Chapter 4

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 excerpt

 

 Reasons to Stand

 

When we arrived in Sydney and went to pay our first visit to Master Chen at his house, we caught glimpses of the lesson he was giving to two pupils in the garden. Peeping out from the window, I saw them standing still with their arms up, in the shady practice area beneath the trees. Surprised, I said to Ben, “They are standing!” Fifteen minutes later when I took another peep, I heard myself saying, “Ben, look! They are still standing!” And so did we, when our lessons began.

Staying at the Chen house in Sydney, we would see our teacher standing in the garden first thing every morning. Later, when we or others having lessons were in ZhanZhuang, he would stand again with us, after twenty minutes or so of giving adjustments to our postures, a few tweaks at a time, with pauses in between while he contemplated his life and we tried to accept our present. Ben and I had jumped into the deep end, and we started off our ZhanZhuang life with half-hour standings. As challenging as this was, we soon got used to it and before the year was out, we were into one-hour standings as part of our daily practice.

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