Xingyi Quan Appreciation Volume 1: Santi Shi and Dai Style's Squatting Monkey

In Xing Yi the main standing practice is San Ti Shi –三体式 (Traditional Chinese: 三體式)
The gate to enter stillness (入靜, ru jing) lays in not doing (无为, wu wei) anything about what is experienced.
The practice of not doing is learning to give up (舍, she). Most importantly it is giving up wanting things to be different.
The practice of giving up is to neither drop nor resist (不丢不顶, bu diu bu ding).
It is not just standing there like a moron, it is completely alert as if the hair was on fire, vitally interested in what is going on and at the same time completely without unnecessary tension and striving.
Here opens the gate to true stillness. In the vital aliveness of spacious awareness where right action (正業, zheng ye) or the action of no action (无为之为, wu wei zhi wei) spontaneously (自然, ziran) arises.

There are two kinds of practice of San Ti – a static practice and a dynamic one. The dynamic one is basically moving back and forth between contracting and expanding from side to side while standing for a short time (10 breaths or so) in each posture whereas the static practice means to stand for much longer time in the San Ti posture. Sun Jian Yun recommended an hour of San Ti every day but said that her father would sometimes stand for 4-5 hours without a break.

In “The true meaning of Martial Arts” Sun Lu Tang says: “And so it is that this boxing art is a single continuum of both internal and external. Movement and stillness have the same source. Form and function have the same method. Hence it is the case that “stillness is the fundamental form and in movement lies the function”. ”

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The practice of Dai Family Xinyiquan starts from its most important and most secret standing exercise - Squatting Monkey Stance (Dun Hou Shi).

It is called so because of its similarity to a standing monkey, waiting and looking around with attention. Usually beginners stand in a squatting position for extended periods of time to strenghten legs and sink down Qi. After that, they practice this method in movement - squatting and straightening up. Body should be relaxed, breathing natural, movement very slow. The exercise, although looks simple, is in fact very complicated - there are many specific requirements for all parts of the body and overlooking any of them may not only hinder one's progress, but also be harmfull, especially because of vertical movement of backbone on its whole length. The key to proper practice is understanding of "Three Curves Gathered Together" (San Yuan Ju Yi), e.g. correct alignment of lower, middle and upper part of the body.

The goal of the exercise is to acquire the ability to Contract (Shu) and Expand (Zhan) body and to develop Dantian. For this reason it is also called Shen Fa (Body Method) or Nourishing Dantian (Yang Dantian).

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Added on December 5th, 2019
Last updated: February 16th, 2020