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Da Cheng Chuan strengthens your body and sharpens your mind. It increases your stamina and endurance. It takes you beyond your normal limits and helps protect you against injury.

Champions need to set their sights far beyond what they might normally achieve, and must develop unusually high levels of stamina. The advanced practices in this book take you beyond the barrier of pain, awaken muscles and nerves previously dormant and help you remain relaxed while exerting yourself to the maximum.

The art of Da Cheng Chuan, from its foundations in Wu Chi through to its pinnacle in combat, is really a training in personal bravery. Freedom from fear is essential. Explaining this to his students, Professor Yu is fond of quoting the great sage Lao Tse: "Those who have tempered themselves are not afraid of encountering tigers."

As Zhan Zhuang works on your entire energy field it helps to break the vicious cycle of nervousness and physical tension. The benefits of your training will start to show themselves in those moments that require concentration and relaxation at the same time, such as hitting a golf ball, serving a match point in tennis or scoring a goal in soccer.

Professor Yu emphasizes the physical benefits, too: "It is important to know how to relieve stress when your muscles are overstimulated, otherwise they will remain tense and you will tire rapidly. If you have mastered the technique of relaxation, you use much less energy and do not suffer from rapid fatigue." The training in muscular contraction and relaxation (pages 88-89) automatically develops this skill.

Having mastered the foundations and done your warm-up exercises, you should pay particular emphasis to going as low as possible in the postures. Take care not to let your knees bend forwards over your toes. If you feel pain or trembling in the legs, relieve it by going still lower! While holding the deep positions, scan your upper body for tension and relax whatever muscles have tightened. You will need to repeat the scanning and relaxation constantly, until you feel that all the work is being done in your legs, leaving your torso and head to rest free and easy in the position.

"Red triangle" training (pages 84-85) also yields excellent sports results. In addition to standing with your weight balanced only on the triangles, contract your calf muscles so that they are as firm as rocks. Grip the floor firmly with your toes. Grip and tense for ten seconds, then relax -repeating this sequence up to 30 times, with your upper body completely relaxed.

You can also continue your training when out walking: feel as if you are going up


an incline, secretly using your "red triangles" to increase your power.

The lower body power developed by Da Cheng Chuan can make a difference in almost every sport. For example, in equestrian sports it gives riders exactly the control they need in the stirrups, with balance and freedom in the upper body. In sports that demand precise synchronization of mind and body, it stabilizes the entire body structure while training the central nervous system. In body contact sports, the powerful energy field developed by Da Cheng Chuan acts as a protective shield against injury, while sharpening and extending the competitor' s range of awareness.

As its benefits become better known, Da Cheng Chuan training is finding its way into the sports world outside China. For example, Martin Jorgensen (pictured above playing for the Italian soccer team, Udinese) is a Danish athlete who has been studying Da Cheng Chuan for years. He uses it regularly in his workout routines and stands like a tree in the breaks during games!

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