Zhan zhuang

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Zhan zhuang
Zhan zhuang training on the
World Tai Chi and Qigong Day, Israel. The people in the picture hold the Hun Yuan posture, also known as Cheng Bao.

Zhan Zhuang, literally: "standing like a post", is a training method often practiced by students of neijia (internal kung fu), such as Yiquan, Xing Yi Quan, Bagua Zhang and Taiji Quan. Zhan zhuang is sometimes translated as standing-on-stake, standing qigong, standing like a tree, post-standing, pile-standing. It is commonly mistakenly called a form of 'Qi Gong', but is in fact different to other Qi Gong methods in its orientation.[1]


The original Zhan Zhuang were health methods used by Daoists for ages. In recent centuries, martial artists who had already had 'static standing' methods combined these with the Internal Mechanics of Zhan Zhuang to create a superior exercise. The original goal of Zhan Zhuang in martial arts has always been to develop a martially-capable body structure,[2] yet nowadays most practitioners have again returned to a health-preservation orientation in their training, and few teach Zhan Zhuang as a martial method. The word Zhan Zhuang is the modern term. The word Zhan Zhuang was created by Master Wang Jiang Zhai. Master Wang, a student of Xing Yi quan, created a method of Kung Fu based entirely upon Zhan Zhuang. This Kung Fu is known today as Yiquan, "Intent fist." Yi Quan's method of study is Zhan Zhuang and movements that continue the feeling of the Standing post in action.

The most common Zhan Zhuan method is known as 'Hun Yuan' ('Round Smoothness') or Chen Bao ('Tree Hugging' stance). This posture is entirely Daoist in its origins, has many variations, and is the main training posture in all branches of Yi Quan. This practice has recently also became common practice in Taiji and Qi Gong schools . In Xing Yi Quan, The practice of 'San Ti Shi', or Heaven earth and Man has been a root practice for centuries. (三體勢 / 三体势).[3]


Shifu Nitzan Oren, demonstrating a Zhan Zhuang posture which combines the San Ti posture of Xing Yi Quan and a Hun Yuan hand variation

Those unfamiliar with Zhan Zhuang can experience severe muscle fatigue and subsequent trembling at first. Later, once sufficient stamina and strength have been developed, the practitioner can use zhan zhuang to work on developing the sensation of 'opposing forces', as well as one's central equilibrium and sensitivity to specific areas of tension in the body.[4]

Zhan Zhuang has a strong connection with Traditional Chinese Medicine. Some schools use the practice as a way of removing blockages in Qi flow. This blockage removal occurs because Zhan Zhuang, when correctly practiced, has a normalizing effect on the body. Any habitual tension or tissue shortening (or lengthening) is normalized by the practice and the body regains its natural ability to function optimally. It is thought that a normalized body will be less prone to muscular skeletal medical conditions, and it is also believed that zhan zhuang, when practiced for developing relaxed postures, will lead to a beneficial calming effect.[5][6] The Dan Tian is also involved in the practice of Zhan Zhuang.[7]

The amount of time spent practicing Zhan Zhuang varies between styles and schools. One may spend anywhere from 2 minutes to 2 hours standing in one posture.[8]

Many styles, especially the internal styles, combine post standing with qigong training and other coordinated body methods to develop whole body coordination for martial purposes. The martial practice is thought to strengthen the body's Central Nervous System and develop the coordination required for effective martial performance. In Yi Quan, a clear distinction is made between 'health postures' and 'martially oriented postures'. In Bagua Zhang's circle walking practice, the upper body is held as a Zhan Zhuang posture, while the lower body is more dynamic.

See also[edit]



  • J.P.C. Moffett, Wang Xuanjie (1994), Traditional Chinese Therapeutic Exercises: Standing Pole.
  • Lam Kam Chuen, Gaia Books Ltd, 2005 ISBN 1-85675-215-1, "Chi Kung: The Way of Energy".
  • Peter den Dekker, Back2Base Publishing BV, 2010 ISBN/EAN: 978-94-90580-01-8, "The Dynamics of Standing Still"
  • Professor Yu Yong Nian, Amazon (2012) "El arte de nutrir la vida. Zhang zhuang el poder de la quietud"
  • Jonathan Bluestein (2014). Research of Martial Arts. Amazon CreateSpace. ISBN 978-1499122510.

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