BA DUAN JIN AND ZHAN ZHUANG
I have been practising the Ba Duan Jin exercises and Zhan Zhuang for the last 12 months and have experienced an improvement in my health (already good) and an increase in my energy. As there are no high level teachers in my area I prefer to practice every day on my own and so far I have not experienced any deviations.
Ba Duan Jin and Zhang Zhang are wonderful chi kung exercises. By themselves, without having to learn anything else, you can attain very high levels. Not only you can have good health, vitality and longevity, you may also attain spiritual fulfillment. If you are a martial artist, zhan zhang can bring you tremendous internal force. It is simply amazing that by merely standing still at a chosen posture for some time over a long period, you can be very powerful — most people do not believe this is possible.
But if you train on your own, you must pay attention to the following points. Practice Ba Duan Jin, or the Eight Pieces of Brocade, daily for at least six months before you attempt Zhan Zhang, or Stance Standing. You have to make sure you do not have any major energy blockage before starting Zhan Zhang, and Ba Duan Jin can look after that, provided, of course, you practice correctly.
Zhan zhang is a powerful exercise, and is best done under supervision. Those who practice wrongly and still persist on, may vomit blood, have deformed bodily structure, or insidiously damaged internal organs. There are usually warning signs for wrong practice, such as discomfort, pain and nervousness. Whenever you have such warning signs, stop your zhan zhang and revert back to Ba Duan Jin. Resume zhan zhuang training only when the warning signs have disappeared.
If you practice zhan zhuang on your own, which is actually not advisable but may be attempted if you are very careful, you have to proceed very slowly; I repeat, very slowly. If someone training with a master takes 6 months to attain certain result, you should aim at that for two years.
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