Zhan Zhuang training (Standing Exercise) is a significant
component of the internal martial arts. The objective of Zhan Zhuang training is
to improve the condition of the physiological organs. As a result of the
Solo Drill one will
develop stronger bones, better coordination in the contraction and extension of
all muscle groups so that all movements will be powerful, improved oxygen
utilization so that one will not get tired, and improved nervous system function
so that all movements come from one center and all martial responses become
In Zhan Zhuang training, a correct position is when the weight is equally
balanced on two feet to form a comfortable and relaxing position, an opportunity
for the intent to appear and work. Zhan Zhuang works by applying the concept of
intent over physical force to improve all the physiological organs and their
functions. Today, there are many publications confirming that one's mental
condition is directly affected by the physical body. In Zhan Zhuang training, we
use the mind to train the body.
Although one is standing in a physically still position, the intent is
working very hard inside the body to harmonize all physiological organs with
this particular position so that all parts of the body are contributing to
maintain this static position. There are three steps of Zhan Zhuang training
associated with martial art's high demand: recognization, harmony, and
In this step, the intent is focused on positioning
the body correctly to maximize the training of physical and mental conditions.
Most people, standing still for only one minute will begin to experience
difficulty, such as physical discomfort, mental doubts and shortness of breathe.
When confronted with these situations, a practitioner should begin to develop
different forms of intent to reduce physical pain, gain confidence and
enjoyment. One common method of focusing and eliminating difficulties is to
imagine standing in front of a tranquil environment. When one can stand in a
position for 15 minutes without any problem, one can go onto the next step.
In this step, the intent is focused on the body's
togetherness by utilizing the 'method of opposition'. In any martial strike, a
powerful strike is always associated with the whole body. The better the
unification, the more power there is the strike and less possibility of physical
injury to the practitioner. In this step of Zhan Zhuang a practitioner imagines
every part of his body's muscles relaxing and stretching so that they end up
with forces pulling from top and bottom, left and right, front and back, in all
directions. When one can stand in a position for 10 minutes without tiring, one
can go onto the next step.
In this step, the intent is focused on the goal of
martial application. One of the characteristics of martial arts is that they are
dynamic. Therefore, martial arts techniques are always associated with physical
movement in order to be effective. A practitioner should imagine an opponent is
attacking from a certain direction and that one must mobilize the whole body
from inside and outside, top and bottom, left and right, front and back to
neutralize the threat. Since it is difficult to coordinate physical movement and
intent's creativity, it is better control if one begins with a slower movement
and simpler concept of intent.
Later on, when one is practicing Zhan Zhuang with a stronger intent and
quicker physical motions, one will witness more power developed by discharging
through physical movement. There are not many martial art styles that apply this
bare handed Fa Jing method to developed power. One reason is that if the
movement is not executed properly, one will end up with physical injury.
Therefore, this method is not recommended for beginners, it is recommended for
more experienced practitioners. A better method the beginner is to use a staff
The result of this Zhan Zhuang training is great. However, one should not
fool himself. There is no shortcut, begin with one step as a time. One must
master the first step before engaging in the second and third steps. A tall
building begins with a strong foundation.