You can sometimes hear from some students these following remarks:
- "I know another practitioner who started Zhan zhuang exactly in the same time than me, but later I found out that he is progressing in his training much faster than I do? How can it happen?"
- "I am training ZZ in a daily basis but still I do not get any kind of curative effect",
- " Effects were very obvious during the first three months of ZZ practice but even I am still continuing to practice ZZ after these three starting months effects seem to be much less obvious".
The key points for all these cases are that three parameters in their training program have been scaled down:
- insufficient training time,
- insufficient bending angle,
- insufficient mental activity.
Let's go deeper for each of these parameters. 1.3.1 Insufficient training time
Let's see two major aspects related to ZZ training time:
- Z.Z training time is not enough: It is very easy to persevere on standing during a short period compared to long one, but the effects of short time standing are, as you can easily understand, very limited. For a longer period of time in standing, your internal body has progressively more rooms to gather more beneficial effects. It is evident that standing time is related to everyone's physical conditions. For example elder people or patients under medical treatment cannot hold continuously ZZ during 40 minutes but rather 10 minutes. Although 10 minutes is not very long but it's still enough to get some healing effects. In opposition for a confirmed athlete or a manual worker with great physical conditions, 40 minutes training may not bring out any effect.
There is also the frequency of training each day: some practitioners will practice just once a day, but others will practice three or four times a day, and of course expecting effects will be also different.
- total duration of training program is insufficient: we mean from the time you started your ZZ program until now.
A serious Dachengquan practitioner should not be restricted to short term objective in his training program: as to continue the analogy with nature, anyone understands how seasons influence the progress planting/harvesting: It simply takes several months to harvest or pick up fruits.In the same way the recovery process requests some significant time to bring out some qualitative improvements and progressively up to more obvious ones. Temporary health problems can be rather rapidly cured compared with chronic diseases. Although Zhan zhuang has proven effects to cure patients suffering from chronic diseases and strengthen their bodies, results cannot be obtain in one day, it needs time.
To sum up we can say that adequate training time is relative to each one's physical condition and illness seriousness but in any case with a long term training program including proper time training adjustment is the preferable way to settle durable and concrete results.
Insufficient bending angle in your four limbs while assuming post standing will develop an insufficient amount of physical effort during your training session.
Here again bending angle should be set up according to one's physical condition and also the posture which is selected for ZZ exercise: its frequent adjustment in your training is necessary. For example in beginner level, the bending angle in both legs should quite small as in the beginning the practitioner cannot endure to large amount of physical effort.
After a certain time of practice the bending angle should increase as the body has acquired further strength so that the actual angle does not produce anymore substantial changes in organic function of the body.
In Zhang zhuang selecting the right bending angle is among the most difficult point to achieve as determining the ideal amount of physical effort is very hard to estimate, this requires a very experimented coach which will constantly check, readjust angles but also from the practitioner himself in scanning and feeling inside his internal body all changes intervening during his training program.
I.3.3 Insufficient mental activity
Insufficient mental activity occurs generally when the practitioner has not completely understood the function of mental activity in the training.
Mental activity in ZZ and affiliated exercises should be adjusted according to each practitioner's condition, if it applies, his pathology, the posture he assumes, but also the level of training he has already achieved.
To be more specific: convalescent or patient should rather focus on preserving calmness and control nerve excitation, then once they recovered they can increase the amount of physical effort involved in training, so that recovery can be more stabilized and permanent: at this stage they can on developing sensibility to low level signal or directly increase the amplitude of nerve excitation while monitoring it mentally. Here are some further details:
For a patient starting ZZ the most important is "mental vacuity and posture lightness" during his exercise. He should just keep on assuming his posture without moving and use mental activity for relaxation, for example he can check mentally if each part of his body is relaxed. In the beginner he will not be able to keep all his muscles relaxed but with more training his muscles will be able to get rid of the excess of strain and rigidity. During a certain period it may be difficult for the practitioner to appreciate himself his progress as everything is happening and starting inside his body. But with further training and fine monitoring of minor changes will lead him progressively achieve this first step.
In the following step, he can apply "mental and posture lightness" in his ZZ training. Here in post standing, body is actively teaming up with mental: focus your mind, get rid of random thoughts, monitor your internal body and soon will appear varieties of changes and reactions within it such as tingling, swelling or pains, then they may also continue to grow up until he reaches the sensation of well being. Again the more these sensations are obvious the better it will assure healing benefits.
For practitioners with good physical condition, they can go ahead training more specifically mental activity related to cycles of contraction and relaxation, using "monitoring mental and still posture lightness". This specific post standing training involves resting muscles into contraction-relaxation cycles and high level excitation in the cerebral cortex. This type of training is much more complex and requires a meticulous preparation which we will discuss later in this book.
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