The first thing we teach to a new student is Chi Kung. It does not matter if you are a seasoned martial artist from another discipline or simply a new student, Chi Kung will be taught first. The most important aspects of the training, strength and stillness, are cultivated through the standing postures called Zhan Zhuang. Translated, Zhan Zhuang means, “stand like a tree”; trees have great roots that bury underground and support the vast trunk and branches. Without such roots how could a tree stand? Zhan Zhuang works in a similar fashion: how can a Tai Chi practitioner be strong without such roots? Rooting is developed through the process of Zhan Zhuang. These six unique standing exercises are trained with no outward movement; the real movement is on the inside. Standing still, letting go of muscular tension, whilst developing good rooting is part of the goal; the other is calming the mind and stilling the body. Tai Chi is sometimes referred to as “stillness in movement”. Only when stillness is understood can movement begin; this develops a profound understanding of what stillness and movement are. Zhan Zhuang is the most important part of your Tai Chi development; without such training your Tai Chi form will merely have an outward appearance with no real substance.
Zhan Zhuang has been practiced in secret in China for 27 centuries and has only been taught openly since 1940; up until then this was regarded as the most secretive of all training methods.
Dao Yin Chi Kung
Known as moving exercises, these train and also develop the body’s natural power lines through alignment corrections. These Chi Kung training methods are most profound and once again very important in the development of Tai Chi internal principles. There are 5 major exercises, each developing a different connection through the body’s central core (core stability) whilst moving within a natural range of movement. These movements tune the inside (internal) to the outside (external) and refine basic rotations and spirals within the body, amalgamating each and every part of the body. This has to be felt to be really understood; all parts move all parts, perfectly stringing prearranged movements together, working in harmony with rooting, centripetal and centrifugal forces.