Ba Zhanxi Lianxi
Ba Zhanxi Lianxi is the Eight Stance Exercises. This set of exercises is crucial for advanced stance development. It is important for new martial artists and for the perfection of more seasoned martial artists. Ba Zhanxi Lianxi is an internal Qi Gong set focused on developing strong stances by coordinating simple exercises on the right and left side of the body to change from stance to stance correctly, pivoting on the heel rather than the toe. This way, stance movements are solid with the ground even as they shift and turn different directions. This course is required for all new students of the Immortal Kung Fu Academy. I have been to many competitions and I cannot tell you how many times I have seen judges give out low scores to competitors because they had bad stance changes in their routines.
Stances should be solid, they should not be unbalanced and shaky. One should develop strong legs through stance training as a prerequisite to learning kung fu forms, otherwise, the student will constantly be corrected for incorrect stance changes and it can be very frustrating for both the student and the instructor. Good stances will also keep you less prone to injury and allow you to move faster. Stances are your root to the earth, and they must be strong to develop endurance for the challenging Kung Fu routines. They also discipline your lower body so that you will later be able to better develop your upper body. Strong stances make or break a martial artist.
The movements themselves have martial applications with hand movements and can be combined in a continuous practice, changing from stance to stance in different orders, for a total of 64 combinations that correlate with the i-ching, the Chinese Oracle, the book of changes. The stances you train are Ma (Horse), Gong Jian also known as Pa Shan (Bow and Arrow or Mountain Climber Stance), Hu (Tiger), Yin Dan (High Lotus), Qi Lin and Dan (Unicorn and Lotus), Ji (Rooster), Wu also known as Mao (Empty and Cat), and the Tai Ji (Tai Chi) Stance. There are progressions of these exercises that allow a person to go from beginner to intermediate to advanced; increasing strength and mobility with each progressive level.