[Path to Mastery 4/14/10 – Wk31 D3 (Str 9.12.09)(Ph2 11.15.09)]
Continuing our Tai-Chi Journey:
Now that we have discussed the Dan-Tien from an energetic view, let’s cover it from the physical perspective, the opposite perspective, the Tai-Chi way! This will be the last principle we cover on Relaxation.
We covered the physical location of the Dan-Tien previously when I covered ‘Chi Sinks to Dan-Tien’ in principles regarding the lower body in the alignment chapter (Covered on 3/16). Now let me add a little more detail. Besides, being 3 finger widths below the belly button, and a third of a distance from the front inside the body, the Dan-Tien is located between the 3 points, the Ming Men (across your belly button on your lower back), and your Kwa (the crease where your thighs meet your pelvis). Of course it is not in the center of these 3 points, but it feels like the Dan-Tien sits on a point where these 3 points converge. I jokingly refer to it as the holy trinity because these 3 points always have to move together as one.
Gabriel told us that when you move, your movement starts from the Ming Men. I asked him “What about the Dan-Tien?” since every book on the market said that you had move from the Dan-Tien. He said the Dan-Tien was where the weight was, and what kept the body centered and stable. It was like an anchor.
When your Ming-Men moves, since it is your spine, your entire body moves immediately. Now for the entire body to move in unison, the spine needs to move in coordination with the 2 ball joints where your femur (thigh bone) adjoins the socket in your pelvis. As you are reading this, you should try moving your 2 ball joints from your Ming-Men. Now try moving one ball joint in order to the other ball joint and your Ming-Men. Switch between the sides. You will notice that your shifting and rotation is a lot easier and your movements will be a lot smoother. This kind of stable movement causes relaxation, and you will feel your lower abdominal (Dan-Tien) area relaxing deeper and getting a fuller feeling. Most likely one of these 2 methods will work better for you depending on your make up and where you are in your training.
The key here is that you move all 3 in unison and awareness. This brings about relaxation and the relaxation sinks to your lower abdomen, which means that they actually settle to your pelvis. Traditionally, Dan-Tien means the field where Chi can be cultivated (For details, review the Lower Body principles in the Alignment Chapter, when we were covering ‘Chi Sinks to Dan-Tien’ (Covered on 3/16)). So, the Dan-Tien is like a storehouse for Chi. Now, translating that into physical terms, feeling that your Dan-Tien is full of Chi would mean that your organs are relaxed, your guts are full of blood from the relaxation, and your guts are settled in your pelvis so your lower abdomen feels full. This fullness secures the spine and allows it to move against a stable environment. Of course since the spine is supported and secured, the whole body can relax deeper as well. So in summary, the relaxation fills the Dan-Tien, and the Dan-Tien secures the spine, and that in turn relaxes the body even further. It feels like a pole that is secured to the center of a tire. If the tire is not full and heavy, the pole is going to be wobbly.
As a minor point, when you relax, and the tension goes away, you can feel how the body is connected to the Dan-Tien and your waist in a kinetic chain, a chain of muscles that work together. You feel how all movements come out from the Dan-Tien and the waist.
Chi Sinks to Dan-Tien can be approached from different angles. You can produce it through using the mind, and you can also achieve it through moving from the holy trinity. You have also learned how to do it using alignment from previous chapters. In the end all these are variations on how to relax the body enough so that the energy flows and the body reaches a resting point. Only then can you produce powerful movements that come out like a wave from the Dan-Tien. This concludes our discourse on Relaxation Principles.
History of Tai-Chi Journey up to this point:
Before the blog opened to the public, we covered the single person part of the system.
1. Chi-Gong (Taoist Longevity, White Crane Chi-Gong); 2. Standing Meditation
3. Stepping Mediation; 4. 7 Basics; 5. Basic Form; 6. 30 Form; 7. 108 Form
8. 4 Type Pushing Hands
Interactive training after we went public with the blog.
1. 8 Type Pushing Hands (Covered from 2/2 ~ 2/11); 2. San-Shou (Covered from 2/12 ~ 2/15)
3. Ba-Gua.(Covering from 2/16 ~ 2/19); 4. Weapons (Covered on 2/23)
5. Healing System (Covered on 2/24)
1.Introduction (Covered 2/25); 2. Free moving – conditioning (Covered 2/26); 3.Free hand pushing hand (Covered 3/1); 4.Free hand (2 person drills and multiple person drills) (Covered 3/2); 5.Free hand weapon (2 person drills and multiple person drills) (Covered 3/3)
1.Principles (Covered 3/4)
2.Principle of Principles (Covered 3/5)
3.Principles of Upper Body #1~5 (Covered 3/8 – 3/15)
4.Principles Governing Lower Body #1~5 (Covered 3/16 – 3/22)
5. Principle Governing the Whole Body: (Covered 3/23)
6. Principles Governing Movement #1~5 (Covered 3/24 – 3/31)
7. Principles Governing Relaxation – General Concept (Covered 4/1)
1) Mind Body Release Relax (Covered 4/6)
2) Use mind not use strength (Covered 4/7)
3) Internal external mutually integrate (Covered 4/8)
4) Dropping the Weight (Weight Underneath) (Covered 4/9)
5) Extend into infinity (Covered 4/12)
6) Chi Sinks to Dan-Tien (Covered 4/13~4/14)