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Zhineng Practitioners - Three Centers Merge vs. Other Zhan Zhuang

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How does Dr. Pang's Zhan Zhuang differ from Master Lam Kam Chuen's Zhan Zhuang? What difference does turning the toes inward make? My IT band is way to tight for that. Master Lam discourages the visualization of moving energy, but in 3 Centers one is to visualize energy entering through the head, hands, and feet then going into the lower dan tien.

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Master Lam's lineage is Yiquan and is the same way I was taught. 

Feet parallel, shoulder width, pointing straight ahead. That's obviously in the wuji and other health postures. 

There is absolutely NO focus on qi or dantiens. It's purely body mechanics, physics, posture alignments and relaxation visualizations. 

The toes inward posture reminds me of wing chun. A lot of stress is put on the knee joint which could have long term consequences.

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I don't know about zhineng qigong, but there are a few different ways that I think about this...

1) The toes tend to have energy or light beaming in and out of them similar to the fingers, so the direction that the beams point cause a different effect at that level of the body. The toes are at the lowest level of the body, dealing with our grounding and connection to earth, and the beams are pointing inward rather than being pointed parallel forward, or outward. In contrast to those other two types, the beams cross each other when pointed inward...potentially creating a kind of closed loop of energy. So I tend to think this posture has more of a closing off effect on our physical energy, and also closes off our connection to the earth to some extent...versus if we stand with toes pointed out, we're more open to the outer world and energy is more able to connect our legs and feet with the earth.

2) The symbolism of being pigeon toed has some impact on the effect. It makes us less stable...physically, and also metaphorically. On a positive side, we could say that it's training us to become more capable of dealing with instability, aka, working on our balance, by making us deal with being imbalanced. On the other hand, toes pointed out seems to me to cultivate more confidence, capability of reacting through movement, etc.

 

3) The stretches on various fascia and muscles, as well as the contractions which are caused in the muscle, has some effect. I've heard one teaching say that this posture stretches open the fascia of the sacrum and lower lumbar in the back, and so it tends to cause more of a du mai opening with yang qi rising effect.

For zhan zhuang, depends on what your personal teacher says if you have one...but I tend to think that the standing posture should be pain free. We want qi to flow, not to get stuck, and we don't want to injure ourselves with something so harmless as standing upright. So for me, if I am practicing standing qigong, if there is a pain I adjust the posture to something that works better.

This is not to say the pigeon toed type of stance is necessarily so bad that it's forbidden. Every different thing we do has a different effect, and sometimes we want the different effect to happen for some reason. For instance, if someone was doing a method that involved internal work, which required not being so connected to the outside environment, then maybe turning the toes inward could help them with that. If the practice was about raising the yang, maybe if the person was trying to transmute qi physically, then they could do this so that the du mai would be stretched open a little more. If it was someone who was already over confident in life, they could experience feeling a bit more unstable and insecure by going pigeon toed, for the sake of balance...some people are too confident, loud, positive, outgoing, scattered by being connected to outer things, etc. So sometimes if you know what you're doing, it can be good to do different methods that cultivate something you need.

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18 hours ago, Aetherous said:

1) The toes tend to have energy or light beaming in and out of them similar to the fingers, so the direction that the beams point cause a different effect at that level of the body. The toes are at the lowest level of the body, dealing with our grounding and connection to earth, and the beams are pointing inward rather than being pointed parallel forward, or outward. In contrast to those other two types, the beams cross each other when pointed inward...potentially creating a kind of closed loop of energy. So I tend to think this posture has more of a closing off effect on our physical energy, and also closes off our connection to the earth to some extent...versus if we stand with toes pointed out, we're more open to the outer world and energy is more able to connect our legs and feet with the earth.

 

I think you may be onto something with this. In 'Lift Qi Up, Pour Qi Down' the purpose is to gather chi from a distance in all directions and bring it into yourself to all 3 dan tiens. So, in '3 Centers Merge' the concept may be similar - visualize chi entering through the head, hands, and feet and retain it in the lower dan tien. So with the toes pointing inward you keep the chi from escaping.

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On 2019-03-20 at 9:33 PM, Aetherous said:

So I tend to think this posture has more of a closing off effect on our physical energy, and also closes off our connection to the earth to some extent...

It is supposed to help you to draw more energy from Earth. 

On 2019-03-20 at 9:33 PM, Aetherous said:

 

3) The stretches on various fascia and muscles, as well as the contractions which are caused in the muscle, has some effect. I've heard one teaching say that this posture stretches open the fascia of the sacrum and lower lumbar in the back, and so it tends to cause more of a du mai opening with yang qi rising effect.

You create a counter-twist in your legs, which would result in the above and more. 

Done proper, it helps open up stuff. 

Done improper, bye bye knees. ūüėĀ¬†

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On 20/3/2019 at 8:46 PM, escott said:

How does Dr. Pang's Zhan Zhuang differ from Master Lam Kam Chuen's Zhan Zhuang?

No idea. Each system has it's own concepts of ZZ. LKC's way suggests not visualising energy because it can cause qi deviations.

I am not questioning Dr.Pang's system because i do not know details.

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6 hours ago, Mudfoot said:

It is supposed to help you to draw more energy from Earth. 

You create a counter-twist in your legs, which would result in the above and more. 

Done proper, it helps open up stuff. 

Done improper, bye bye knees. ūüėĀ¬†

 

I was experimenting with the stance while taking a standing break at the office. I noticed that while wearing dress shoes with an elevated heel that it was easier. So, I've started doing calf stretching. I mainly do a stretch where I stand straight up and hang my heel from a step or a board. There are actual calf stretcher devices made for this kind of stretch. I used one when I got PT for a back injury years ago. Evidently it stretches the fascia all the way up to the back doing it this way. The typical calf stretch with the legs split and leg extended behind does not do this.

 

Can you point to resources that provide details for getting the stance correct so that I don't wreck my knees?

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1 minute ago, escott said:

 

Can you point to resources that provide details for getting the stance correct so that I don't wreck my knees?

You will not like the answer. 

 

It is in the line of "find a teacher". 

Sorry. 

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On 3/25/2019 at 9:32 AM, Mudfoot said:

"find a teacher".

 

I'm having a hard time finding Zhineng/Chilel/Wisdom Healing teachers or practitioners in the U.S. My only option seems to be to get on a plane an attend a workshop.

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On 3/20/2019 at 3:17 PM, lifeforce said:

Master Lam's lineage is Yiquan and is the same way I was taught. 

Feet parallel, shoulder width, pointing straight ahead. That's obviously in the wuji and other health postures. 

There is absolutely NO focus on qi or dantiens. It's purely body mechanics, physics, posture alignments and relaxation visualizations. 

The toes inward posture reminds me of wing chun. A lot of stress is put on the knee joint which could have long term consequences.

 

After doing Zhan Zhuang Zhineng style with Three Centers Merge for a few days I might have some insight now. I read up on Yiquan Zhan Zhuang and it seems like it's purpose is to create a steel wrapped in cotton body. 3 Centers seems more like a meditation and is not meant to be an internal martial art. Sinking down with toes pointed in seems more supportive and requires less work from stabilizer muscles. One other observation, the time seems to pass more quickly when I do 3 Centers Merge.

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On 3/26/2019 at 1:11 PM, escott said:

 

I'm having a hard time finding Zhineng/Chilel/Wisdom Healing teachers or practitioners in the U.S. My only option seems to be to get on a plane an attend a workshop.

Wisdom healing is in New Mexico, and Chilel is in California.

 

Some of the Chilel masters I think are very accommodating, and if you reached out I think they would be happy to respond. Mingtong Gu also seems like a great guy.

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39 minutes ago, JohnC said:

Wisdom healing is in New Mexico, and Chilel is in California.

 

Some of the Chilel masters I think are very accommodating, and if you reached out I think they would be happy to respond. Mingtong Gu also seems like a great guy.

 

Yep, all out west. I'm in Pittsburgh.

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1 hour ago, escott said:

 

After doing Zhan Zhuang Zhineng style with Three Centers Merge for a few days I might have some insight now. I read up on Yiquan Zhan Zhuang and it seems like it's purpose is to create a steel wrapped in cotton body. 3 Centers seems more like a meditation and is not meant to be an internal martial art. Sinking down with toes pointed in seems more supportive and requires less work from stabilizer muscles. One other observation, the time seems to pass more quickly when I do 3 Centers Merge.

 

From what I've seen Zhineng looks to be a very efficient system. 

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8 minutes ago, lifeforce said:

 

From what I've seen Zhineng looks to be a very efficient system. 

 

Yes, after doing my research that's why I selected it. I'm an engineer so I have a mindset that always looks for the most efficient solution. I'm married with 2 kids, too. So, I don't have a lot of time. I do weight workouts and do a lot of compound movements, once again, to be efficient. I have to do my qigong at 11 at night after everyone goes to bed. It's the only time I can get to myself.

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15 minutes ago, escott said:

 

Yes, after doing my research that's why I selected it. I'm an engineer so I have a mindset that always looks for the most efficient solution. I'm married with 2 kids, too. So, I don't have a lot of time. I do weight workouts and do a lot of compound movements, once again, to be efficient. I have to do my qigong at 11 at night after everyone goes to bed. It's the only time I can get to myself.

 

Tell me about it !

When I first started on the path we didn't have any kids, but shortly after, when we had our first son, I had to tweak everything. From timing to quantity. At the time both my wife and I practiced martial arts several times a week at a club. When she became pregnant we both stopped, never to return. I missed it a little, but substituted my external martial art practice, first with qigong, and then slowly adding xingyi and yiquan. My health and strength improved considerably, and has stayed at that level over 20 years later. I found my 'sweet spot', practice wise on a morning, before the world was awake, at 5AM. It has remained that way to this day.

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1 hour ago, lifeforce said:

 

I found my 'sweet spot', practice wise on a morning, before the world was awake, at 5AM. It has remained that way to this day.

Same here. 

I practice before the family is up in the morning, and after the kids have fallen asleep in the evening. 

IMA in the morning, standing in the evening. Works fine. 

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Problem with all these ideas is they are contrary to ZZ.   ZZ allows the Heaven Earth energies to pour straight through the body, and you enter a fully natural state or surrender flowing down into the source, ultimately.

That is unless you start doing things.   Standing in these postures you can do a million practices.

As for the Dantiens, the standard 5 arm postures for health or 8 postures for martial ( from Mark Cohen's or LKCs books) include the 3 dantiens so there is some development there but it's not the main thing.

 

If you haven't got a lot of time I would simplify and just do two.

ZZ in the 5 postures that LKC recommends and a moving practice of your choice.

You can even do the 6 healing sounds whilst standing at the beginning.

But that's just me.

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19 hours ago, rideforever said:

Problem with all these ideas is they are contrary to ZZ.   ZZ allows the Heaven Earth energies to pour straight through the body, and you enter a fully natural state or surrender flowing down into the source, ultimately.

That is unless you start doing things.   Standing in these postures you can do a million practices.

As for the Dantiens, the standard 5 arm postures for health or 8 postures for martial ( from Mark Cohen's or LKCs books) include the 3 dantiens so there is some development there but it's not the main thing.

 

If you haven't got a lot of time I would simplify and just do two.

ZZ in the 5 postures that LKC recommends and a moving practice of your choice.

You can even do the 6 healing sounds whilst standing at the beginning.

But that's just me.

Here is what I learned about the leg positioning from Dr. Pang's book:

 

Step ¬†qi: ¬†without moving ¬†your ¬†heels, open ¬†the ¬†tips ¬†of ¬†your feet out ¬†90¬į. ¬†Move ¬†your weight to the tips of the feet, open the heels out along the ground 90¬į. This movement makes qi go through the yang channels of the outer legs, while the three inner channels are ¬†relaxed. ¬†This ¬†makes ¬†yang ¬†channels‚Äô qi ¬†flow ¬†down ¬†and yin channels‚Äô ¬†qi ¬†flow ¬†up. ¬†In the old days this movement was called stepping qi.

 

So, his methodology is to facilitate the flow of Qi. Additionally, during 3 Centers Merge the mind is to visualize Qi entering through the feet, hands, and head and gathering into the lower dantien.

 

With that said, though, I still do ZZ LKC style. The Zhineng way is too hard on my knees still. I do 2 poses, wuji and tree hugger.

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Posted (edited)

Just tried it, seems useful for me, as my yang channels are a little timid.   But I only do a small inward turning, certainly not the 45 degrees they are doing.   I know plenty of people who have done heavy knee practices like full lotus ... it doesn't end well.   Some of these guys have to sit in chairs now rather than sitting on the floor !!!

Anyway thank, useful for me.

3 centres merge is not ... from what I understand ... 3 dantiens merge, actually  it is feet - dantien - crownchakra.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for this, it is very good for me, as my yang leg channels are blocked and this is revolutionary for me.

The way I do it, I am doing Mark Cohen's 5 health postures mostly, and I do 2 mins left 2 right 2 centre for each.  The left and right positions are done with parallel feet.

When I do the centre posture then I am now turning the toes in and heels out, so I do it in 1/3 of my positions.   A lot less turned in than she is doing in the video, but enough for the yang to flood down, and the heels also open up.   Then knees can open up very nicely as well, and the sacrum and lower back feel very good, and all of this is really helping my sitting posture in meditation, with the lower spine feeling like a rising cobra with the sacrum fuller and released and open..

And I can feel the inside and outside of the legs  and arms, yin-yang, clearly.

Mark Cohen has this posture in his book and encourages using only for limited amount of time, and warns of overdoing toe in postures at the beginning.

Thanks again.

 

Edited by rideforever
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Posted (edited)

Also am an engineer, engineers should stick together.

Anyway, I have just started to add in some Yiquan Shili into my Zhan Zhuang and find it very naturally coming to me, I feel the movement of the silent body of the vital force, it's like a hidden dimension, and I can quite see some action-at-a-distance powers coming quite straightforwardly from it.   Nobody nobody practices it.

I do ZZ then Shili and some times I do Chen Silk Reeling, all as a warmup for LiuHeBaFa which is basically Shili in action, and I can easily relate every single LHBF movement to a Shili or vital force movement, from which I can decode the original intention behind the LHBF movements.

It's all ... too easy.

I have also begun a little bit of Scott Meredith's Xing Yi which teaches the direct energetic training of XingYi which seems to actually work, and is another hidden energy triggered through particular body alignment, and is good fun, but not really my interest.   And also I have been doing some of a Dragon Bagua Form, both of which contribute to a more accurate energetic presentation of the LHBF form, which I am funnelling everything into, because it's cool.  

Edited by rideforever

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On 6/3/2019 at 7:58 AM, escott said:

Here is what I learned about the leg positioning from Dr. Pang's book:

 

Step ¬†qi: ¬†without moving ¬†your ¬†heels, open ¬†the ¬†tips ¬†of ¬†your feet out ¬†90¬į. ¬†Move ¬†your weight to the tips of the feet, open the heels out along the ground 90¬į. This movement makes qi go through the yang channels of the outer legs, while the three inner channels are ¬†relaxed. ¬†This ¬†makes ¬†yang ¬†channels‚Äô qi ¬†flow ¬†down ¬†and yin channels‚Äô ¬†qi ¬†flow ¬†up. ¬†In the old days this movement was called stepping qi.

 

So, his methodology is to facilitate the flow of Qi. Additionally, during 3 Centers Merge the mind is to visualize Qi entering through the feet, hands, and head and gathering into the lower dantien.

 

With that said, though, I still do ZZ LKC style. The Zhineng way is too hard on my knees still. I do 2 poses, wuji and tree hugger.

Where can I find Dr. Pang's book?

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On 6/11/2019 at 2:41 PM, escott said:

@rideforever I'm going to get some training in Yiquan ZZ (as well as other things) in a few weeks. I'm pretty stoked about it.

 

https://pittsburgh.shambhala.org/program-details/?id=402066

 

 

BTW, here is a link to the whole program. It looks like Taoist alchemy.

 

https://www.limitlessgate.com/qigong/taoist-qigong-path/

 

 

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