Stand Like a Tree
|In a rough translation, Zhanzhuang means "to
stand like a tree". It is pronounced "Jan Juang" in the northern part of
China, and "Jam Jong" in southern China. However, you are likely to come across
many other pronunciations of Zhanzhuang, since Chinese has about 72 different dialects.
Most people who start to practice Zhanzhuang are somewhat puzzled in the beginning. This is because in the first stages, Zhanzhuang has no visible movements, all movement occurs internally. Zhanzhuang helps to cultivate our internal energy/life-force, and it vitalizes and strengthens our muscles and the nervous system. This form of training is different from other forms, since it combines practice and relaxation: "While you practice, you relax, and while you relax, you practice". It harmonizes the nervous system, and as a result, all parts of the body, the inner organs and the muscles, can start to work together more efficiently and in harmony.
The training method significantly increases the circulation in the body and it facilitates the development of internal strength. It is based upon a unique combination of relaxation and tension which stimulates, cleanses, and massages the whole body. After an initial period of motionless standing, the practitioner can start to focus on external movements, which are designed for learning how to move with as little use of energy/force as possible. This skill develops gradually, and finally results in the ability to build up energy/force during movement. These exercises are called shi li in Chinese - to test the energy/strength in the body and the mind.
By training Zhanzhuang, one will become capable of developing to one's full physical and mental potential. This potential is cultivated naturally, without any need to fight against self or others. There is no need to know Chinese medicine, meridians, acupuncture, or the chakra system, nor is it necessary to develop any skills in using colours to guide the energy inside the body. The only requirement is that one is a human being who can think! Zhanzhuang can be practised in a lying, sitting, or standing position, or even while walking - according to one's needs. We aim to meet every new student at his or her individual level, in order to help and guide them to gaining their full potential.