Chi Kung means the cultivation and training of ‘Chi’, the vital force of life. It is an essential part of the Chinese medical and martial arts tradition.

It offers everyone, at all levels of fitness, a method for cultivating their health and strengthening their immunity. It also offers a step-by-step path for people wishing to regain their vitality, especially those who are recovering from illness or injury. With Chi Kung, older people can rediscover their stamina and resilience. Young people often find that Chi Kung helps to harmonize and focus their energy and give them a sense of calmness.

Within the Chi Kung tradition there are many schools and interpretations. One of the most powerful styles is called Zhan Zhuang Chi Kung, freely translated as ‘standing like a tree’. The training consists of standing still in various postures, first for short periods, later for longer. Even though this method seems too simple to produce results, its effectiveness has been demonstrated over the centuries.

Zhan Zhuang (pronounced 'jam jong') is a complete system for the cultivation of Chi, bringing together in one practice time-tested healing techniques, the martial arts and mind-body awareness. It is sometimes known as ‘the art of recharging your batteries’.

The name of the complete art, of which Zhuan Zhuang Chi Kung forms the basis, is Da Cheng Chuan, the Great Accomplishment. Over the years, practitioners devote most of their training to Zhan Zhuang Chi Kung, the postures (standing, sitting and lying down) which strengthen the internal structure and power of the body. Built on this foundation of Zhan Zhuang Chi Kung are six other stages of advanced training. The seven stages of Da Cheng Chuan are:

Zhan Zhuang Chi Kung: standing, sitting and lying down postures to strengthen the internal structure and power of the body.

Shi Li: literally ‘power testing’: movements that test the body’s inner power though slow, repetitive motion.

Zhou Bu: step training, the equivalent of Shi Li for the legs. During the movement the body stays balanced and stable.

Fa Jing or Fa Li: literally ‘explosion force’, an essential part of the martial training, with techniques to improve body control, as well as speed and flexibility of response.

Tui Shou: literally ‘push hands’, also translated as ‘circling hands’ or ‘sensing hands’. These are exercises with a partner that develop the practitioner’s ability to deal with the force of another person and stress in general.

Shi Zhan: the martial application of the previous training.

Jian Wu: a free-form dance of energy that makes all the training part of your second nature.
The founder of the contemporary form of Zhan Zhuang Chi Kung is grandmaster Wang Xiang-Zhai (1885-1963), a famous practitioner of China’s classical martial arts. He showed how stability, power and responsiveness could be trained by the careful practice of standing still.

One of his closest students was Professor Yu Yong-Nian, a professor of dentistry. In the 1950s he introduced Zhan Zhuang Chi Kung into Chinese hospitals. Professor Yu, now in his eighties, took the Zhan Zhuang Chi Kung out of its martial art environment and made it much more widely available for health and healing.

Professor Yu taught this remarkable system to Hong Kong-born
Master Lam Kam-Chuen. In the 1980s Master Lam, who now lives and teaches in London, United Kingdom, introduced Zhan Zhuang Chi Kung to the West. He is the author of the ground-breaking books: The Way of Energy, The Way of Healing, The Way of Power, Everyday Chi Kung and Walking Chi Kung.

Peter den Dekker is a European senior student of Master Lam. Since 1985 he works as a teacher of traditonal Chinese medicine. The last twenty years he teaches Zhan Zhuang Chi Kung in The Netherlands and various European countries. In 2010 Peter de Dekker published the book
The Dynamics of Standing Still.