Long pig

Not too much to report at present. Sometimes when wake up at night, my fingers hurt from being tensed during zhan zhuang. I’ve started using the steel rings on my wrists in some postures.

The pair of blackbirds nesting nearby are getting pretty used to me now, especially the female. She darts around my feet while I’m practising the ba mu zhang (slowly, of course). She’s even coming within a few inches of me while I dig up the lawn to become a vegetable plot, hopping here and there in search of fresh, juicy worms. The male is more cautious, and won’t come near. This evening, the female landed right in front of me, and pulled a large worm halfway out of a large clod of earth, held it for a while, and then hopped off. She was looking at the male, perched nearby on the ridge of the greenhouse, as if to say “Look, it’s OK! It’s safe, and there’s good eating!”. I think she’s mentally classified me as strange but useful type of livestock; good at churning up earth, but not dangerous. A pig, perhaps.

There are times when I’m standing in zhan zhuang, maybe in the morning with all different kinds of birds flying about, and the sun just creeping into the corner of the garden, or in the evening with the mud from the garden drying on my fingers, when I simply don’t want to do anything else. I think of the hermits that Red Pine met in China, and I think to myself, this is how they live. Meditation, martial arts, growing their own food, close to nature and in harmony with the wildlife. Could anything be better?

Well, that isn’t an option for me at this time, but I’ll tell you what: these sessions of practice, morning and evening – nothing else comes close…


  1. Hi,

    You mentioned that you’re using steel rings in some of your zhan zhuang. Is this part of YiQuan as you studied it? Or some other tradition you’ve trained in?




    1. Hi Tristan,

      No, it’s just something I’m doing to help develop strength; we didn’t do it in Beijing.


  2. I know what you are talking of. Would give up my teaching job at university any time if they granted me a pension half the salary, lol.
    3 hrs CMA, 3 hrs writing, 3 hrs organic gardening, that’s my dream!


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