The history of Chi Kung, particularly of its foundation Zhan Zhuang, dates back several thousand years to the time of the Yellow Emperor, who lived around 2000 BC.
A personal connection to this living tradition is an important aspect of studying and practicing Chi Kung.
Students of Chi Kung in the Tradition of the Masters are part of an ancient lineage of transmission from master to student.
A tradition that came to the West only a few decades ago by Master Lam.
Grandmaster Wang Xiang Zhai
The foundations of the Zhan Zhuang system, as we know it today, have been laid by Grandmaster Wang Xiang Zhai. He is recognised as one of the most famous martial artists of the last centuries, celebrated for his unmatched mastery of fighting skills.
In addition to his prowess in martial arts, culminating in his development of Da Cheng Chuan, The Great Achievement, Grandmaster Wang Xiang Zhai is also known for applying Zhan Zhuang to health preservation and healing. He is the founder of the first Chi Kung hospitals in China.
Professor Yu Yong Nian
For many years, Professor Yu was head of the Da Chuan style of Zhan Zhuang Chi Kung.
Professor Yu Yong Nian was one of the most important students of Grandmaster Wang Xiang Zhai and began his training with him in 1944.
He received many honorable awards and was adviser to the American Chinese Chi Kung Association and Honorary Member of the Council of the Association of Chi Kung Science of the People’s Republic of China.
In 1953, Professor Yu introduced Zhan Zhuang as a method for treating chronic diseases at several hospitals in China.
After the great success of using Zhan Zhuang for therapy, he had been asked to write the first treatise on Zhan Zhuang for hospitals in China.
His first book was published in 1982 and has sold over 500,000 copies.
Master Lam Kam Chuen
Master Lam Kam Chuen has learned Zhan Zhuang directly from Professor Yu and introduced Zhan Zhuang to the West in 1987.
In 1991, his ground-breaking book “The Way of Energy”, the first in a series of books from Master Lam, was released and became the best selling title of the publishing house.
In 1995, Master Lam’s video “Stand Still – Be Fit !”, the very first video on Zhan Zhuang, was shown on Channel4 in the UK. Since then, it has been repeatedly shown on TV due to its overwhelming success.
Madame Wang Yuk Fong, daughter und spiritual heir of Grandmaster Wang Xiang Zhai, transfered the responsibility of continuing the tradition to Master Lam.
The Next Generation
The profound art of Zhan Zhuang Chi Kung has been passed from master to master in an unbroken succession over the centuries.
Each lineage holder has ensured that the art is taught to a new generation of students.
Master Lam Kam Chuen has authorised a number of his senior students to teach the art under his guidance and to hold the title “Sifu”.
Sifu Thomas is one of them.
Sifu Thomas Apfel is a student of Master Lam since the beginning of the 1990s.
He brought Zhan Zhuang Chi Kung to Germany and is the founder of the Chi Kung Academy.
As a “Disciple” he belongs to the inner circle of Master Lam’s students.
In consultation with Master Lam, he trains and qualifies Chi Kung teachers in the traditional way of the Masters.
Thomas has travelled extensively in China, gaining a deep insight into the culture and philosophy of this fascinating country.
Since 1997 he has been teaching Chi Kung and organising workshops with Master Lam.
Thomas Apfel is the author of several articles published in the Taijiquan & Qigong Journal, the leading German-language publication for these arts.