something else before you get to 10 then start again at 1.

After that is easily done stop counting and just stand and breath.
 

BooBoo

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Hi Xue Sheng,

Do you experience more pain in certain body parts than others when doing Santi Shi and does this mean that those body parts that experience the most pain are the weakest and stand to benefit most from Santi Shi training? Will this pain gradually subside as one continues to practice Santi Shi more and more?
 
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Xue Sheng

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Hi Xue Sheng,

Do you experience more pain in certain body parts than others when doing Santi Shi and does this mean that those body parts that experience the most pain are the weakest and stand to benefit most from Santi Shi training? Will this pain gradually subside as one continues to practice Santi Shi more and more?

It depends on where the pain is
 

BooBoo

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Well for example, I get pain in my left shoulder, and my Sifu says it's because it's relatively weak - but based on your experience, does it normally take a long time to develop weak muscle areas to the point where you don't feel as much pain when doing Santi Shi? I've been training Santi Shi on and off for a couple of years, but this pain doesn't seem to subside - so I thought it might be a reflection of some fundamental misalignment in my posture or something of the sort.
 

BooBoo

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Omg I didn't realise how 'wrong' my question must have sounded - haha sorry about that. :rofl:
 

mograph

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Well for example, I get pain in my left shoulder, and my Sifu says it's because it's relatively weak...
If I may ... have you looked into your daily habits? Do you rest your arm on the car door as you drive? How do you sit at a desk? That sort of thing.
 
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Xue Sheng

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Well for example, I get pain in my left shoulder, and my Sifu says it's because it's relatively weak - but based on your experience, does it normally take a long time to develop weak muscle areas to the point where you don't feel as much pain when doing Santi Shi? I've been training Santi Shi on and off for a couple of years, but this pain doesn't seem to subside - so I thought it might be a reflection of some fundamental misalignment in my posture or something of the sort.
Pain in Shoulder muscles: to quote my last sifu "I don't want to hear it, just shut up and stand"

Pain in shoulder joint: could be misalignment could be you need to see a bone specialist (Doctor)

I read one thing though in your post "Off and on", what do you mean by off an on?
If you mean you do Santi for a few days and you take a day off that is not traditional but that should not really have major adverse effects on santi training.

However if you mean stand in Santi a few days or a few weeks and then take several days or weeks off you are pretty much starting from the beginning every single time and any gains you may have gotten form the first several days or weeks are virtually gone. Therefore the muscle pain will not go away.

Or, if you stand in Santi say for 5 minutes per side for a few weeks and then try and jump t 10 minutes per side you will be back at more pain. Santi training is a slow progression and I am of the belief that you need to be at least 15 or twenty minutes per side to begin to understand it.

As to relatively weak; I do not agree. You can take a power lifter or a body builder and stand them in Santi and they will likely have shoulder muscle pain. They may be able to bench press 400lbs but they never stood in santi…stand long enough and it will hurt. It is simply a static position that you are not use to standing in. It is an important position, one which is the foundation of Xingyiquan and one that helps teach you connections in your body as well as unification of the muscles of your body.

How long so you stand and/or how long does your sifu expect you to stand and is it continuous or do you switch back and forth between sides while training santi

Santi takes time that is all, there are no short cuts and there are no breaks.... if it is not joint pain....shut-up and stand
 

oaktree

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Well for example, I get pain in my left shoulder, and my Sifu says it's because it's relatively weak - but based on your experience, does it normally take a long time to develop weak muscle areas to the point where you don't feel as much pain when doing Santi Shi? I've been training Santi Shi on and off for a couple of years, but this pain doesn't seem to subside - so I thought it might be a reflection of some fundamental misalignment in my posture or something of the sort.

If you are practicing 5 minutes a day on each side you should be not feeling pain after a certain amount of time. For example at first doing 3 minutes will seem like a long time but then you will notice it will not hurt this means you are building endurance.

If you are feeling pain in the left shoulder in San ti shi it could be tension, alignment problem or something else that your teacher should be correcting or and you should look at with a doctor. I know from personal experience that if you force San ti shi using more muscle then relaxing you can injure yourself. For example, instead of rooting you bend the knees it can hurt the knees.

As Xue Sheng said if you train on and off it is similar to doing Ma Bu or stretching on and off you will not reap the benefits. My suggestion commit to it or don't commit to it because you are doing yourself a great injustice by going into San ti shi half hearted.
That really goes for all Nei jia arts.
Just my thoughts on it.
 

BooBoo

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Because of the seasonal nature of my work I have times of the year when I'm so busy that I don't have time to practice Santi Shi or the forms. And this can last for weeks sometimes.

I never thought that stopping my training for long periods of time was basically like starting from the beginning. I assumed it was more like muscle memory and weightlifting. That is, once you reach a certain level and you stop training for a while, you would be able to reach that level faster (maybe 2-3 weeks) than it took you to initially reach it (whether we are talking about performing the forms at the same level, or holding a Shanti Shi posture for a decent amount of time).

My Sifu ideally told us we should be doing Santi Shi 15 minutes on each side per day. But he also warned us that doing it for 5 minutes correctly is better than doing it for 15 minutes incorrectly - so basically we shouldn't rush into it.
 
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Xue Sheng

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Because of the seasonal nature of my work I have times of the year when I'm so busy that I don't have time to practice Santi Shi or the forms. And this can last for weeks sometimes.

I never thought that stopping my training for long periods of time was basically like starting from the beginning. I assumed it was more like muscle memory and weightlifting. That is, once you reach a certain level and you stop training for a while, you would be able to reach that level faster (maybe 2-3 weeks) than it took you to initially reach it (whether we are talking about performing the forms at the same level, or holding a Shanti Shi posture for a decent amount of time).

If you were standing in Santi for 30 minutes per side per day and stopped for a few weeks it is likely you will be able to pick it back up fairly easily at about 10 to 15 minutes per side per day but you will not jump right back into 30 minutes. I got to 15 minutes per side at one point and stopped for a few weeks and came back at 5 minutes per side. Basically if you don't use it you lose it

Lift weights and get yourself to a bench press of 200 lbs and stop for a few weeks and you will not go back at 200lbs. You may still have proper form but you have lost strength. You may not be back starting at the beginning but you will not jump back in where you left off.

Santi at a high level (Huajin) you can come back fairly quickly but at a low level (Mingjin) you will find yourself continually starting over. It is important to find time to stand if you are training Xingyiquan. It is more that muscular strength it is more that endurance. What it is teaching is unity which is very important to Xingyiquan

Santi cannot be rushed and in the early stages you should be consistent in your training of it

My Sifu ideally told us we should be doing Santi Shi 15 minutes on each side per day. But he also warned us that doing it for 5 minutes correctly is better than doing it for 15 minutes incorrectly - so basically we shouldn't rush into it.

5 minutes correctly is better than 15 minutes correctly but 15 minutes correctly is better than 5 minutes correctly.

And your sifu is absolutely correct, you can't rush it. If you do you can hurt yourself and you will end up with bad Xingyiquan
 

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