The Dan Tian

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

The Dan Tian

Postby charles on Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:12 pm

what i am talking about are powered helix. which means that the coils are created by dantain rotation.


I've been working on the script to an instructional video. The video is an introduction to "silk reeling", which is a foundational skill for most of Chen style Taijiquan - and I'd argue, some other styles as well.

Typically, the beginning student of Taijiquan is taught something called "silk reeling exercises" (chan si gong) and/or empty-hand forms. Once introduced to these, the student usually just keeps plugging along, practicing the same choreography they were taught over and over again. In the teaching of these things, the teacher often speaks of some mysterious things called "qi" and "the dan tian". Some teachers will speak of moving and "rotating the dan tian" and "circulating the qi".

Many students, faced with the void of any real experience or understanding of these things, and what these things practically involve, fill the holes with whatever the student thinks the teacher might have meant. A common result is that there are lots of practitioners - many of whom have been at it for a long time - who talk academically, and with authority, about qi, the dan tian, "rotating" the dan tian and silk reeling, but actually have little or no physical skill at doing the things they talk about - and no concrete way of teaching it to their students.

So, here's the question for y'all. How do you go about explaining/teaching this stuff to beginners in such a way that they actually develop skills in finite time.

For example, In concrete terms and language - for beginners and with absolute clarity,

1. What is "silk reeling" (chan si jin)?
2. What is its purpose - why bother with it or studying it?
3. what is "the dan tian"?
4. what has the dan tian have to do with silk reeling?
5. What is the oft-mentioned "dan tian rotation" - what physically is one doing and what is one "rotating"?
6. Are the dan tian and the waist the same thing? If not, what's the difference?
7. Do we even need to mention the "dan tian" - is development of "the dan tian" a requirement for developing skill in Taijiquan?
8. Do we even need to mention "qi" - is "qi development" an essential requirement for developing skill in Taijiquan?

It is surprising how often these things are mentioned, but how difficult it is to provide simple, direct, functional working descriptions of the terms that are constantly thrown around and how to effectively develop these things.
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Re: The Dan Tian

Postby windwalker on Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:25 pm


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ttVm3Gig1E

Most teachers that I know or know of
are quite clear in their descriptions, as to what, why and how.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jDP3sfJCuI

Here the teacher talks about what you've mentioned and gives his
idea of the progression of training.

"they seek skills that they are not ready to achive"

totally agree.
Last edited by windwalker on Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Dan Tian

Postby willie on Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:28 pm

[quote="charles"]
You are in for a rude awakening.
Last edited by willie on Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Dan Tian

Postby windwalker on Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:53 pm

Many students, faced with the void of any real experience or understanding of these things, and what these things practically involve, fill the holes with whatever the student thinks the teacher might have meant. A common result is that there are lots of practitioners - many of whom have been at it for a long time - who talk academically, and with authority, about qi, the dan tian, "rotating" the dan tian and silk reeling, but actually have little or no physical skill at doing the things they talk about - and no concrete way of teaching it to their students.

So, here's the question for y'all. How do you go about explaining/teaching this stuff to beginners in such a way that they actually develop skills in finite time.


How can you ask a question that you first negate, by saying
they actually have little or no physical skill at doing the things they talk about - and no concrete way of teaching it to their students.


What if some here feel you have no skill or understanding in the things you post about.
Last edited by windwalker on Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Dan Tian

Postby charles on Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:04 pm

willie wrote:I don't think you know what your talking about to the degree that you think you do.


Perhaps not.

When i spoke of applications you kept shrugging it off and said "Dime a dozen".


As I've explained each time you quote this, there are many possible applications for each movement in the form. Learning some possibilities for each and every move in the form is part of one's education, part of understanding why the form is done the way it is done and in developing "intent". One is usually taught applications after having learned the form and practiced it for a year or more. It is a stage of learning. Everyone has his or her own favourite applications for each movement.

As one progresses, one learns to apply effective responses that are not this particular form movement or that particular form movement. Instead it becomes "what is needed" and relies upon the skills that one should develop from empty hand practice and partner practice of rote applications.

In short "everyone" learns applications, few get beyond that into doing "what is needed" when it is needed so that it isn't just a collection of memorized applications that look like moves out of a form.

Then you stated and removed that Laojia doesn't have body mechanics.


I have never, ever stated that any aspect of Chen Taijiquan is without specific body mechanics. I have no idea where you got that idea.

Then i asked you to show me clips of your group, which you did. They don't have it.


I don't have a "group". There are a few videos of my primary teacher on Youtube. I have occasionally referenced those, never any of "my group". Feel free to post those of my teacher and comment on how "they don't have it".

You are in for a rude awakening.


I welcome your awakening me. How about starting that process by answering the questions I've asked in the OP.

Let's attempt a civil, respectful discussion.
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Re: The Dan Tian

Postby willie on Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:14 pm

[quote="charles]

guaranteed.
Last edited by willie on Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Dan Tian

Postby charles on Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:21 pm

windwalker wrote:What if some here feel you have no skill or understanding in the things you post about.


I'm sure there are some here who feel that way. I'm okay that they feel that way. Are you one of them?


I've worked hard over the course of two decades trying to figure this stuff out. I've had good teachers, bad teachers, famous teachers and not-famous teachers. There is lots I don't know and skills I don't have.

The questions that I have asked, above, are, purposely, very, very basic questions. Most practitioners I've met cannot answer them in meaningful, practical ways. I suspect that many here can't either. I'd be happy to hear the responses of those who can, particularly if they don't feel I understand these basics. I'd be happy to have their insights.

In the second video you posted, he makes it clear that students shouldn't bother with "jin" or "dan tian" for the first ten years. Is that how you learned, with no mention of jin, qi or dan tian for the first 10 years?
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Re: The Dan Tian

Postby charles on Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:27 pm

willie wrote:...every damn thing you say is wrong.


Thank you for your clarity.

With that clear, you no longer need to post a response to anything I write since it is now clear that I'm wrong on anything I write. It's just understood that I'm wrong. Henceforth, it is a waste of your time and effort to point it out.
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Re: The Dan Tian

Postby GrahamB on Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:34 pm

How is a thread like this ever going to not be peppered with infinite versions of 'you are wrong and I am right'?
"The killer in me is the killer in you"- The Smashing Pumpkins.
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Re: The Dan Tian

Postby willie on Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:37 pm

GrahamB wrote:How is a thread like this ever going to not be peppered with infinite versions of 'you are wrong and I am right'?


you're right.
Last edited by willie on Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Dan Tian

Postby GrahamB on Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:45 pm

Don't tell me - you're going to make This thread great again?
"The killer in me is the killer in you"- The Smashing Pumpkins.
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Re: The Dan Tian

Postby willie on Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:52 pm

charles wrote:
willie wrote:...every damn thing you say is wrong.


have a nice day.
Last edited by willie on Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Dan Tian

Postby Ian C. Kuzushi on Thu Feb 09, 2017 5:10 pm

-loco-
文武両道。

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Re: The Dan Tian

Postby ThreeFourFive on Thu Feb 09, 2017 5:57 pm

You are too nice Charles... It's much appreciated. :)

I think producing descriptions and explanations for this stuff might be a separate skill unto itself. Explaining anything to a beginner of whatever is challenging enough. But we have to start somewhere, right?

I suppose different folks would naturally have different explanations as varied as human personality in general. One set of explanations would naturally have some people "getting it", and yet others scratching their heads. Can't please everyone... We're already seeing that in this very thread... ;) There is also the issue of how deep the rabbit hole should be dug... Volumes of books or hours of discourse would actually be easier to produce than short and sweet versions... In that sense I'm not sure it's possible to produce absolute clarity of these terms for beginners.

For instance, in context to IMA, moving "qi" can be seen as a somatic perception associated with manipulating force and momentum. This is why certain visualizations can produce subtle changes in body mechanics and produce results. A simple example is the old "unbendable arm". Imagining the arm as a fire hose works well for most, but it does not explain how or why it works. That's where "silk reeling" might come in. Which is also a somatic allegory. I personally don't know how to go from there, to a beginner anyways... It's not just IMA, either. I mean, how the hell to you tell someone who's never been on a bike what to "feel" for to keep balance?
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Re: The Dan Tian

Postby nicklinjm on Thu Feb 09, 2017 5:59 pm

This could have been a very instructive and educational thread. Instead, Willie has just basically pissed all over it. Why don't the mods do something about this?
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