Zhan Zhuang

I should have mentioned that Zhan Zhuang is not a Chinese vegetable but rather a form of meditative exercise. It is reputed to have many benefits to practitioners (including health) and is the basic training method of internal martial arts such as Yiquan, Hsing Yi and Tai Chi.

It is probably one of the most suitable forms of exercise for chess players in that practitioners become calmer and more patient. Many people equate ‘fitness’ to going to a gym and toning muscles, though this would only be useful should FIDE introduce ultra heavy chess pieces as the tournament standard.

I’ve been practising Zhan Zhuang for almost four years now and have felt massive benefits, especially during the last two. One of the good things about it is that you can watch television whilst doing it, which can be helpful if you progress enough to being able to do longer sessions. Beginners should start with a minute or two per posture and then gradually work their way up.

The Zhun Zhuang form I’m currently practising is the John Ding set for which you can find a link here (‘Guide to Chi Kung Postures’). By all means play around with them on your own but really you need an experienced teacher to correct any errors.