An aspect of fangsong.

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TCosta
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Post by TCosta » Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:26 am

Well put, Roland. The idea is that we align our bones and let go of the stress, instead of tiring out an area of muscular use.

If the aim was to tire out fast twitch musculature, then it would take longer and longer to do this, as those muscles strengthened, and harder and harder to transfer usage to postural muscles. I think Roland is correct in that exhausting the muscles is not the intent. I still think there are some muscles helping us keep our alignment; there are just fewer of them doing the work and they are doing a lighter job. Then again, that could be because my alignment is not perfect.

-Trevor

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Post by Dan Pasek » Thu Aug 09, 2007 11:53 am

Hmm,

It seems like people had misunderstood me. I thought that I had mentioned that I essentially agreed with what Roland posted, and that I was going to focus primarily on the physical aspects of this training, and that training is improved and progresses faster with the emphasis on fangsong and other mental aspects of this training (like what Roland posted).

I think that the aim is to train proper muscle use, not “to tire out fast twitch musculature” [Trevor]. I think that both the mental focus on fangsong and the physical aspect of the improperly used muscles tiring out work together. The pain or trembling, etc. felt in a fatigued muscle is the feedback mechanism used to know what muscles are being used improperly so that you can focus on relaxing them. Since they are already tired at this point (otherwise they would not be feeling pain!), they are ‘primed’ to respond to the mental commands to relax (or if taken to the extreme, they will eventually give out if remaining tense). I think this is accurate, but I’m no physiologist!

I am also intrigued by thoughts in the linked article that stopping when one starts to feel pain may work. I suspect that there is a muscle memory such that even if one does not go beyond the point of starting feeling fatigue (pain), as advocated in the linked article, regular (daily) practice focusing on fangsong will lead to improvement over time due to the body ‘remembering’ the muscles that started fatiguing during previous practice sessions and thus being less likely to tense in subsequent training sessions in order to avoid the pain that was ‘remembered’ (again combined with the mental focus on fangsong).

Since I was not taught this way, however, I can not speak to its effectiveness.

Again, not being a physiologist I may be wrong, but I don’t think that it is possible to ‘strengthen’ muscle fibers! You can build muscle mass by gaining additional muscle fibers (producing greater strength when more muscle fibers are able to contract), but I do not think that this is what is happening to any significant degree during zhanzhuang. Many physically strong and muscular individuals have greater difficulty with zhanzhuang training that those with relatively smaller muscles (fewer fibers). So I doubt that an increase in muscle mass itself has much benefit in being able to properly use whatever muscles you do have properly.

Sorry, the link that I gave to the elbows reference was incorrect. It should be the following: viewtopic.php?t=151.

Dan

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Post by Juan Botero » Tue Oct 09, 2007 12:26 am

At the outset of this topic is Roland´s cup of tea analogy that I mentioned after class today.

Apparently you just decide to let go of tension as you decide to let go of a cup of tea... it seems to be as much in the mind as it is in the body. A second aspect seems to be form practice. Verticality helps to fang song. A third aspect seems to be breathing. I started breathing in to the dan tien and breathing out to the whole body and zhan zhuan became much easier.

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Linda Heenan
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Post by Linda Heenan » Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:09 am

I'm having some new experiences in Zhan Zhuang lately. The chat with Roland was the breakthrough point to making it easier. That was many months ago. These days, I find there is a deeper sort of concentration which makes it seem as though either much time, or no time at all has passed. There is a sense of being very aware of the body in each breath, and of qi circulation, while at the same time, not being so aware of the body. Perhaps someone understands this well enough to put it more clearly.

The result for me is that I'm far less aware of tension and discomfort. Perhaps that is because it isn't there, or perhaps it is because my mind seems to go into my breath and not dwell on anything. After half an hour of this, I can still feel stiff for a few minutes while starting to move again, but I didn't feel it while standing. Fangsong is not just in the body, but the whole being. I don't seem to be a naturally tension free person, so Zhan Zhuang is an important part of my practise. It makes a big difference in my life.

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Tashi James
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curious

Post by Tashi James » Wed Jun 04, 2008 6:49 pm

Hi Linda,

Could you clarify how this is going for you?

When I think of just going into my breath and not focusing on the body, it illustrates a kind of spaced-out feeling which is clearly not what we want or need. Because it forms the initial sequence of first section in which by that point everything is to be switched on and 'aware'.

Also can any one tell me the application so I can get the correct intent. I have been thinking of it as follows.

As a duifung grasps both wrist i lift my hands so my hands come to the inside of the duifungs arms and then come down on top with fajin to the point an inch back from the top wrist joint of the duifung.

Also, does the initial arm lifting motion use peng energy?

much kindness,
Tashi
"There is nothing that does not become easier through familiarity" (Santideva).

"We become what we do repeatedly. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit" (Aristotle).

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Linda Heenan
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Post by Linda Heenan » Thu Jun 05, 2008 1:30 am

That was a long time ago. I have so many experiences in zhanzhuang, the latest ones being improvement of qi circulation. Right from the beginning zhanzhuang was probably the most important and most exciting part of my practise. I think that might be because it was the first thing Laoshi taught me. Focussing on the outside too much just makes it a difficult exercise. If you can ignore the aches and pains, it seems to be one of the main keys to developing real tajijquan. I think it should have about equal time with the other parts of the art we are training in.

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Tashi James
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zz

Post by Tashi James » Fri Jun 06, 2008 3:28 am

Couldn't agree more.

Apparently you can't get real peng energy until you can sink the qi to the dantien, so anything to increase the mighty three into eight is great.
"There is nothing that does not become easier through familiarity" (Santideva).

"We become what we do repeatedly. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit" (Aristotle).

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