Wang Xiang Zhaï (1886-1963) was born and grew up in the Shen Xian district of the Hebeï province. He started out at a very early age practising different martial arts, and at the age of 14 he began his study of xing yi quan under the supervision of the famous Master Guo Yun Shen. Master Guo chose to focus on teaching the young student standing meditation – zhan zhuang. For 4 years the young man was forced to practise standing without asking questions as to the purpose of the practise.
The anecdotes tells that when the training took place in winther time, Master Wang wasn´t allowed to to leave the positions before the ice was melted under his feet! For a young man – to go through that kind of training, where the punishment for not obeying was to be beaten up – was on one hand a hard task and on the other hand it build up a strong discipline.
Master Wang developed an exceptional high level in xing yi quan. It is important to understand that standing practise normally was something which was only taugth to very close students – who already had accomplished a very high level – so it was a great honour and a indication of his potential to teach him at such a young age.