Zhan Zhuang

A Tai Chi Dusk 3  What is Zhan Zhuang?


“Zhan Zhuang is the art of “doing nothing and achieving everything”.

Wang Xiang Zhai


Zhan Zhuang (pronounced Jan Jong) literally means “Pole Standing”.  

It is a system of stillness techniques that are simple to learn, the hardest to do,  yet the most effective of all.  

The exercises are a unique practice that combines elements of rest and recuperation with healthy, strengthening exercises for both mind and body.  

Stillness is an exercise of the whole body.    Students begin by learning the powerful standing meditation method called standing like a post to understand how to control the body for health and self- defense and to build up internal energy.  After this initial training at the very heart of Hsing-I is the standing form posture known as Santishi.   Santishi is an advanced form of Zhan Zhuang in that it is a static standing posture, with arms extended.  Santishi is the foundation of all power training in Hsing-I, and without it the training for self-defense could easily become nothing more than movements with minimal power.

Santishi also teaches how to calm one’s mind and release unnecessary stress. The process that Santishi sets in motion for balance, health, and healing is expanded and fulfilled in the Five Element practices. Consistent practice of Santishi helps connect the muscles, bones. Ligaments, tendons and nervous system into one unified whole for the production of whole body power.

As we hold postures only moving enough to breathe and keep upright:

  • the self becomes very quiet and relaxed.   The more relaxed and quiet the body, the faster the circulation of blood, and the faster the development of strength and health.

  • we are able to observe the interaction of mind and body.  

  • we gain a fuller understanding of what movement is and how to better control it.

  • It puts our system into an idle mode so it can repair itself – much like when we are asleep.

The exercises have proven highly effective as an aid to the treatment of chronic illnesses, as a method of recuperation, for strengthening the constitution of patients after illness, and in developing a very sound, healthy and strong physique.

 The standing training (Zhan Zhuang) method of intention attitude skill has been shown to improve muscle strength in skeletal muscles by as much as 10% or more without performing progressive resistance exercises “weightlifting”.

For the martial artist, these exercises are the pathway to skill advancement and self-awareness no matter what the current level.


  “Non-action is the real action.

One Hundred acts are not as good as one moment of silence.

One hundred exercises are not as good as one moment of stillness”

“Big action is not as good as small action.

Small action is not as good as non-action.”

                                                                                                                     Wang Xiang Zhai


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