Qigong, also written Chi Gong or Chi Kung, literally translates into Energy Exercise. Zhan Zhuang is the qigong system with the longest tradition which can be traced back 27 centuries. It is the foundation of all qigong styles and is characterised by its great effectiveness and efficiency to help stimulate and balance the internal flow of Chi energy.
In China, the knowledge of the key importance of Chi has been cultivated and refined over thousands of years. This insight and wisdom is being applied to prevent diseases and premature aging and to heal sicknesses.
My teacher is fond of saying…
“the Art of Zhan Zhuang is like a fully grown tree, with many branches coming from one root. The different branches of the art include health, medical, martial and meditative applications. The diversity of branches give shape to the tree, making it naturally balanced, vibrant, abundant, generous, and strong.”
Through the practice of Zhan Zhuang we are able to take advantage of our whole potential – physically, mentally and spiritually – without becoming exhausted. This is achieved in a completely natural way without the need for fighting ourselves.
Over thousands of years, the knowledge of cultivating this inner power has been passed down from generation to generation in China. For a long time, Zhan Zhuang Chi Kung has been a well kept secret. It is only since the mid 1940’s that Zhan Zhuang has been taught and discussed publicly.
This tradition is alive – and was introduced to the West by Grand Master Lam in the 1980’s.
Grand Master Wang Xiang Zhai
(1886 – 1963)
The founder of Zhan Zhuang Qigong
Suffering from chronic poor health, the young Wang Xiang Zhai began studying Zhan Zhuang (‘standing like a pillar’, i.e. standing still) under his uncle, Guo Yun Shan. With practice, Wang Xiang Zhai developed robust good health and formidable skills in martial arts.
After Guo Yun Shan’s death, he journeyed for more than ten years throughout China, studying under great masters of his days. His name is renowned with many tales and achievements in both his early and elderly years. Recognized as a master of extraordinary wisdom and prowess, Grand Master Wang Xiang Zhai is most accredited person for unlocking the secrets of Chi Kung for the modern world.
By the mid-1940’s, Wang Xiang Zhai had developed a new style of boxing, widely hailed as supremely effective for both health and self-defense. The foundation practice of this boxing was Zhan Zhuang, the practice of simply standing still.
Professor Yu Yong Nian
Second generation Lineage holder
Born near Beijing in February 1920, after completing his initial schooling, Professor Yu was sent for specialist medical education in Japan.
Fully trained in contemporary Western medicine, and having qualified as a dentist, he returned to China, and began work at the Beijing Railway General Hospital.
Three years later, finding himself exhausted from the constant long hours of dental practice, he began training under Grandmaster Wang Xiang Zhai.
After nine years of training, Professor Yu introduced aspects of Zhan Zhuang as treatment for internal disease at the hospital. His initial successes led to a major medical conference in 1956, at the Beijing Shoudong San Hospital, that introduced the Zhan Zhuang system to hospitals throughout China.
Professor Yu then began teaching Zhan Zhuang publicly, in the mornings in Yun Tan Park, Beijing. Ever since, he has continually promoted Zhan Zhuang for health inside and outside of China. He had written numerous books, and been a member of China’s National Chi Kung Research Council, and consultant to the American-Chinese Chi Kung Research Group and to the Da Cheng Chuan Zhan Zhuang Chi Kung Research Groups (Europe).
Professor Yu who sadly passed away in October 2013 was recognised as the leading authority in the art of Chi Kung.
Grand Master Lam Kam Chuen
Third generation Lineage holder
Born in Hong Kong shortly after the second world war, Master Lam began his training in the martial and healing arts at the age of 11.
He went on to open his own martial arts school and clinic, specialising in herbalism and bone-setting. He also studied other classic Chinese Arts including Feng Shui, Astrology and the I Ching.
Grand Master Lam’s meeting, and subsequent training, with Professor Yu had a profound effect. He recalls: ‘After this I changed everything, using the forms I already knew, but with a new power that gave my martial arts new life.’ (from: The Way Of Power, by Master Lam Kam Chuen).
In 1976, Master Lam moved to London, and became the first teacher of Tai Chi for the Inner London Education Authority. In 1987, Master Lam gave the first public demonstration of Da Cheng Chuan in the West, and has progressively and gently introduced this art to the West.
Grand Master Lam has written dozens of books on Zhan Zhuang, Tai Chi, Feng Shui and on Chinese tea culture. Master Lam continues to research and teach his arts across the world.
He is one of the most highly trained and deeply knowledgeable experts in the art of healing and the study of internal strength currently practicing and teaching in the Western world.
Master Lam’s dedication to this art led him to being acknowledged as a lineage-holder of the tradition by his master and Madam Wang Yuk Fong, the daughter and spiritual heir to Grand Master Wang Xiang Zhai.
Sifu Tony Dove
Fourth generation Lineage holder
Sifu Tony Dove is a disciple of Master Lam and has trained with him for approximately the past 30 years, and has taught for 20 years.
Before committing full-time to teaching Tai Chi and Zhan Zhuang, Tony’s career in Special Needs Education culminated in his appointment as Operations Manager of Include Bristol, providing educational opportunities to young people excluded from mainstream schools.
In 2000, Tony was asked to develop Falls Prevention classes of Tai Chi and Zhan Zhuang for a Primary Care Trust and Social Services, to over 50’s. The benefits were scientifically measured, and the group as a whole improved out of the ‘at risk of falling’ category within a few months.
Since moving to the West Country, Tony has developed regular classes for the community, regardless of age or ability. He continues to develop his speciality in teaching classes for the over 50’s; and for those with chronic & acute medical conditions.
5th Generation Lineage holder
Jack has had the privilege to train directly under the expert guidance of Sifu Tony Dove and also attend regular workshops and classes taught by Grand Master Lam. Jack would like to express his utmost gratitude to Sifu Tony Dove for generously sharing his deep understanding and personal knowledge of this profound art.
After a lifetime of teaching thousands of students, Grand Master Lam acknowledges less than 40 teachers in the Lam Association. Jack is Tony’s first student to start teaching and the first in the UK to reach the level of 5th generation lineage holder.
During his 20 years of training Jack has studied various styles of tai chi and qigong, and has been teaching part time for the past 7 years.
This website is dedicated to all the masters of the art of Chi Kung. In particular Great Grand Master Wang Xiang Zhai, who unlocked the secrets of Zhan Zhuang and opened it up to the world in the middle of the last century. To Professor Yu who introduced the healing aspects of this art into the hospitals of China and through great personal risk introduced the art to Grand Master Lam. To Master Lam for a life time of training, research, ongoing teaching and for introducing the art to the West. And my personal teacher, Sifu Tony Dove for his dedication, commitment, limitless knowledge and endless encouragement in passing on the art.
Jack’s aim is to (hopefully) follow in the footsteps of these great masters, healers and teachers, and to pass-on his knowledge and inspire the Nation of Wales to Get Up, Stand Still and Be Fit.
Jack is a member of the West Country Lam Association, which is run by Sifu Tony Dove.
Dragon Nation covers everything from weekly community lessons to personal training and corporate classes.
These simple exercises are based on a series of static postures, and with dedicated personal practice are the secret key for a healthy and happy and joyful life.
Zhan Zhuang increases the body’s capability to heal itself, therefore all manner of health conditions can be improved by this amazing art.