dantian awareness

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

dantian awareness

Postby everything on Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:35 am

stumbled on this teacher's nice essay about working on the dantian. won't reproduce here as it's rather long. mainly about sinking qi and developing awareness. not really about any "application" in case you don't want to read something that isn't about "application" and "fighting".

https://margaretemerson.com/awareness-dan-tian/
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Re: dantian awareness

Postby charles on Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:56 am

A little off topic, perhaps, but these are photos of the author on her website:

Image

They tell me a little about her training, maybe more than her writing.
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Re: dantian awareness

Postby zrm on Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:29 pm

My original T’ai Chi teacher, Sifu Kao Ching-hua, told me there are five dan tians (principle energy centers) in the body—the primary dan tian in the center of the abdomen, one at the sternum, one at the third eye, and two in front of the armpits. All other sources I’ve encountered agree with the three on the body’s centerline, but I’ve found no other source that mentions the two in front of the armpits.

I've never heard of armpit dan tians. My teacher used to tell me to concentrate on and "open the the armpits" though, but we would also focus on the two corresponding spots for the legs and "open the groin". Strange to visualize additional dan tians for the top half of body and then ignore the bottom half.
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Re: dantian awareness

Postby everything on Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:40 pm

I've never heard of so many dantians but I probably haven't paid that much attention, either. Just mainly focus on sinking qi to "the" dantian. Kind of ignored all qigong aspects for a long time and now pretty much only interested in this aspect (care very little about outward MA "applications" etc etc). yeah yeah gone all hippie and all that.
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Re: dantian awareness

Postby Bao on Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:51 pm

zrm wrote:My original T’ai Chi teacher, Sifu Kao Ching-hua, told me there are five dan tians (principle energy centers) in the body—the primary dan tian in the center of the abdomen, one at the sternum, one at the third eye, and two in front of the armpits. All other sources I’ve encountered agree with the three on the body’s centerline, but I’ve found no other source that mentions the two in front of the armpits.

I've never heard of armpit dan tians. My teacher used to tell me to concentrate on and "open the the armpits" though, but we would also focus on the two corresponding spots for the legs and "open the groin". Strange to visualize additional dan tians for the top half of body and then ignore the bottom half.


No, there's no five dantians. You can see the old neidan charts/illustrations. There is no classic text or drawing showing Dantian at the armpits. How could Qi be stored or be cultivated in the armpits? But maybe they confuse it with different things like "the three gates"? (Which are also not located at the armpits)

charles wrote:... these are photos of the author on her website:
[img]
They tell me a little about her training, maybe more than her writing.


According to what I can see on the website, it seems like she practice and teach forms only.
Last edited by Bao on Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: dantian awareness

Postby Trick on Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:36 am

zrm wrote:My original T’ai Chi teacher, Sifu Kao Ching-hua, told me there are five dan tians (principle energy centers) in the body—the primary dan tian in the center of the abdomen, one at the sternum, one at the third eye, and two in front of the armpits. All other sources I’ve encountered agree with the three on the body’s centerline, but I’ve found no other source that mentions the two in front of the armpits.

I've never heard of armpit dan tians. My teacher used to tell me to concentrate on and "open the the armpits" though, but we would also focus on the two corresponding spots for the legs and "open the groin". Strange to visualize additional dan tians for the top half of body and then ignore the bottom half.

Once i asked one of my teachers here in China about the dantian, he said; The whole body is the dantian,now focus on your practice
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Re: dantian awareness

Postby charles on Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:03 am

Bao wrote:According to what I can see on the website, it seems like she practice and teach forms only.


my first advice is to sit into the hip. There’s a physical sinking that happens—the hip and center of gravity lower slightly as the socket settles securely over the ball or “head” of the femur. The center of gravity shifts so that the weight of the upper body is over the hip. Because the hip is part of the dan tian, hip sitting is a way of maintaining that awareness of the dan tian that is so useful on every level—physical, mental, and spiritual. I stress sitting into the hip with every transfer of weight.


The photo on the left, above, shows me she isn't physically doing what she says. Also, the hip (kua) is not part of the dan tian. Seems likely that she has not understood the role of the kua, how to relax it and how to round the crotch, essential in "sinking qi" and loosening/relaxing the body.

And here another fundamental T’ai Chi concept comes in—song. Song refers to the joints and is often translated as “loosening” or “relaxing.” But I think the words “expanding from within” best express this idea. When we’re relaxed, we’re naturally in a state of song—unconstricted and spacious. We can enhance this by deliberately looking at joints and seeing the bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, and skin softening, opening up, and spreading outward particle by particle—releasing, relaxing, and letting go. I’m convinced I can do this to any one joint in my body and every joint follows suit.


Yet, the photo on the right, above, shows additional evidence that she isn't physically doing what she says.

I've not located any video footage of her to show how she moves. That would tell much more about her "dan tian" than her poetic descriptions and internal musings. I'm wary of people who talk too much about their feelings of things since one can subjectively feel all sorts of things and assign meaning to those things that can be, or are, without objective support. For example, just because I might feel like I am floating in air (levitating), doesn't mean I actually am. Gravity is like that. I might like that sensation of "floating", and pursue it as part of my practice, but it is just silly for me to write about my ability to levitate. And foolish for anyone reading about it to give it a second thought, unless the reader wanted to achieve a similar subjective feeling.

Trick wrote:Once i asked one of my teachers here in China about the dantian, he said; The whole body is the dantian,now focus on your practice


A good answer until the student has put in the prerequisite work for a more detailed answer.
Last edited by charles on Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:15 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: dantian awareness

Postby GrahamB on Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:58 am

I'm not entirely convinced that not 'rounding her crotch-arch' (to avoid Chinese terms) precludes her from having 'developed a dantien'.... if it did then all those XingYi and XinYi practitioners who close the legs together haven't got a dantien either... and I'm always suspicious of the resort to 'structure' as an explanation - it's generally a clue that people don't really understand the depth of what they're talking about... developing a dantien is more about developing its connection to other parts of the body via muscle tendon channels and learning how to use it as a control point for the whole body.

Image

However, most people haven't developed a dantien anyway, so there's no reason to assume she has one ;D
Last edited by GrahamB on Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: dantian awareness

Postby zrm on Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:36 am

charles wrote:The photo on the left, above, shows me she isn't physically doing what she says. Also, the hip (kua) is not part of the dan tian. Seems likely that she has not understood the role of the kua, how to relax it and how to round the crotch, essential in "sinking qi" and loosening/relaxing the body.


Agree. The kua is not a dan tian but the crotch should be opened up like the armpits. She seems to using some kind of visualization to open and round the armpits and conflating that concept of an energetic dan tian. Referring to the center of the chest and the minds eye as the middle and upper dan tians is not that uncommon though.

There's a whole bunch of places that article where it seems that various high level concepts have been conflated together or are being simply visualized instead of felt, which suggests shes had some kind of legitimate training but some things have been lost in translation. I also found it interesting / strange that she can become aware of a microcosmic orbit when meditating but only in the wrong direction.
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Re: dantian awareness

Postby zrm on Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:42 am

GrahamB wrote:I'm not entirely convinced that not 'rounding her crotch-arch' (to avoid Chinese terms) precludes her from having 'developed a dantien'


I would classify these as two different concepts. I think charles was also alluding to that when he said the kua wasn't part of the dan tian.
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Re: dantian awareness

Postby charles on Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:53 am

Graham,

For the most part I agree.

I don't have anything further that I think is worth saying about the article: I'm not going to make a banquet out of a small snack. If others find it useful or insightful, great.
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Re: dantian awareness

Postby Bao on Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:11 am

GrahamB wrote:I'm not entirely convinced that not 'rounding her crotch-arch' (to avoid Chinese terms) precludes her from having 'developed a dantien'.... if it did then all those XingYi and XinYi practitioners who close the legs together haven't got a dantien either... and I'm always suspicious of the resort to 'structure' as an explanation - it's generally a clue that people don't really understand the depth of what they're talking about... developing a dantien is more about developing its connection to other parts of the body via muscle tendon channels and learning how to use it as a control point for the whole body.


Well expressed. If you look at the photos of her, you can see that in both of the pics, she is a bit top heavy. She has not established the dantian as the center. No centralised structure.

Of course you can have a "women's stance", "twisting horse" or "stealing step" in Tai Chi and still use your dantian as the center for your body.
Last edited by Bao on Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: dantian awareness

Postby Trick on Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:51 am

From Dacheng's Wang Xiangzhai tread:


"When mind is observing the space around your body, it should achieve the same level as when observing your own body."
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