Horse-Riding Stance

Horse-Riding Stance in Zhan Zhuang


You say zhan zhuang is the most important exercise for internal force. I have done horse stance for many months. Do I have internal force? My legs are strong but I become tired easily.

-- Mark, UK


While zhan zhuang or stance training is the most important exercise for training internal force, not many people practice it correctly, and therefore do not develop any internal force even when they have practiced for a long time.

You are unlikely to have internal force. If you have internal force, you will know it from direct experience, just as if you are happy or hungry, you will know it.

Becoming tired easily is another indication that you don't have internal force. If you have internal force, you can work physically or mentally for quite a long time and yet you won't be tired.

Practicing the horse stance can make your legs strong even when you have not practiced correctly. Indeed, many people mistakenly think that the main purpose of stance training is to have strong legs. This is not so.

The main purpose of stance training is to develop internal force. Another important purpose, though it may not be as obvious, is to develop mental clarity. Of course it must be practiced correctly. Although the stances are quite simple, it is difficult to practice them correctly if one does not learn personally from a competent teacher.


I learn "One-Finger Shooting Zen" from your videos. But I do not feel any chi flow like what you describe. Can one learn from videos?


It is unlikely for one to learn "One-Finger Shooting Zen" correctly from videos or books. It should be learnt personally from a competent teacher.

You may learn the outward form of "One-finger Shooting Zen" correctly from books or videos. This is the technique. But you miss the skill. It is the skill that is more important, especially the skill of generating a chi flow. It is the chi flow that brings about internal force and its resultant benefits.

Many people do not realize this crucial point. They mistakenly think that if they know the techniques, they will have the art and the benefits. This is not so.

As an analogy, you may learn the techniques of swimming from a video or a book. But if you do not have the skills, which you need to learn from a competent teacher, you will still not have the art and benefits of swimming.

Reproduced from August 2012 Part 2 in Selection of Question-Answer Series


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