Deeper Strength

A deep connection with the earth is essential for your health and your Martial arts power. You develop this connection through your Zhan Zhuang training and the advanced work on the "red triangle" of your foot (pages 8489). To go further, you need to use the power of your imagination to draw more deeply on the energy of the earth. Clearly visualize the basic triangle from the tip of your head to the base of your feet. Imagine that your feet go straight down into the earth. As your practice deepens, you will feel a second, inverted triangle extending down-wards and holding you to the earth.

You can use this deep strength in the martial arts to take the incoming force of an attack into your body and direct it down through your rear leg. If you are learning for the first time, hold a Zhan Zhuang posture to one side and ask a friend to lean on your arms. Keep them in place without tension, directing the pressure down through your back foot.

Guo Gui Zhi Cheng Chuan

Through your Zhan Zhuang training, the energetic structure of your body becomes increasingly stronger. Keeping this clearly in mind is vital to the power of Da Cheng Chuan. It is the secret of the relaxed strength of advanced practitioners, such as the two masters in this photograph: facing Master Lam is Master Guo Gui Zhi, three times national martial arts champion of China.

When the arms are held in the fundamental Zhan Zhuang position, Holding the Ball (page 13), three principal triangles are involved. Two are formed by the shoulder, elbow and wrist of each arm. The third runs from shoulder to shoulder and connects to the first thoracic vertebra of the spine. These three triangles, combining structural and energetic geometry, remain intact under all pressures, but move flexibly without tension.

Building Pressure

We can think of Chi as pressure. The classical ideogram of Chi has two parts. On top is a square that represents a container or pot with a handle. Below that are four strokes that symbolize fire. So the whole character represents the process of heating something over a fire. It is a process of transforming something by energizing it. For example, it could be water, which when boiled, produces steam.

We are completely familiar with the pressure of steam. We are also familiar with the pressure of Chi. This is the power that moves our blood, fuels the extraordinary complexity of our entire nervous system, gives vitality to our internal organs and stimulates our brain cells. If we increase the power of our Chi, we increase its pressure. This boosts the energy circulating throughout our entire system. The energy radiates outwards from the Tan Tien in the lower abdomen, passes through every region of the body and extends beyond us.

FXfflCiSf TiMS IN MINUTES

The power exercises you are learning increase the pressure exerted by your Chi, boosting your circulation and bathing all your cells in oxygen-rich blood. This chart shows the impact on different people, measured in terms of pulse rates.

Blue line. An anxious patient begins with a pulse of 91 beats per minute. His pulse lowers slightly as he relaxes in Wu Chi. He is guided through Zhan Zhuang positions that progressively stimulate his circulation and deepen his breathing. Five minutes after the session, his pulse is at a much healthier 76 a minute.

Green line. A long-term student undertakes 40 minutes of demanding practice, holding eight of the postures in this book. As a result of sustained Zhan Zhuang training, her pulse remains smooth, slow and powerful throughout.

Red line. This advanced practitioner demonstrates the power of " red triangle" training. He remains completely still, but his pulse rate escalates dramatically (shown in orange) when he uses the power training technique explained on pages 88-89. This same explosive energy, known as Fa Li or Fa Jing, can be released in a split second by accomplished Da Cheng Chuan practitioners.

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