Zi Ran Men
|Country of origin||China|
|Famous practitioners||Du Xinwu, Wan Laisheng|
|Part of a series on|
|Chinese martial arts (Wushu)|
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Ziranmen or Zi Ran Men (simplified Chinese: 自然门; traditional Chinese: 自然門; pinyin: zìránmén; Wade–Giles: tzu-jan men; literally "the ziran ["natural"] style"), also known as Natural Boxing, is a Northern internal style of kung fu that is taught in conjunction with Qigong breathing techniques. The style traces its lineage to Dwarf Xu, who based it on ancient Taoist philosophy. Du Xinwu, the next bearer of the lineage, served as a bodyguard to Sun Yat-sen, then the provisional president of the Republic of China. Du imparted his knowledge of "Natural Boxing" to his eldest son Du Xiu Si and Wan Laisheng, a prominent twentieth century martial artist.
Zi Ran Men/nature boxing is based on ancient Taoist philosophy, Traditional Chinese Medicine and, most importantly, the philosophy of "One and Zero". It combines physical training, qigong, meditation and combat techniques. Through training, Zi Ran Men is said to enhance the spirit of the mind, regulate the circulation of qi and develops physical sensitivity. According to practitioners when the body is in harmony, you will live a long and healthy life.
The main principle of Zi Ran Men is to overwhelm the opponent by attacking continuously, using every part of the body to strike. Zi Ran Men make use of four fundamental techniques: Tun (contraction), Tu (expansion), Fu (floating) and Chen (sinking). These techniques are generally expressed through movement of the spine. Zi Ran Men is also noted for its footwork (bu fa), which involves moving lightly on the balls of the feet and enables sudden changes of direction. Kicks are a key part of the art's arsenal.
Unlike many internal martial arts, Zi Ran Men's early training focuses on hard physical exertion, with the internal aspects only becoming apparent to the practitioner later in training. The style contains over eighty extended forms and hundreds of short combination drills. Training to exhaustion in these methods forces the student to cease using muscular force and to move in a relaxed manner. The basic training routine is a static exercise which involves rotating the hands in sequence; Du Xinwu is said to have practiced this routine atop wooden stakes with weighted sandbags attached to his arms and legs, which enabled him to highly develop his qing gong ("light body technique"). Over time, the student's natural stepping movements develop into lower stances. Zi Ran Men emphasises the natural development of movement.
Practitioners also make use of pai da gong techniques, which involves striking and being struck by various pieces of equipment, including wooden posts, sandbags and iron balls. These practices are intended to strengthen the body and increase striking power. An item of equipment apparently unique to Zin Ran Men is the "pushing/striking cart", a wooden cart filled with stone which is moved by shoves and strikes.
- Bruce Kumar Frantzis (31 December 1997). Power of Internal Martial Arts: Combat Secrets of Ba Gua, Tai Chi, and Hsing-I. North Atlantic Books. p. 338. ISBN 978-1-55643-253-8.
- Donn F. Draeger; Robert W. Smith (1980). Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts. Kodansha International. p. 13 & 26. ISBN 978-0-87011-436-6.
- Hui, Lin. "内圈手——自然门之根本". Baijiahefu. TCM Consulting. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
- "Natural Boxing Fighting Strategy". Wushu Scholar. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
- Alex Kozma (1 December 2012). Warrior Guards the Mountain: The Internal Martial Traditions of China, Japan and South East Asia. Singing Dragon. ISBN 978-1-84819-124-2.