Zhan Zhuang as Fight Training

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

Zhan Zhuang as Fight Training

Postby cerebus on Mon May 04, 2009 9:58 pm

Hey everyone. I've been experimenting with various training methodologies lately, and especially been getting further into Zhan Zhuang practice. I read an article recently that had me thinking. This is the beginning of the article:

"In 1939, Wang Xiangzhai issued a public challenge through a Beijing newspaper. His objective: to test and prove the new martial arts training system of Yiquan, a system that placed standing meditation (zhan zhuang) at its core.

Expert fighters from across China, Japan and even Europe traveled to answer Wang’s challenge. None could beat him or his senior students. His standing meditation training produced superior results in a shorter time period, when compared to methods used in boxing, Judo, and other styles of Kung Fu.

Considering the proven value of standing meditation, surprisingly few people undertake the practice today. Why is this? As Wang himself noted, the exercise is plagued by logical contradictions. Understandably, but unfortunately, martial artists reject the exercise because it cannot possibly work."


My question is, how effective IS zhan zhuang for fight training? I have a former instructor Hsing-I & Bagua who had told me that the best he had ever done in full-contact matches was when he concentrated almost solely on zhan zhuang (specifically 4 posts and San Ti) for a couple of months prior to fighting.

So, if a person is already fairly well trained in fighting (in this instance I'm referring to fighting in a competetive match), how well can almost exclusive training in zhan zhuang prepare him (or her) for their fight?
Last edited by cerebus on Mon May 04, 2009 10:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Zhan Zhuang as Fight Training

Postby johnwang on Mon May 04, 2009 10:16 pm

Zhan Zhuang is also called 太保(Tai Bao). In Chinese it means a high position governor and his job is to help the young prince to develop into the future emperor.

武王去世,成王年少,召公任太保,以长老身份监护。周公东征胜利,建东都成周(今河南洛阳),成王到成周开始亲理政务,召公为此作长篇教导,即《尚书·召诰》。 ...明史载“太师、太傅、太保为三公,正一品...掌佐天子,理阴阳,经邦弘化,其职至重...

Western Zhou Dynasty before the purchase, custody and the officer辅弼monarch. 武王去世,成王年少,召公任太保,以长老身份监护。 King's death, as young King, call any public Taibao to elder guardianship status. 周公东征胜利,建东都成周(今河南洛阳),成王到成周开始亲理政务,召公为此作长篇教导,即《尚书·召诰》。 Dongzheng victory of the Duke of Zhou, Jian-Dong are into week (Luoyang, Henan Province today), into Wang began the week as the rationale for the pro-government, making a long call to educate the public, that is, "chancery called Letters." 后以陕(今河南三门陕)为分界,“自陕以西,召公主之,自陕而东,周公主之。”(《史记·燕世家》。后召公子孙以太保为氏。春秋后废,汉复置,位次太傅 。历代沿置,多为大官之加衔,并无实职。史载殷王太甲以伊尹为太保,西周成王以召公奭为太保。明史载“太师、太傅、太保为三公,正一品...掌佐天子,理阴阳,经邦弘化,其职至重。” Shaanxi after (now 3 Shaanxi Province) as a dividing line, "from Shaanxi to the west, called Princess, from Shaanxi and East, Princess of weeks." ( "Records of the Historian Yan family." After the call to Taibao for son's Sun . Chunqiu after the repeal, Han rehabilitation home, ranking 太傅. dynasties along the home, most of the increase in official title, there is no real level. History contains a Yin to her for Taibao Yiyin, into the Western Zhou Wang Taibao call for public-seok. History of the Ming set "太师,太傅, Taibao for Three, is a junior in charge of goods ... the Son of Heaven, of the rationale for yin and yang, the弘化state, the level to severe."

Zhan Zhuang help you to develop combat ability but it's not combat ability by itself.
Last edited by johnwang on Mon May 04, 2009 10:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Zhan Zhuang as Fight Training

Postby Sprint on Tue May 05, 2009 12:06 am

cerebus wrote:
Considering the proven value of standing meditation, surprisingly few people undertake the practice today. Why is this? As Wang himself noted, the exercise is plagued by logical contradictions. Understandably, but unfortunately, martial artists reject the exercise because it cannot possibly work."[/i]


Maybe it's because very few people actually understand how to do it. I've not read one article anywhere that discusses it in any depth or demonstrates that the author really knows what they are talking about. I should say that it is also hard to explain in writing, but not impossible. That being said, plenty teach it and plenty practice it without the slightest clue as to the what and the why. I've seen teachers add it in to their program just to show that their club is doing zhan zhuang. So as usual it's about money in a lot of cases. It gets taught very badly, no-one benefits and then students say why bother?

cerebus wrote:My question is, how effective IS zhan zhuang for fight training? I have a former instructor Hsing-I & Bagua who had told me that the best he had ever done in full-contact matches was when he concentrated almost solely on zhan zhuang (specifically 4 posts and San Ti) for a couple of months prior to fighting.


Zhan zhuang will help your fighting quite a bit if you are already experienced as a fighter. But to view it as an add on like this is the wrong way to look at it, even though it would help. If you really want to understand the power of zhan zhuang then learn yiquan. It's the only system that I know of that has zhan zhuang at it's core.

cerebus wrote:So, if a person is already fairly well trained in fighting (in this instance I'm referring to fighting in a competetive match), how well can almost exclusive training in zhan zhuang prepare him (or her) for their fight?


It can't work miracles. It will help you see things faster and move faster. You will move with better balance and spend less time adjusting your balance during the fight. You will see/feel more clearly the physical giveaways that emanate from your opponent as he/she prepares to attack. They will move first but you will arrive before them...But this takes time and effort. Over a couple of months I'd be surprsied if you saw any benefit, unless you knew exactly what you were doing and were puting in at least 4 hours per day. This is just a tiny fraction though of the potential of zhan zhuang. When you link this practice to shili, mocabu etc then the real benefits will show up.
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Re: Zhan Zhuang as Fight Training

Postby Walk the Torque on Tue May 05, 2009 12:49 am

Sprint wrote:
cerebus wrote:
It can't work miracles. It will help you see things faster and move faster. You will move with better balance and spend less time adjusting your balance during the fight. You will see/feel more clearly the physical giveaways that emanate from your opponent as he/she prepares to attack. They will move first but you will arrive before them...But this takes time and effort. Over a couple of months I'd be surprsied if you saw any benefit, unless you knew exactly what you were doing and were puting in at least 4 hours per day. This is just a tiny fraction though of the potential of zhan zhuang. When you link this practice to shili, mocabu etc then the real benefits will show up.


QFT

Just to add a little to this; the more one practices the less easy it is for someone to take you down.
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Re: Zhan Zhuang as Fight Training

Postby dacheng on Tue May 05, 2009 1:43 am

cerebus wrote:Hey everyone. I've been experimenting with various training methodologies lately, and especially been getting further into Zhan Zhuang practice. I read an article recently that had me thinking. This is the beginning of the article:

"In 1939, Wang Xiangzhai issued a public challenge through a Beijing newspaper. His objective: to test and prove the new martial arts training system of Yiquan, a system that placed standing meditation (zhan zhuang) at its core.

Expert fighters from across China, Japan and even Europe traveled to answer Wang’s challenge. None could beat him or his senior students. His standing meditation training produced superior results in a shorter time period, when compared to methods used in boxing, Judo, and other styles of Kung Fu.

Considering the proven value of standing meditation, surprisingly few people undertake the practice today. Why is this? As Wang himself noted, the exercise is plagued by logical contradictions. Understandably, but unfortunately, martial artists reject the exercise because it cannot possibly work."


My question is, how effective IS zhan zhuang for fight training? I have a former instructor Hsing-I & Bagua who had told me that the best he had ever done in full-contact matches was when he concentrated almost solely on zhan zhuang (specifically 4 posts and San Ti) for a couple of months prior to fighting.

So, if a person is already fairly well trained in fighting (in this instance I'm referring to fighting in a competetive match), how well can almost exclusive training in zhan zhuang prepare him (or her) for their fight?


Firstly, what is says in the quotation starting from "In 1939..." is kind of distraction of original message/information. Wang Xiangzhai was teaching yiquan (aka dachengquan), not just zhan zhuang. The results they got were results of practicing whole training system, including all training methods, not just doing zhan zhuang. It included zhan zhuang, moving slowly and fast, pushing hands, fighting training, and also punchbag training, running, pole shaking and more. Whole system.

Also, well, it could be said that zhan zhuang is basis or even core of yiquan, but people then take it to literarly. Zhan zhuang is important, very important in yiquan, it is true that yiquan stresses zhan zhuang more than any other system, but zhan zhuang is only a part of the system.

Just reading some of Wang Xiangzhai's texts is enough to correct the common misunderstanding about yiquan being all about zhan zhuang. For example he says: "Basically zhan zhuang and shi li is the same thing. Zhan zhuang is shortened shi li, and shi li is zhan zhuang extended in space".

Shi li here means the moving practice, including what is now called shi li and fa li. Presently with the term fa li we describe issuing explosive power, and shi li is for those slow movements, but in Wang Xiangzhai's texts there is not such division, and when he says about shi li, actually he is talking about moving practice including both what is now known as shi li and fa li.

Then in other place Wang Xiangzhai wrote: "Zhan zhuang is most basic, but shi li is most important and most difficult" (again shi li here means moving practice - both shi li and fa li). Would anyone after knowing this statement of Wang Xiangzhai still talk about results his students got were all results of just doing zhan zhuang?

This is whole system. When you just do zhan zhuang you don't understand it. You need to learn whole, so you better understand place of zhan zhuang, what it really is in yiquan, and how is related to other training methods and to fighting. Just doing zhan zhuang doesn't bring all this.

So if talking about Wang and his students, and results they got, you should talk about yiquan/dachengquan as a whole system, and not just about zhan zhuang.
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Re: Zhan Zhuang as Fight Training

Postby dacheng on Tue May 05, 2009 2:37 am

Then on the other side, it is fact, that many people who do other martial arts, when they just start additionally doing basic yiquan things like zhan zhuang, they almost immediately see some progress they didn't expect.

I know about such people doing kyokushin karate, and additionally just a bit of yiquan or taikiken. But this little bit seems to be something they lacked in their previous training, so the difference sometimes can be big. For example I have a young student, who is learning yiquan by taking seminars and summer courses. He's been competing in juniors division in kyokushin, now already starting in seniors. They are obligued to take quite thourough physical tests (including testing performance attributes) regularly. After he came to one of intensive courses and then just practiced by himself the things he learned, when he went to next test, everybody was astounded by his increase in reaction speed. Higer than other kyokushin athletes, and much higher than from his previous tests.

Which again doesn't mean that zhan zhuang is something miraculous, but in my opinion rather that others don't put enough attention to some things.
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Re: Zhan Zhuang as Fight Training

Postby neijia_boxer on Tue May 05, 2009 6:22 am

The results they got were results of practicing whole training system, including all training methods, not just doing zhan zhuang. It included zhan zhuang, moving slowly and fast, pushing hands, fighting training, and also punchbag training, running, pole shaking and more. Whole system.


cerebus- good to see your exploring and thinking about new skills and study.

That quote is pretty important if you ask me. i've noticed that in looking at alot of Sanda fighting in China currently the yiquan folks are pretty active still these days and doing well in competition.

On a side note my friend who is crazy about Shaolin training went to Texas and trained with monk Shi Dechang, he came back refined some shaolin forms, his chen taiji, and with some Yiquan drills.

Is there a relationship with Yiquan and shaolin? it seems the shaolin monks are teaching it now, maybe because of effectiveness?
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Re: Zhan Zhuang as Fight Training

Postby Strange on Tue May 05, 2009 8:02 am

"Considering the proven value of standing meditation, surprisingly few people undertake the practice today. Why is this? As Wang himself noted, the exercise is plagued by logical contradictions. Understandably, but unfortunately, martial artists reject the exercise because it cannot possibly work."

WXZ in his later years called himself Old Man of Contradiction; i think maybe a part of his meaning is that the practitioners of yq need to be able embody opposing and contradicting forces

.... and yeah i remember a sig quoting churchill about stumbling upon truth and somehow managing to go on like nothing ever happened

edit: ah its darth rock&roll's sig
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Re: Zhan Zhuang as Fight Training

Postby cerebus on Tue May 05, 2009 9:48 am

Lots of great information and input here. Thanks!
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Re: Zhan Zhuang as Fight Training

Postby jjy5016 on Tue May 05, 2009 10:43 am

Strange wrote:WXZ in his later years called himself Old Man of Contradiction; i think maybe a part of his meaning is that the practitioners of yq need to be able embody opposing and contradicting forces


Edzachary.

Zhan zhuang is all about learning contradictory force. Zheng li ( zhong lik) Zheng li also means all force equal from the center. Both apply to basic zhan zhuang. Won't teach one to fight. Just give some substance to use in the fight.

There are other types of zhuangs that are more yi intense and do not use contradictory forces, well physical ones anyway.
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Re: Zhan Zhuang as Fight Training

Postby Chris McKinley on Tue May 05, 2009 10:49 am

As I've mentioned previously on this topic, I augment my zhan zhuang training with self-hypnosis, a variation on lucid dreaming, diagnostic metaphor, time perception dilation and a few other practices. For me, the difference this practice has made over the years is profound.
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Re: Zhan Zhuang as Fight Training

Postby everything on Tue May 05, 2009 11:01 am

It can't work miracles. It will help you see things faster and move faster. You will move with better balance and spend less time adjusting your balance during the fight. You will see/feel more clearly the physical giveaways that emanate from your opponent as he/she prepares to attack. They will move first but you will arrive before them...But this takes time and effort. Over a couple of months I'd be surprsied if you saw any benefit, unless you knew exactly what you were doing and were puting in at least 4 hours per day. This is just a tiny fraction though of the potential of zhan zhuang. When you link this practice to shili, mocabu etc then the real benefits will show up.


I agree. It has helped my judo game, even as an "add on" instead of from the ground up, and in less than 2 months and 4 hours a day, btw. For a particular sport like judo, you still have to be familiar with the specific techniques, common tactics, etc., but I can only imagine it would help much more in free fighting where you don't have to worry about the restrictions. Otoh, it hasn't helped me in ne waza/bjj, though, at least so far.
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Re: Zhan Zhuang as Fight Training

Postby yusuf on Tue May 05, 2009 11:20 am

jjy5016 wrote:
Strange wrote:WXZ in his later years called himself Old Man of Contradiction; i think maybe a part of his meaning is that the practitioners of yq need to be able embody opposing and contradicting forces


Edzachary.

Zhan zhuang is all about learning contradictory force. Zheng li ( zhong lik) Zheng li also means all force equal from the center. Both apply to basic zhan zhuang. Won't teach one to fight. Just give some substance to use in the fight.

There are other types of zhuangs that are more yi intense and do not use contradictory forces, well physical ones anyway.


hee, opposing forces -woot-
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Re: Zhan Zhuang as Fight Training

Postby Ian on Tue May 05, 2009 12:02 pm

Chris McKinley wrote:As I've mentioned previously on this topic, I augment my zhan zhuang training with self-hypnosis, a variation on lucid dreaming, diagnostic metaphor, time perception dilation and a few other practices. For me, the difference this practice has made over the years is profound.


now you can't expect to post that and not get asked :D

sounds sexy, but... what does it mean?
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Re: Zhan Zhuang as Fight Training

Postby Chris McKinley on Tue May 05, 2009 3:43 pm

Ian,

I'm not throwing that out there for the first time. I have been asked, and have answered, many times. There are at least 2 or 3 threads on this stuff from last year, and a few more from previous years. Also, what does what mean? I'll be happy to give a brief explanation if I understand what exactly you are asking about, although there's probably more detail in previous threads.
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