Pedro

The Secret Technique in Plain Sight - Zhan Zhuang

Recommended Posts

I've noticed this pattern in most books about Qi-Gong:

This kind of books start with a incredible story of their master or their own life, how they learned Qi-Gong beginning with standing meditation and then progressing versus a sitting meditation, eventually reaching mastery and the ability to transmit qi for healing.

Then they teach several techniques to the reader, beginning with breathing technique, relaxation, maybe some more advanced techniques like microcosmic orbits and more deeper stuff.

 

But it's funny why they mention standing meditation in the first few pages and then discard it when the practical part of the book starts. Instead they teach techniques which can never lead to success if the energy gates of the body are not opened or when the body is not able to produce abundantly enough qi for practicing the microcosmic orbit.

 

From say 20 books I've read the last 20 years about Qi-Gong or "similar practices", only 4 of them stressed the importance of standing meditation. From this 4 books 2 was specialized in Zhan Zhuang and the other 2 on "water techniques".

 

My own experience taught me that Zhan Zhuang is so effective in opening the meridians, that I practice now only this technique. The flow inside the meridians is stronger, blockages are dissolved on daily basis and I begin to feel something inside my dantien, which was impossible with other techniques before.

 

Standing meditation involves the entire body and strengthens the core of the energy body. You cannot cheat (!!!!), which is super important and a perfect precondition for myself, because my imagination is strong and I could imagine that there is a flow if there is nothing. But if one can stand for one hour, than some success must have be achieved, right?!

 

And we need a exercise that acts a qi-generator, building up enough qi to push through the meridians and dissolving blockages. How could a relaxation technique based on sitting and breathing ever lead to the point where one masters qi?

The plausible explanation is, that the authors of this books

  • are not real masters and so they don't know what they are writing about (highly probable)
  • they try to keep a secret in plain sight, so that only the "worthy ones" will understand ... but dude, we have the year 2018 and the internet
  • maybe it's a "cultural thing" to not tell everything to westerners (I cannot change my birth place, it was purely out of my control)
  • they don't teach the important stuff in books, but you need to buy them a beer and then they will teach you the secret (masters are humans after all!)
  • or maybe they really thought that we would understand ... and so they overestimated our intelligence.

 

Anyway ... I hope that more qi-gong masters out there teach the "real" fundamental techniques and not super deep high advanced stuff that is only practicable by other masters.

 

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to play devil's advocate, there could be a couple of reasons for this. The first is that in the West an easier and more gentle approach to Qi Gong might be a bit more palatable. Also, it might be that Zhan Zhuang is best taken up after a degree of proficiency is achieved in other practices.

 

Just a couple of days ago I added a lying practice to my standing, moving and sitting practices and I’ve found having a variety really means each one assists the other.

 

My favourite one and the one I do first thing is a stand, but now I’ve got other ones, I know that if my knee gives up, I’ll still have three other techniques to fall back on which all help my wellbeing.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For some reason standing is even more boring then sitting, to me anyway.  Certainly more painful too.   For those reasons it can be a hard sell, but you're both right, its worth it.  For teachers who want to keep students, as I said, its problematic.  Easier to move them on to newer flashy things so they feel like there's progress, but in truth learn one thing, learn it well, spend the time, get the fruit.   

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Cheshire Cat said:

If man was to follow nature, then he should avoid standing still.

While ZZ doesn't come all that natural to me, I get the feeling animals do it quite a bit.  Specially the hunters.  When you don't know when your meal is coming, such conservation of energy makes sense. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Cheshire Cat said:

If man was to follow nature, then he should avoid standing still.

 

Trees, though.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Aetherous said:

 

Trees, though.

 

:)

I like seated meditation because it's something I feel I could have stumbled across by myself as it feels nice to do. I've always seen standing as something I'd never have come up with myself, and like Cheshire Cat says, not something you come across in normal life.


 

I was reading something somewhere that suggested that because evolutionally we’ve only learnt to stand up fairly recently, the posterial muscles we should be using for this haven’t caught up and developed as they should yet. A standing practice strengthens them and gives you that ‘evolutionary edge’, kind of.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 authors of this books

  • are not real masters and so they don't know what they are writing about (highly probable)

>>westerners are not

  • they try to keep a secret in plain sight, so that only the "worthy ones" will understand ... but dude, we have the year 2018 and the internet

>>The Internet Is for Cats - TV Tropes

tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheInternetIsForCats

"A phone this powerful can do almost anything, so now we can fill the internet with even more cats!" 

2018 is actually a liability, not an advantage

there is no secrets, its all up to u, either u get it or u dont

  • maybe it's a "cultural thing" to not tell everything to westerners (I cannot change my birth place, it was purely out of my control)

>>the race does not matter. Either u r cut out for this, or u r not

  • they don't teach the important stuff in books, but you need to buy them a beer and then they will teach you the secret (masters are humans after all!)

>>yes, they do.

a beer is a start. except u gotta find him first

no they are not. if they are just humans,  so you r u, then what is there to learn?

  • or maybe they really thought that we would understand ... and so they overestimated our intelligence.

>> there is no we. there r those who get it - 1%, and there are those who dont-99%.

Edited by Taoist Texts
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Taoist Texts said:

 authors of this books

  • are not real masters and so they don't know what they are writing about (highly probable)

>>westerners are not

  • they try to keep a secret in plain sight, so that only the "worthy ones" will understand ... but dude, we have the year 2018 and the internet

>>The Internet Is for Cats - TV Tropes

tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheInternetIsForCats

"A phone this powerful can do almost anything, so now we can fill the internet with even more cats!" 

2018 is actually a liability, not an advantage

there is no secrets, its all up to u, either u get it or u dont

  • maybe it's a "cultural thing" to not tell everything to westerners (I cannot change my birth place, it was purely out of my control)

>>the race does not matter. Either u r cut out for this, or u r not

  • they don't teach the important stuff in books, but you need to buy them a beer and then they will teach you the secret (masters are humans after all!)

>>yes, they do.

a beer is a start. except u gotta find him first

no they are not. if they are just humans,  so you r u, then what is there to learn?

 

Not sure what I'm supposed to get from that.. other then you're pro-beer (so am I).  Do you have any opinions on ZZ?   Do you do any standing?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think one major factor is that ZZ seems much harder to learn properly without the personal guidance of a teacher than moving or sitting practices. My experience is limited for precisely this reason, but I've found that it's effectiveness and comfort relies on having a teacher to first initially show you exactly how to stand so that the body can hold itself comfortably, and then regularly physically adjust your practice to account for when you lose your stance due to poor posture, muscular tension or other issues. A book can't tell you that you're leaning forward a couple cm too far, or grab your hip and swing it forward slightly so it aligns properly over your leg or put a hand on your shoulders and tell you to relax them because they're tight.

 

Of course these things matter in moving and sitting practices as well, but there seems to be more margin for error and, especially in moving practice, a certain degree of self correction built in, whereas my (again, limited) experience is that a regular ZZ practice requires a lot more precision to yield any benefits, and is more likely to cause or enhance pre-existing structural problems without this kind of precise guidance.

 

Edited by Aeran

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, thelerner said:

Not sure what I'm supposed to get from that.. other then you're pro-beer (so am I).  Do you have any opinions on ZZ?   Do you do any standing?

 

Opinions about ZZ? I won't stand for it. Makes me dumb as a post... or is that subtly out of order?

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I  am  certainly in favor of incorporating  ZZ  in  health practice.   I have done TCC  since 1976.   Ba Duan Jin since 1981 and Flying PHoenix since 2011.  In my own class we start and end w ZZ as I was taught in first classes of TCC.  My experience is that these are very complementary practices.   There is a part of  spirit and health that  movement seems to move activate and accumulate qi more that the pure ZZ.   However,  incorporating periods of ZZ  which are not always of the same duration or frequency,  adds significantly to my sense of spiritual growth and to the intensity of feeling qi in the practices which involve movement.   The twin cores of practice are TCC which i teach and FLying Phoenix standing long form .... the capstone exercise of the family of FP qi gong according to Sifu Terry Dunn and which i experience to be true.

At the heart of all these practices is the breath.  Attention to breath in all exercises is fundamental to progress.   Awareness of both the external breathing rhythm and frequency per unit time should provide energy and health benefits.  And awareness of the internal whole body breath.. that is  the cellular level of respiration leads to deeper benefits.   Over the years my breath rate durring practice has become slower even in intense practice 2 breaths per minute is common.  My heart rate has slowed from the mid 70's  relaxed to mid 50's.  

So my summary is  ZZ is an important part of practice for me sometimes one hour per session tho most often half hour total for a 90 min gong.   And periods of shorter duration varying over weeks or months.

 

peace and good practice to all  beings

 

ridingtheox

 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, thelerner said:

Not sure what I'm supposed to get from that..

 

>you and me both) The OP was twofold: books/secrecy-ZZ. I reacted to the former,  it being my hobby horse, you guys are pragmatists - to the latter

 

other then you're pro-beer (so am I). 

 

>well, there is craft  and there is a jack and a beer back ...

 

Do you have any opinions on ZZ?  

 

>tons. ZZ is a posture, it is not an exercise per se. the exercise is happening inside. Since most ppl do not know what that is, they get frustrated or hurt themselves and quit.

 

Do you do any standing?

> used to do more. Now its 30-40 mins tops, couple of times per week

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 23/2/2018 at 0:58 AM, thelerner said:

While ZZ doesn't come all that natural to me, I get the feeling animals do it quite a bit.  Specially the hunters.  When you don't know when your meal is coming, such conservation of energy makes sense. 

 

Snakes, insects and reptiles in general perform the effortless stand... I've heard that even horses may sleep standing.

 

But our genetic family of sexually addicted apes don't. It's unnatural.

 

To imitate a tree is as unnatural as imitating waterfalls and jumping down the cliff or imitating mushrooms and living in the dirt.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ZZ is top. The first posture taught.

 

Something so simple, all gates open, meridians cleaned, body is relaxed and conditioned at the same time who would have ever thought.

 

Travel the world, learn many things. The thing not forgot is how it all begins. With a strong foundation heaven is reached while standing on earth. (or post) For those too impatient to wait for heaven here is the thing..... practice everyday

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Cheshire Cat said:

 

Snakes, insects and reptiles in general perform the effortless stand... I've heard that even horses may sleep standing.

 

But our genetic family of sexually addicted apes don't. It's unnatural.

 

To imitate a tree is as unnatural as imitating waterfalls and jumping down the cliff or imitating mushrooms and living in the dirt.

 

 

 

 

It is unnatural? have a look:

 

baboons meditating.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is stillness that is important, not the pose so much. Stillness allows for connective tissue to get activated independently from muscles and this is what generates qi. I have watched a lot of documentaries recently and I am amazed at how much stillness is embedded in animal kingdom.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/24/2018 at 5:18 AM, Cheshire Cat said:

 

Snakes, insects and reptiles in general perform the effortless stand... I've heard that even horses may sleep standing.

 

But our genetic family of sexually addicted apes don't. It's unnatural.

 

To imitate a tree is as unnatural as imitating waterfalls and jumping down the cliff or imitating mushrooms and living in the dirt.

 

 

You may have a point there, still I've witnessed the sexually addicted apes in my family staying still and staring off into space quite a bit. 

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why standing still and not swaying? Standing for too long is harmful. I've used a standing desk for 10 hours straight and the pain is just awful. As a teen I worked as a cashier standing all day, another dose of the ouchy.

 

My theory is that our bodies are meant for motion. I do need to.incorporate more standing work, lately I've been cultivating while walking or standing while moving my hands and swaying. It seems like pure standing might be great for dissolving into the void. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Mikey_Power_Up said:

Why standing still and not swaying? Standing for too long is harmful. I've used a standing desk for 10 hours straight and the pain is just awful. As a teen I worked as a cashier standing all day, another dose of the ouchy.

 

My theory is that our bodies are meant for motion. I do need to.incorporate more standing work, lately I've been cultivating while walking or standing while moving my hands and swaying. It seems like pure standing might be great for dissolving into the void. 


Yes, but lets be honest 10 hours is an excess and naturally harmful. No need to tell me I saw what it did to my mum. :D ZZ done in small portions is a blessing. You can do one or two or four sessions of five minute ZZ and it is great.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, if we can do something, it is natural...if we overdo it, that's not natural.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ZZ is an important part of my teaching tjq  and qc  we begin  class every day  w  ZZ  and return to ZZ to close  ... the absolute,  before the beginning  essential  as breath  as heart beat ...  from time to time I personally do standing for up to 20 min  and very occasionally 45 to 1 hour ..

peace to all beings 

hold all being in the Light

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites