Grand Master Yu Yong Nian:
Fundamentals in Yi Quan(Yi Chuan) Healing and Combat Theory- Training levels with Zhan Zhuang.

Yi Quan(Yi Chuan) Grand Master Yu Yong Nian ¨C By capturing the essence of Zhan Zhuang you will gain unpreceeding martial abilities, or regain a tremendous healing vitality for those suffering of illness.

Yi Quan(Yi Chuan) ¨C Grand Master Yu Yong Nian is among the last living disciple of The Creator of Yi Quan(Yi Chuan) Wang Xian Zhai, he reveals in this article the very core of his sixty years of practice of Yi Quan(Yi Chuan). In exclusivity Grand Master Yu Yong Nian, with scientific references, presents the fundamental difference between mental education and pure physical education in Chinese Martial Arts from which depends the highest level of achievement in Martial Arts.

I Introduction:
When I first met G.M. Yu Yong Nian, I was very impressed by his humbleness beside his large notoriety and his world renowned contribution to develop Yi Quan(Yi Chuan) and Zhan Zhuang (Pole Standing). However beside his advanced age, 84, he looks younger than his age, and always discuss with great mind vivacity. When he performed YiQuan(Yi Chuan) demonstration, his movements confirmed a great deal of power and beauty. Later on when with other practiced pushing hands with him, everyone including the heaviest (approaching hundred kilos) was easily defeated. Marking of his natural kindness, nobody was ever injured or pushed on the wall as it may happen with other Yi Quan Masters who wanted to show their effectiveness in combat in a first meeting.
Once he asked another visitor who practiced Tai Chi for several years to demonstrate a punching Fali (Issuing explosive force). As a result he said: ˇ°You are using only a small part of your all body power while you are issuing force, you are only using your arm to punchˇ­ˇ±.
In some other occasions he likes to ask someone to perform a sprinter just starting to run from his starting blocks on the very beginning of a racing, then ask him: ˇ°What part of your body is involvedˇ±. The inevitable answer is: ˇ°The footˇ±.

II Importance of Zhan Zhuang in Yi Quan(Yi Chuan) training
G.M.YYN often refers to compare human with the tree or any construction: first consolidate the roots of the foundation then you can grow up your branches.
In continuation of his legendary Master Wang Xian Zhai, he places Zhan Zhuang as the core of Yi Quan(Yi Chuan) training, from Zhan Zhuang but also remain omnipresent in mud stepping footwork (mo tsa bu) testing force exercises (shili), but also pushing hands and issuing explosive force (fali) characterizing Yi Quan(Yi Chuan) training program.
In the same concern than other traditional Chinese martial arts, health is the necessary condition to built up further fighting abilities. However while many martial arts styles or healing methods includes multiple Qi Gong exercises to condition the student body, Yi Quan(Yi Chuan) most important basis is Zhan Zhuang (Pole standing).

III Modern science to enlighten the pertinence of Yi Quan(Yi Chuan) theory

  III.1 Motor/sensor in neuroscience:
In neuroscience, a homunculus is described as a motor/sensory model of the body (Ref Fig. A) in which the size of each body part is in proportion to the surface area dedicated to that part by the brain. The larger the surface area (as required for the hands), the larger they appear in the model. This is represented in figure A.

From this motor/sensory Chart, we can easy see that the upper part of the human body being especially hands and head are concerned by the major part of this chart as a result we can understand that human being is naturally less skilled in using his upper limbs compared with his lower limbs. In Figure B is represented a man according to the proportion of surface attributed in the Motor/sensor chart of the human cortex, also called ˇ°Homunculusˇ± by scientists.

  III.2 Gathering and storing power
Comparison between the legs and the hands

  III.3 Increasing your sensor/motor system
By combining the appropriate education of your mind and your body, you can therefore reach a level even unconsciously you will mobilize all your fighting resources in real combat situation.
There is real example where old man approaching the 80s used to practice mainly Zhan Zhuang, without incorporating any martial application or techniques, one day return home after his daily practice in the morning, a youngster riding a bike hit him in the back. As a result the young find himself projected several meters backward with his bicycle badly damaged, while the old without any wound return amazed himself by his own achievement.

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Figure A: Human left cortex motor/sensory Chart

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                 Figure B: Homunculus

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IV Two different body mind education approaches in Chinese Martial Arts

In the Chinese history, famous Philosophers such as Lao Tseu or Guan Tseu have already mention the importance of distinguishing two general methods of Mental/Physical education which can be applied also applied beyond martial arts scope.
As you can see on Fig. B, I classify all Chinese Martial Arts and even all fighting systems into two categories, with the references of Lao Tseu, Guan Tzeu , Wang Xian Zhai and my own comments:
- ˇ°Lian Quanˇ± literally Practicing fist, where the body especially the hand prevails, and characterized by Taolus (codified chained movements), Shaolin or Tai Chi belong to this category
- ˇ° Wei Daoˇ± literally Search for the way, where the mind prevailed, and has the specificity of having no Taolu, Da Cheng Quan belong to this second category. We will call later ˇ°Object Researchˇ±

To go in depth in terms of physical and mental training, we can then distinguish two kinds of body kinetics which will condition your method of training in martial arts:
- First auto-kinetic movement: where speed, power and time are the main parameters.
Here displacement movement is the necessary condition, applied in martial arts: it is the necessity of practicing ˇ°Taoluˇ± (codified chained movements)
- Second auto-kinetic movement: where angle (between you limbs and your trunk), mind concentration and time are the main parameters.
Here stillness movement is the necessary condition: applied in martial arts that is the necessity in practicing ˇ°Zhan Zhuangˇ± (pole standing).

V Da Cheng Quan Zhan Zhuang Object Research Program summary

This program summary covers the complete range of body mind training from lying exercises up to free fighting with weapons.

Da Cheng Quan Pole Standing Object Research Summary

   1. Lying Exercise Suitable for weak and insomnia

   2. Sitting Exercise Suitable for weak as complementary exercise to the standing posture

   3. Standing Exercise
      3.1 Standing posture Suitable for weak
      3.2 Standing basic posture Suitable for common, sick and person on a diet
      3.3 Standing 4 limbs posture Suitable for stronger and athlete to contract and relax their
      resting muscles, second auto kinetic movement to improve their performance

   4. Walking Exercise Based on mud stepping and as preparation for dynamic exercises

   5. Object research(Contraction/Relaxation Method)

     5.1 Partial body contraction and relaxation exercise
     5.2 Muscle tight pulling while contraction and relaxation exercise
     5.3 Muscle lifting up while contraction and relaxation exercise
     5.4 Forceful contraction and relaxation exercise
     5.5 Exploding contraction and relaxation exercise

   6. Force Testing Exercise
     6.1 Partial body force testing exercise
     6.2 Entire body force testing exercise
     6.3 Exploding force testing exercise

   7. Voice Testing Exercise
     7.1 Voice testing exercise combined with force testing exercise
     7.2 Voice testing exercise with uncommon voice sound

   8. Pushing Hands
     8.1 One hand pushing hands
     8.2 Two hands pushing hands
     8.3 Determined pushing hands position
     8.4 Changing posture pushing hands

   9. Combat Exercise
     9.1 Bare hand combat exercise
     9.2 Weapon combat exercise


As a continuation of this introductive article, the next article of Grand Master Yu Yong Nian will discuss about specific muscles training in Da Cheng Chuan, complementary to Zhan Zhuang ¨C Pole Standing



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