XingYi

This step comes from the martial art Xing Yi, which Grand Master Wang Xiang Zhai learned from his first teacher, Master Guo Yun Sin. To begin, stand in the Zhan Zhuang position, Holding the Ball (page 13). Shift all your weight on to one foot. Swivel your other foot on the heel 90 degrees to point sideways. It is now pointing in the forward direction in which you will move.

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Your feet are at right angles to each other. All your weight is on your rear foot. Keeping your rear foot firmly in position, step slightly forwards with your front foot, without shifting any weight on to it. Then bring the rear foot slightly towards the front foot and plant it firmly on the ground, still bearing all your weight. The distance between your two feet is now the same as when you began.

Breathe in as you place your front foot forwards. Breathe out as you move your rear foot forwards.

When you practice this step, you can hold your arms in any of the Zhan Zhuang positions you have learned. To begin, the most common arm position with this step is the On Guard position ( pages 36-37). When your right foot is moving forwards, your right hand points in the same direction. Likewise. when your left foot moves forwards, your left hand points in the same direction

Apart from the tiny forward movements of the front foot. all the work is done by the muscles of the rear leg. As you practice, try not to hop up and down too much on your rear leg. The movement should be silent. Stay low and level, slowly inching forwards using the power of your rear leg.

THE CIRCLE OF

HARMONY

The Rooster

Many movements in the Chinese martial arts are drawn from close observation of nature. This step resembles the motion of a rooster as it places its feet deliberately and powerfully on the ground. It is an energizing exercise in itself and is used in the martial application of Da Cheng Chuan to conquer the ground from an opponent.

Start with your feet together, knees bent, weight on one foot. Extend your arms fully to the sides, palms facing away from you, fingers up. Move your free foot forwards in an arc out to the diagonal. Keep the sole of your foot parallel to the ground and a centimeter (half an inch) off it.

Place your foot flat on the ground and slowly lean over it until your weight is fully forwards. Breathe out as you do this.

As you practice The Rooster. the orientation of your upper body changes with each step. You move from diagonal to diagonal. First you face towards one diagonal and lean forwards over your front foot in that direction. Then, when you are ready to begin the next step, your hips turn so that you are facing the other diagonal before you step forwards.

Bring your rear foot slowly up to your front foot. Move it so that the sole remains parallel to the ground and a centimeter (half an inch) off it. Your body straightens up as you rest the ball of the foot on the ground beside your other foot. Breathe in as you straighten up. Then continue with the next step of The Rooster.

CIRCLE F OF HARMONY

The Bear

This movement is for Da Cheng Chuan practitioners who have reached a reasonably high level of accomplishment. Outwardly, the movement appears to be very slight. However, it requires a great deal of bodily control and considerable inner strength. Its power in combat is immense.

When this movement is practiced properly, the person moves forward like a bear rearing up on its hind legs ready to brush away anything in its path.

Stand with your feet facing forwards and shoulder width apart. Spread your weight evenly over both feet. Take a small step forwards with one foot, no more than 5 cm (2 in). Lift and place your foot so that the sole is always parallel to the ground. It feels as if the entire movement comes from the back of your leg. Take care not to shift your weight from one side to the other as you move.

TIIE BEAR

This movement is normally accompanied by the arm position featured in Opening Outwards (page 14).

Your arms are fully relaxed, with your hands opening outwards in front of your head. Your fingers are spread apart like the claws of a bear.

As you move forwards, making small steps, the center line of your body remains stable. This is unlike normal walking: there is no lateral shifting of the body weight. Once you start to understand the inner mechanics of this movement, try to synchronize your breathing with it. Breathe out with each forward step.

The Five Signs of Practice

Wheti you took at a persott mho is a Ahan Ahuang practitioner, you can assess their development according to the hive Signs. Tirst is the person V Form. Hits refers to their posture: are they holding iSictusch 'ts in the correct positions:} Second is the person's Mind, Are they present and paying attention to their practice or tire they literally "absentwinded"? Third is the person's lbn>er. Is there dynamism in the way they stand? I'ourth is Energy. Is there a setise that energy is emanating from them, like an aura? Fifth is the Spirit. Does the persott Manifest the quality of being an antenna raised between the two powers of Htfrtii and Heaven. All these should eome together.

Professor Yu Yong Nian

Your training is a gradual process of development. It never ends. There is no limit to it. In conventional physical exercise, there is always some limit imposed by the human body. But in Zhan Zhuang, we continue to train our body, mind and spirit as a unity.

Daily practice is the key. The framework charts on these pages will help you. Remember that the foundation at all levels is the standing practice of Zhan Zhuang. Add movement training only after your daily standing practice.

It is always best to train under the guidance of a qualified instructor. If this is not possible, follow the instructions in this book with great care. It is extremely important not to rush your training or to push yourself beyond your own natural endurance. Always remember the words of Grand Master Wang Xiang Zhai:

Keep on practicing like this with perseverance th e skill will come to you of itself

THE FIVE

SIGNS OF PRACTICE

First Level If you are beginning this practice for the first time, or have only been practicing Zhan Zhuang for a year or less, you should develop a daily routine. Your daily framework is shown in the chart below. Start with the three warm-up exercises, stand in Wu Chi, then practice one of the foundation postures. Build up to 15 minutes without moving and close by Sealing your Energy.

FRAMEWORK EXERCISE PAGE NUMBERS/DURATION

WARM-UPS Relaxing the Shoulders 11 30 circles

Rotating the Hips

11

30 each way

Strengthening the Knees

11

30 each way

Wu Chi

26-27

5 mins up to 15 mins

FOUNDATION

Holding the Belly

13

5 mins up to 15 mins

POSTURES

Holding the Ball

13

5 mins up to 15 mins

Extending to the Sides

14

5 mins up to 15 mins

Opening Outwards

14

5 mins up to 15 mins

CLOSING PRACTICE Wu Chi 26-27 2 to 5 mins

Sealing your Energy 15 2 to 5 mins

CIRCLE OF

Second Level If you have reached the point in your practice where you can stand for 15 minutes in each of the foundation postures, experiment with the next level shown in the chart below. The framework for this level is the warm-ups with new additions, standing in Wu Chi and the postures shown in Part One (gradually going lower in each posture). You always close by standing in Wu Chi and Sealing your Energy.

FRAMEWORK EXERCISE PAGE NUMBER/DURATION

WARM-UPS

Relaxing the Shoulders

11

30 circles

Rotating the Hips

11

30 each way

Strengthening the Knees

11

30 each way

NEWWARM-UPS

Opening the Inner Gate

20-21

10 up to 30

Arm Circles

22-23

10 up to 30

Knees Up

24-25

10 up to 30

Wu Chi

26-27

5 mins up to 20 mins

PARTONEPOSTURES The Great Circle

28-29

go deeper; stay longer

Double Spirals

30-31

go deeper; stay longer

On Guard

36-37

go deeper; stay longer

Dragon Mouth

38-39

go deeper; stay longer

CLOSING PRACTICE

Wu Chi

26-27

2 to 5 mins

Sealing your Energy

15

2 to 5 mins

THE f IVE SIGNS OF PRACTICE

Third Level If you have reached the point in your daily practice where you are doing the maximum numbers for all the warm-ups in Level Two, and are reasonably stable holding the postures at least 10 cm (5 in) lower than your normal standing height, you can experiment with a more advanced routine shown in the chart below.

FRAMEWORK EXERCISE PAGE NUMBER/DURATION

WARM-UPS Opening the Inner Gate

20-21

30 up to 60

Arm Circles

22-23

30 up to 60

Knees Up

24-25

30 up to 60

Full Swing

106-107 30 up to 60

Wu Chi

26-27

5 mins up to 20 mins

VARIOUS POSTURES The Great Circle

28-29

go deeper; stay longer

Double Spirals

go deeper, stay longer

The Archer

30-31 48-49

go deeper; stay longer

The Dragon

56-59

Holding the Tiger

60-63

go deeper, stay longer go deeper; stay longer

MOVEMENTS A power movement from Part Four

5 mins or longer

One of the steps in Part Five

5 mins or longer

CLOSING PRACTICE WU Chi

26-27

2 to 5 mins

Sealing your Energy

15

2 to 5 mins

Heal Yourself With Qi Gong

Heal Yourself With Qi Gong

Qigong also spelled Ch'i Kung is a potent system of healing and energy medicine from China. It's the art and science of utilizing breathing methods, gentle movement, and meditation to clean, fortify, and circulate the life energy qi.

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