A dragon is still, hence it is able
to constantly transform itself.
A tiger is busy, hence it dies young.
~ Ho Shang Kung, 150 BC
Those who govern with virtue are like the
North Star, which remains in its place while
the myriad stars revolve around it.
~ Confucius, 500 BC
Action is the beginning of chaos.
Stillness is the origin of order.
~ Yen Tsun, 25 BC
Wu Chi is an ancient Chinese exercise system that appears to consist of nothing more than simply standing perfectly still. It seems almost unbelievable that something so simple can have such a profound effect on your overall level of health, both mental and physical. Nonetheless, I believe you will be pleasantly surprised the first time you experience the power of stillness.
Wu Chi can be a valuable addition to your martial art workout no matter what style you may already practice. With daily practice of as little as 20 or 30 minutes you will notice an increase in physical strength. However, it will not be the type of muscle strength most people are familiar with.
The strength that comes from Wu Chi comes from energizing the bone marrow. It then radiates outward to the surface of your skin and even beyond in the form of bio-electric/magnetic energy. You can actually feel this happening. The resulting strength is light, lively, and quick. You become very agile and able to respond to any situation with minimum physical effort and maximum strength.
Old kung fu masters described the strength as “iron wrapped in cotton.” When someone tried to grab or strike one of these masters they would be surprised to feel their punching power completely dissolve. It would feel as though they had hit a feathered pillow. There next surprise would come when they felt the hardness of the master’s arms or legs.
Wu Chi also helps develop the connective tissue so they stay strong and flexible. This means that you will be less likely to suffer sprains or pulled muscles. The less time spent in recovering from joint problems means more time for training as well as more productive practice sessions.
How is it practiced? Follow the simple instructions below. Start off with 5 or 10 minutes and work up to an hour or two.
- Stand up in a relaxed manner.
- Your feet should be shoulder width.
- Both of you feet should be pointed straight ahead and flat on the floor.
- You should feel stable, centered, rooted to the earth.
- Relax your body. All matter sinks naturally. It’s a property of gravity.
- Keep your head, as though a rope attached to the top of your head pulls you upward.
- Your eyes can be either closed or about half way open, unfocused.
- Breathe in and out through your nose in a relaxed, easy, and regular manner.
- Your arms should hang down in a relaxed manner at your sides.
- Relax the shoulders and let them hang down.
- Some recommend that you keep the tip of your tongue lightly touching the roof of your mouth.
On one hand, the practice of Wu Chi is very simple. On the other hand, Wu Chi is very demanding. I personally have 6 books on the practice of Wu Chi. Like any other physical regimen, the more you practice the deeper the practice becomes. I would recommend the following two books to begin experiencing the power of stillness.