Local parts of body request:
Sole stepping onto the ground,
heel slightly lifted,
sole like a spring,
avoid ankle from shaking otherwise body will quiver.
Both knees expanding,
buttock tight and leg twisted,
anus and belly (retracted as in) inspiration,
hip twisting and crotch wrapping.
Back and waist keep vertical,
chest slightly withdrawn,
shoulder expanding and elbow horizontal,
wrist hooking and finger pointing.
Head and neck all erecting,
mouth open and jaws withdrawn,
hair like pointing up,
teeth like chewing.
Whole body request:
Whole body swelling,
force rushing to a distant place,
linking with all-around,
each hair pointing as a halberd.
Form is bending then force is straight,
Form relaxing then mental should keep contracting,
Relaxing but not slacking off,
Contracting but not stiffening.
Spirit of raging tiger,
Mental of evasive snake.
As a rooster in combat, spreading wings.
As a fish fighting meeting it opponent, turning its gill and erecting.
As a winning cricket relaxing wings, grasping claws and shaking
As a wild horse galloping, its body burnt by a raging fire.
As a cyclone blowing off trees, raising them from ground and then
them spreading out.
Under the slightest touch, bursting immediately, explosive power
undisrupted from combat posture.
Zhan zhuang and the Search of Wu
by Yu Yong Nian
A perspective on silk-reeling training by Zhang Xuexin, a student of Feng Zhiqiang, 18-generation. Chen style Taijiquan and founder of Chen Style Xinyi Hun Yuan Taijiquan.
Feng Zhiqiang, a leading student of Chen Fake is one of the most famous exponents of Taijiquan in the world. He is also well-known for promoting a complete set of silk-reeling exercises (Chansigong or also occasionally romanized as Chan Ssu Gong) in thirty five postures which form one of the fundamental training exercises for the mastery of Chen-style Taijiquan.
Feng Zhiqiang’s senior indoor student, Zhang Xuexin, was the first to introduce this system of exercises to the west. The following introduction to Taijiquan silk-reeling exercises is from Zhang’s video tape on silk-reeling and dantian rotation exercises.
Master Zhang will demonstrate the complete set of silk-reeling (known as Chan Si Gong in Pinyin) and dantian rotation exercises arranged by Master Feng based on his studies of Chen style Taijiquan. One major objective of this set of spiral exercises is to open up and exercise the 18 major joint areas of the body (in sequence from the head to the ankles). The 18 major joints consist of: neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, chest, abdomen, waist, kuas, hips, knees, and ankles.
These 18 major joints are also referred to as 18 “balls” of the human body. By harmonizing the internal turning and external twisting with the Qi and Yi via the silk-reeling exercises, one can reach a state where the entire body will become an integrated “Taiji sphere.”
In practicing Chen-style Taijiquan, the human body may be seen as a tree with three sections: branch, trunk and roots. In reference to the entire body: the arm is the branch, the torso is the trunk and the legs are the root. The entire body may be further subdivided. For the torso, the head is the branch, the waist is the trunk and the abdomen is the root. For the arm, the hand is the branch, the elbow is the trunk, and the shoulder is the root. For the lower body, the ankle is the branch, the knee is the trunk and the kua is the root. All total there are 9 sections of the human body. The dantian is the center from which the jing and energy are propogated to each branch like a wave.
These exercises also train the famous eight energies of Taijiquan – Peng, Lu, Ji, An, Cai, Lie, Jou, and Kao along with qinna (joint locking and grappling) and counter-qinna movements. Master Zhang and his students will also demonstrate applications of the silk-reeling exercises and the fundamental dantian rotation exercises.
All of the exercises presented are useful foundation training not only for students of Chen style Taijiquan but for students of any style of Taijiquan. They are also a good foundation for students of related internal martial arts such as Baguazhang and Xingyiquan.
Asume the basic standing posture, but with the arms out to the sides at about navel height an sligthly forward crouch a little as if sitting down slightly and keep the back erect. When one is relaxed and the attention collected, shift one’s weight completely onto the right foot and strain on the hip. Move the left foot straight back a half a step then forwards in an inward curve, brushing past the right instep and out forwards to a place in front of its original position, turning the toes out a bit as is lands. Shift the weight forward on to the left leg, turning the torso slightly to the left as one does so, then bring right foot forward in a curve past left instep and out to the front, turning toes out slightly as it lands. Shift weight onto the wright leg again, turning torso slightly to the left as one moves, then take another a step with left foot. Continue forwards and then backwards in this was for as long as comfortable.
When taking a pace, raise the knee slightly, keep toes straight and do not raise foot to far off ground. It should feel as if dragging one’s feet through mud, and as gentle as if one were rolling a ball along with one’s toes. Again the motion must be smooth and unbroken.
There are many kinds of stepwork in Dachengquan, and Mocabu or friction step is the most basic one. The posture is as follows: Stand naturally with two feet in parallel, apart form the legs which bend slightly at the knee, the posture is like standing attention. Keep torso erect, shoulders relaxed, arms stretched sideways, forming an angle of about 60 degrees with the body. With fingers parted naturally and palms facing downward as if you where pressing two big balloons, raise the head upright and drop to half a squat, with chest in and back intense. See that you have abundant energy, a quiet and easy mind and a substatiel abdomen. After standing in this way for some time, with the body weight on the soles of the feet, shift weight onto the left hip and slowly move right foot horizontally in a small arc to the right with the toes forward and land right on outer right side. The shift the weight onto the right hip, and move left foot in the same way as the right one has just done, and lands on the outer left side. The feet are desirably keept one foot length and a half apart all the time. Repeat the above mentioned movements alternatively with one foot and another. In practising this skill, care must be taken that the knee-cap is accompanied be an intention of a slight up-lift, toes are slightly hooked and the sole is not to high above ground. At the same time imagine that two feet are walking in shallow water, overcoming resistance. All the movements should be steady and flexible flowing easy and comfortable. This is the advacing posture. For retreating posture, just reverse the order of movements.
A ballad for Mocabu goes as follows:
With the torso erect and the head upright, He walks like a chicken but with torso a bit inclined.
Advance or retreat at will as the hip and shoulder move, Weaves rise and fall as the knee leaps and the foot circles.
by Wang Xuanjie
Hai Feng Publishing Co. May 1988