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#50061 12/30/03 03:49 PM
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th1chsn Offline OP
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Hello, I have been reading the book "The Way of Energy" where it talks about the system of Zhan Zhuang. From the readings it seems to be a very sound system.

Has anyone had any experience with this practice? What are your thoughts about adding the standing meditations in Zhan Zhuang to the SF regimen?

Regards,
Randy


#50062 12/30/03 05:13 PM
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Mixxin ani't fixin!!!!!!

SFG is mighty strong medacine. Don't need help..

Master Lin is truly a genius.. His power and the power of SFG is all you'll ever need...

have a good day
justcappy


#50063 12/31/03 06:21 AM
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Hi,
I am sure it is a good system, as are many others. Complete??? I don't know.. I looked at some web related material that was showing this system. The static posture of 'hugging the tree', for instance, is one of the most common qigong postures, in principle, and is found in many variations, in many systems. It is not exclusive to this system. Aspects of this position are found in SFQ too. Let me just speak of this position. It is good, a very general position, and certainly ok, if one was to do one thing. It does have balance to it, although I was originally shown this as a 'yin' exercise. One becomes aware of the interior space created within the circle, not to disimilar to opening up one's central column, although somewhat moreso , awareness of the space 'around' the body. This circular space is one that becomes familiar, as not yielded, within a tai chi practice/movement. The stance is really irrelevant, in the sense that one can practice that in countless qigong postures. In the arm/hand positon of this hugging the tree, one creates a 'golden circle' with primary points/gates activated around the circle, which in turn creates a sort of 'bridge' to one's qi within the arms, and connected to qi pathways and junction points. It is a somewhat passive posture in the martial sense of building one's bridge, more of a continual support of that concept in practice, usually connected to, or adder too, with 'other', more challenging postures that specifically focus on building a bridge, but the bridge is there. In the healing sense, that interior circle creates warmth and qi flow, and is good for all the internal organs. Spine alignment and crown suspension are in all systems. Breathing varies.. It is not a wonderful 'alternative' great exercise that one needs to do to have a more full qigong program. It is quite inaccurate, acrediting it to a specific system, as it shows up in so many. when I first learned sFQ, I felt reference to this posture, immediately, in the forming of yin and yang. The same internal circular space, the arms with the same roundness. The focus was different , in the sense of how you focus much deeper in the whole vertical core of the position in SFQ, and direct energy back into the internal organs by directing the energy there through the palms, which is only one posibility through this posture, in terms of ones focus and visualization. It offers many specifics, in terms of how one can direct energy, or experience energy flow. "my" preference, which is related to all this, and connected to these basic qigong postures, is the level II active exercises, if one wants to experience a singular powerful postion. More specific in nature, but just as focused, and built on the same horse stance concept as all qigong. Sword fingers and thunderpalms, can be found in other qigong systems too, but I love the whole pkg of SFQ, in how this set of active exercises is balanced, and what the intention is behind the exercise. Not only can you develop power through your stance, standing a long time, standing high, or standing in a deeper stance, just like any system, you develop power for the application of the sword fingers technique, and thunderpalms, for application to healing work. If you are not into healing, self healing or helping others, SFQ may not be a good choice for you. When a static qigong posture is connected to building martial power, its focus is different, simply from the standpoint of the intention behind the system. Master Lin spoke of thunderpalms, for instance, as a Shaolin posture, practiced by monks in a very low horse stance for hours, with (!!!!) a glass of water balanced on each forearm. Now, think about this. Obviously, tremendous power is obtained from this simple posture, by standing for two to four hrs, in this position. Where is one's head at??, in reference to why you are doing it?? What is the intension? In a martial setting, the depth of the stance, or the time stood, creates a powerful stance and ground. In martial arts, it is not easy to move someone with this training, or, not easy to stand in the same space they choose to stand in! The forearms can become like iron, in the sense of how strong the bridge can become holding your arms in the position of thunderpalms. Someone puts their arm out, it is very difficult to move it. All these gained attributes are martial. This is certainly ok,,,,depends on your interest. If I was doing thunderpalms, as a martial artist, my intention and focus would be towards those aspects. A powerful stance, strong bridge/powerful forearms, and something also helpful to developing a palm for striking, but also needing other conditioning, in regards to that specific. Now, from a SFQ standpoint, or, learning qigong in reference to healing, the focus is on channelling universal and spiritual energy, through oneself, and out the palms. If one wants more exercise, in the health sense, not martial in this case, one can lower the stance. As there is an aspect of self healing to the position itself, this is nutured, or focused on, as part of one's intention of doing the position. You could, do an almost identical exercise, with totally different intention, 'and', awareness, within the physical structure or posture of this exercise. One martial, one healing. Health, can result from both approaches. There is a difference, in level of consciousness, regarding one's purpose and awareness. There is a difference in the fact that in level II, you can focus on the middle dan tien. This does not generally happen in a martial qigong system/posture. Those who practice with the middle dan tien, know the difference, between that and sole focus on the lower dan tien , as in most martial qigong systems. Channelling spiritual energy is unique to a healing system, again in the sense of what you are channelling , and where it comes from. There can be a martial source of spiritual energy, but it's source is quite different than what is drawn on in a healing or purely spiritual system. Different frequencies of energy. Aside from all my rambling, my answer to your question is no, you would not benefit by doing these static postures in addition to SFQ. Decide what your interests are, in regards to your intentions, in reference to self healing, healing work, 'or' martial arts. You can do all of the above, but you dilute your accomplishment in these somewhat polarized intentions. The best healers I know, are not martial artists, and vice versa. I have known some martial masters, who are really good 'teachers', of healing systems, or, who for karmic reasons, retired to a healing practice, and were very effective healers. SFQ is a complete system. As a former martial artist, I recognize some of the posture and position within the system, but the intention and purpose, along with the experience, or state of being, is totally different. I can stand low or long, and be practicing SFQ thunderpalms, and gain incredible ability, relative to healing work and spiritual growth/awareness, and, also still gain the benefit of the physical/internal position. when I express myself though, relative to technique, I am going to use thunderpalms to channel and direct healing, universal , or spiritual energy, to help someone/something. this is very different than practicing thunderpalms to enhance my bridge and support developement of my palm strikes. I would go on to say, different energies come in to support different things, if one is so tuned in, the energy that supports healing work is different than what comes in to support martial abilities. Again, as taught in SFQ, it is all energy, not good or bad. My first shift from martial to healing , was an experience of a much bigger and higher source, supporting healing work. I consider it much more powerful, but not power than can be used inappropriately. It would , at some point, leave you high and dry, trying to do something inappropriate with spiritual energy. In the same token, I have found it possible to transform and utilize martial energy, for healing purpose. Rambling again!! Don't mix these exercises in. If you practice SFQ, you don't need them. If you want a deeper physical energy experience, just lengthen the time, or deepen the stance in any static posture or movement. The exercises I saw associated with this system are fine, but not missing pieces to SFQ. I can say, what I saw of this system containing this hugging the tree exercise, that none of what 'I' learned, surrounding this exercise, was mentioned in any way. Although one could do one exercise like that and gain something, I don't see it as a 'complete' system, and I would bet that whatever other exercises they are showing, are still 'part' of something. Hugging the tree, for instance, is like showing someone alot, and nothing at the same time. It all depends on what else... I would address the aspect of why, regarding the intention part. Healer, spiritualist, seeker, martial artist???? Who are you, and what path do you want to take? Jack of all trades, or , master??
One more thought, in support of martial arts, although I no longer choose that involvement. I have seen several cases, where martial arts, or martial qigong, was just what someone needed to facilitate 'their' self healing. In this sense, martial involvement can be very appropriate in the healing sense. I also am not saying that hugging the tree is martial. I don't know, but, I learned it in that context, from a Yang Tai Chi, qigong source, which also seems to be the case with Zhan Zhuang.
love,
gallen

#50064 12/30/03 07:25 PM
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th1chsn Offline OP
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gallen, that was an excellent post. I appreciate your honesty and your insight. You hit on a question that I have been asking myself for quite some time and the reason why I haven't really stuck to any one practice and that is "Why are you doing qigong?"

I am a martial artist but was always drawn to qigong because of the "skills" that can be developed. Spiritual things as well as some "parlor" tricks. The ability to put out a candle with your eyes, send energy over a phone, etc. I remember my sifu put his hand a few inches away from my dan tien and my whole body began to tingle and get warm. The energy moved toward his hand. I couldn't help but think how cool that was and how I wanted to do it too.

That has been a hard thing for me to let go of. But interestingly enought it seems that all these people, even my sifu, went towards the healing road.

Thanks again.


#50065 12/31/03 02:18 AM
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Zhan Zhuang, or Standing Like a Tree, static postures are found in almost every qigong style and martial art in China. An advanced student will stand in one static posture for several hours. There are many postures, some of which will put more weight on one foot than the other and use asymmetric arm placements. It has some very good benefits but most westerners would not have the time or inclination to do it every day.

Besides building stamina and endurance it develops qi flow along the body's energy channels. It is the essence of "standing like a mountain yet moving like a river." All the activity happens internally. They are basically standing meditations, and many of them could also be done sitting or lying down.

An advanced exercise in taiji quan, for example, would be to do the form slower and slower until the movement is imperceptible. As excruciating as it sounds, it could be seen as a collection of static standing postures that flow from one to another - but that could take all day to do.

[This message has been edited by shr33m (edited December 30, 2003).]


#50066 12/31/03 02:03 PM
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Greetings!
Another interesting thread from which I have learned. Thanks to everyone for sharing, not only on this thread but on all of the interesting and informative threads posted throughout the year.
Wishing much peace and love to all in 2004!
Starfish


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