DEVELOPING INTERNAL FORCE
My instructor also tells me that this would take 3 to 4 years. I wonder why by just standing, it can generate chi and internal force, and why it must take 3 to 4 years?
To the uninitiated it is just standing, but to the initiated it is more than just standing.
Every person is made up of three components, namely “jing”, “qi” and “shen”, which mean physical body, energy and mind. In a zhan zhuang exercise, the initiated practitioner assumes just one physical position so that he can fully focus on energy and mind. If he performs many physical movements, he may be distracted from energy and mind to pay attention to the physical body.
But he does not merely assume any physical position, he assumes a position that is best suited for his purpose. Hence, there are different stances for zhan zhuang for different specific purposes.
Once he has taken care of his physical position and does not have to worry about it any more, he focuses on his mind. He assumes one of two mental positions. He focuses his mind on one point, or he focuses his mind on nothing. In Zen terms, he attains one-mind or no-mind.
After having taken care of his mind, he concentrates on energy training. He does one of two tasks. He lets his energy flow or he lets his energy accumulate. This is accomplished naturally. If his energy flows, he lets it flow. If it accumulates, he lets it accumulate. Either task will generate tremendous internal force.
In theory the principles and workings of zhan zhuang are simple. In practice they are most difficult. Most people cannot remain motionlessly relaxed in one position. They tense their muscles. As a result, instead of attaining a one-pointed mind or no mind, their mind becomes stressful, and instead of letting their energy flow or accumulate, their energy becomes locked up in their tensed muscles. So, instead of generating tremendous internal force and peace of mind, they have harmful side-effects.
Many students do not feel any internal force even though they may have practised for a few years. This is because they have never got past the first requirement of attaining a motionlessly relaxed position. The luckier ones may have some feeling of internal force inside them after three to four years.
Nevertheless, I am proud and happy to say that practically everyone who attended my intensive courses in Malaysia — in chi kung, Shaolin Kungfu or Taijiquan — discernibly felt internal force on the very first day of their zhan zhuang training! Then, why most other people need three to four years?
It is because these other people, and possibly their teachers, do not understand the principles behind zhan zhuang. Even if they understood, they lack the skills and appropriate effort to put the principles into practice. It needs great skills, for example, for a teacher to get his students relaxed, and great effort for the students to remain motionlessly relaxed for a period of time. Hence, if they force themselves into a tensed position with an agitated mind, they may train for a few years but not only they have no internal force, they may sustain serious harmful effects.
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