Saturday, April 15, 2017

Walking Qigong - A Bridge Between Zhan Zhuang and Taiji

For those who train both Zhan Zhuang and Taijiquan, walking is an excellent and important bridge between the two. Why? There are a couple of reasons. The first has to do with the fact that during Zhan Zhuang a great amount of Qi tends to migrate into the Central Channel. 

Although this highly concentrated Qi is very useful during our Zhan Zhuang training, both for healing and martial power, this flooding of our Central Channel is often too much for our everyday activities. Therefore it is always advised that we “walk around” slowly for a few minutes after our standing session “as if strolling in a park or garden” in order to help normalize and redistribute the excess Qi generated during practice. In fact, Yang Cheng Fu also advised the same procedure after Taijiquan.

Why and how does this work? The reason is simple. Walking by its very nature helps move Qi out of the Central Channel and into our left and right Qigong Channels as we pace around. This helps to normalize the Qi flow and make it again suitable for our daily life. 

Although this ‘random walking’ is highly effective in rebalancing the flow of Qi, for those who wish to develop more quickly, conscious walking, known as Walking Qigong is the preferred method. Why? Because in addition to the basic normalizing and rebalancing effect of moving our weight from one side of the body to the other and back again, Walking Qigong has the added benefits of generating whole body connection and integration, refining balance and promoting greater awareness of the exchange of Yin and Yang, empty and full. Also, this type of walking involves not only moving forward, it also employs walking backwards as well. This builds our agility in both advancing and retreating for martial art applications. In addition, the walking backwards part greatly benefits back and spinal problems and readies us to apply power while appearing to move away from an opponent as well as the normal moving in to strike.

There are basically three stages to Walking Qigong. Method one uses only the legs and the Kua (torso) with the hands resting on the hips or hanging freely at our sides. This stage primarily emphasizes the lower body. The second method is walking while holding various static Zhan Zhuang postures. This stage builds the upper and lower body connection and integration while in movement. The third method involves various arm movements while advancing (walking forward) and retreating. (walking backwards) These can be certain circular movements as well as many of the Taiji movements. For example, walking forward we can use Double Hand Peng on each side. Walking backward we change to Lu - Rollback. The various circular movements and the almost infinite combinations and variations of Taiji movements not only allow us train issuing Jin while advancing, but the backward style walking is very useful for emitting Jin while seeming to move away from an opponent. Naturally, both methods may be necessary in a real life confrontation.