Dantian -- north vs. south, hard vs soft

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

Re: Dantian -- north vs. south, hard vs soft

Postby everything on Wed Mar 25, 2020 8:09 am

Hey thanks for the drawings and explanations and videos, guys. Personally, I can only follow the microcosmic orbit aspect. Will have to come back to this later.
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Re: Dantian -- north vs. south, hard vs soft

Postby Peacedog on Thu Mar 26, 2020 5:06 am

So far most of the discussions have centered on rotating the dan tien up/down the vertical axis.

In several meditative traditions I'm familiar with, a horizontal rotation of the dan tien is used extensively. Taoist techniques like "stirring the cauldron", Tibetan bumpachen and nauli kriya in Hindu yogic traditions are common applications of this.

This video is of bumpachen, in Spanish, shows the movement starting at the 2:30 point.



And of course, this is nauli kriya.




Has anyone here used horizontal rotations martially? Obviously things like hooking punches and the more rotational oriented kicks would seem to benefit from this.

And for you pervs out there, just look up "sexy nauli" on youtube.
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Re: Dantian -- north vs. south, hard vs soft

Postby roger hao on Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:09 am

Fu Style uses a horizontal rotation.

Answers part of the question of 'what is the twisting and spinning all about?'
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Re: Dantian -- north vs. south, hard vs soft

Postby Formosa Neijia on Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:18 pm

Peacedog wrote:So far most of the discussions have centered on rotating the dan tien up/down the vertical axis.

In several meditative traditions I'm familiar with, a horizontal rotation of the dan tien is used extensively.

Has anyone here used horizontal rotations martially?


One of the things I'm promoting in my above posts earlier in the thread isn't to rotate the dantian around a vertical or horizontal axis-- it's to move it forward and back. The horizontal (forward/back but not rotational) movment of the danitan is much more important than up/down or side-side for martial purposes.

Making a circular rotation vertically or horizontally is too slow for many combat applications.

i also think using the word rotation causes confusion.
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Re: Dantian -- north vs. south, hard vs soft

Postby everything on Fri Mar 27, 2020 6:12 am

If possible, you guys give a simpler example, say ward off in push hands?
Or some basic non striking, non grappling, non throwing, non locking example.

How does this (rotation or whatever we call it) help in this basic case or what does it seem to help? Or does it?
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Re: Dantian -- north vs. south, hard vs soft

Postby Trick on Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:12 am

vertical, horizontal, diagonal, round and round spinning your imaginary inner belly button. some serious introspective navel gazing going on
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Re: Dantian -- north vs. south, hard vs soft

Postby everything on Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:08 am

Trick wrote:vertical, horizontal, diagonal, round and round spinning your imaginary inner belly button. some serious introspective navel gazing going on


I don't need any visible movement to do that ... but OTOH small movements in, for example, hand position in zhan zhuang with absolutely zero movement change the structure, outer shape, inner energy stuff in a tangible way. So if we are talking about something sort of "beyond" that, I'm curious in case anyone is willing to elaborate. If we're talking only about outer movement, not really as curious lol... unless maybe you could give an example with, say, basketball shots or golf shots or something "simple". No worries if not...
Last edited by everything on Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dantian -- north vs. south, hard vs soft

Postby D_Glenn on Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:53 am

Formosa Neijia wrote:
Peacedog wrote:So far most of the discussions have centered on rotating the dan tien up/down the vertical axis.

In several meditative traditions I'm familiar with, a horizontal rotation of the dan tien is used extensively.

Has anyone here used horizontal rotations martially?


One of the things I'm promoting in my above posts earlier in the thread isn't to rotate the dantian around a vertical or horizontal axis-- it's to move it forward and back. The horizontal (forward/back but not rotational) movment of the danitan is much more important than up/down or side-side for martial purposes.

Making a circular rotation vertically or horizontally is too slow for many combat applications.

i also think using the word rotation causes confusion.

In the Yin style Bagua I do, the Lion System has purely horizontal power. It takes a lot of dedicated practice but it’s using the transverse abdominal muscles, which can become really powerful and the amount of growth they can develop is essentially unlimited (Dantian just gets bigger and more solid). And the ability to contract gets faster. You have to develop the same skill used in Nauli Kriya because if you can completely relax one side, then the other half can contract more powerfully and quickly. Jinbao can even sync up the arms to the contraction, but sort of parsing out the degrees, so he can hit you with a turning of only say 10 degress, with more power than you can get out of a full length of contraction and 170 degrees of motion and momentum. It’s crazy. Most Chinese arts don’t ever delve this deeply into the horizontal power. It has to be felt first hand in order to understand the potential.

.
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Re: Dantian -- north vs. south, hard vs soft

Postby johnwang on Fri Mar 27, 2020 1:52 pm

Formosa Neijia wrote:Making a circular rotation vertically or horizontally is too slow for many combat applications.

i also think using the word rotation causes confusion.

The horizontally rotation makes perfect sense when you apply the "切 (Qie) - front cut".

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Re: Dantian -- north vs. south, hard vs soft

Postby C.J.W. on Fri Mar 27, 2020 6:30 pm

johnwang wrote:
Formosa Neijia wrote:Making a circular rotation vertically or horizontally is too slow for many combat applications.

i also think using the word rotation causes confusion.

The horizontally rotation makes perfect sense when you apply the "切 (Qie) - front cut".

Image



He is rotating his hips like a hula dancer, not his dantian. ;D
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Re: Dantian -- north vs. south, hard vs soft

Postby C.J.W. on Fri Mar 27, 2020 6:44 pm

I suppose there's some confusion at play here due to translation. The original term for dantian rotation in Chinese is 轉丹田, with 轉 often translated as "to rotate" or "rotation." However, 轉 can also simply mean to "turn" with the connotation of "adjusting and changing angles." The meaning that better describes dantian movement in combat, IMO, is the latter.
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Re: Dantian -- north vs. south, hard vs soft

Postby everything on Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:06 pm

dantian can be translated as "cinnabar field". here's a fairly random (to me) article about dantians in general coming from Taoist "neidan" practices starting from about 165 CE. https://www.goldenelixir.com/jindan/dantian.html - these dantians are energy centers "devoid of material counterparts". "field" seems like an apt translation, not just literally.

what's probably a massive source of confusion is that the body's center of gravity is often around where the lower dantian is located (but not always as in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSW8gXm ... e=youtu.be). and that MAists and all athletes need a kinesthetic understanding of this CoG. almost all sports use a turning of the body around this area. many people say baseball is the most difficult sport. I'd say golf is the most difficult for normal people. Turning of this area is critical, but that doesn't need to have anything to do with the cinnabar fields and internal energy work, neidan and neigong and neijing. It would be really interesting if the teachers were talking about all of the above, but it certainly doesn't sound like it at all. ???
Last edited by everything on Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dantian -- north vs. south, hard vs soft

Postby Formosa Neijia on Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:53 pm

Trick wrote:vertical, horizontal, diagonal, round and round spinning your imaginary inner belly button. some serious introspective navel gazing going on

Not navel gazing at all, but in fact a lot of practical physical exercise. Perhaps that's going over some people's heads.

everything wrote:... change the structure, outer shape, inner energy stuff in a tangible way. So if we are talking about something sort of "beyond" that, I'm curious in case anyone is willing to elaborate. If we're talking only about outer movement, not really as curious lol... unless maybe you could give an example with, say, basketball shots or golf shots or something "simple". No worries if not...


Nothing IMO will change your movements in tanglible way more than this if you've never done it. This is one of the missing keys for a lot of people. Tying this into the other neigongs is almost obvious. So-called "outer" movement and "inner" movement are connected. The videos provided above should be enough to get started. Another accessible source in the West is Dr. Yang's Taichi Qigong DVD. That's the only place I've senn it talked about in detail via English video.

D_Glenn wrote:In the Yin style Bagua I do, the Lion System has purely horizontal power. It takes a lot of dedicated practice but it’s using the transverse abdominal muscles, which can become really powerful and the amount of growth they can develop is essentially unlimited (Dantian just gets bigger and more solid). And the ability to contract gets faster. You have to develop the same skill used in Nauli Kriya because if you can completely relax one side, then the other half can contract more powerfully and quickly. Jinbao can even sync up the arms to the contraction, but sort of parsing out the degrees, so he can hit you with a turning of only say 10 degress, with more power than you can get out of a full length of contraction and 170 degrees of motion and momentum. It’s crazy. Most Chinese arts don’t ever delve this deeply into the horizontal power. It has to be felt first hand in order to understand the potential.


Thanks for chiming in. I was hoping you'd get the chance to respond. Thanks for pointing out what style you meant as it gives people direction where to get more good stuff in this vein. I found that bagua systems that overemphasize coiling make dantian movement hard to do but other systems with different body movement styles are more conducive to it. BTW, I've seen some Yin style people completely against the idea of a hard dantian and some Cheng style people definitely okay with it so the breakdown is 100% one way or the other. It seems to come down to the individual teacher.

I bolded the part you wrote about actually using the muscles and how the potential for the training is nearly unlimited. I think a lot of people miss this. Doing these physical exercises produces results on day one.It isn't some nebulous "do this for 20 years to be effective" thing. As you get into it, you can tell it can be endlessly refined. I guess that's why I'm so excited about it. Once you get the basics, there are more advanced teachings but it mostly depends on your willingness to do the exercises. I personally enjoy practices that encourage individual effort and this is certainly one of those.

johnwang wrote:The horizontally rotation makes perfect sense when you apply the "切 (Qie) - front cut".

Ok but we're talking about dantian movement, not hips. I think hip movment is widely understood. As I have already said, full circular dantian rotations maye be good for larger,slower apps like throws and push hands but many of the Fujian systems (granted not all) train, shorter, sharper dantian movements for rapid-fire punches and other hand techniques.

C.J.W. wrote:I suppose there's some confusion at play here due to translation. The original term for dantian rotation in Chinese is 轉丹田, with 轉 often translated as "to rotate" or "rotation." However, 轉 can also simply mean to "turn" with the connotation of "adjusting and changing angles." The meaning that better describes dantian movement in combat, IMO, is the latter.

Yes, this is causing a lot of confusion. i was confused in Chinese for years because how the 丹田 was 轉ing wasn't being made clear. "Dantian breathing" helps in a way because people can at least picture it moving in and out but HOW it's moving still isn't clear from the term and often people aren't more specific about what they mean. As I said elsewhere, loose kungfu-ey clothing doesn't help.
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Re: Dantian -- north vs. south, hard vs soft

Postby Formosa Neijia on Fri Mar 27, 2020 9:27 pm

everything wrote:dantian can be translated as "cinnabar field". here's a fairly random (to me) article about dantians in general coming from Taoist "neidan" practices starting from about 165 CE. https://www.goldenelixir.com/jindan/dantian.html - these dantians are energy centers "devoid of material counterparts". "field" seems like an apt translation, not just literally.

what's probably a massive source of confusion is that the body's center of gravity is often around where the lower dantian is located (but not always as in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSW8gXm ... e=youtu.be). and that MAists and all athletes need a kinesthetic understanding of this CoG. almost all sports use a turning of the body around this area. many people say baseball is the most difficult sport. I'd say golf is the most difficult for normal people. Turning of this area is critical, but that doesn't need to have anything to do with the cinnabar fields and internal energy work, neidan and neigong and neijing. It would be really interesting if the teachers were talking about all of the above, but it certainly doesn't sound like it at all. ???

For some of us, the location of the center of gravity and the lower dantian is not a coincidence or that the two have no relation. For some of us, they are intricately linked.

Some of my teachers have said that dragging in neidan into martial arts is not only not necessary but that it was a big mistake. Not all chinese styles think Couching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was a documentary instead of a work of fiction and not all styles promote becoming a frog immortal or giving birth to some immortal baby in your dantian. ;)

There is a difference between martial neigong and religous neigong and most teachers aren't making the distinction.

The problem is partially that some people seem to want something nebulous and non-physical because that's supposedly somehow "real IMA" when moving the dantian like this is actually part of the neigong process itself (at least for SOME systems) and it's actually doable. Many don't see it because they are drowning in endless theory about the yijing, luo river diagrams, and a bunch of other stuff that few understand and even fewer can show you how to practice. I was excited to find this stuff because it ties a lot of things together but teachers that have built their empires on expounding for years on things like the nejing tu (example below) will reject it because it puts the good stuff directly into the hands of the people, which IMO they don't want.


It goes beyond the intent of my thread but from what I can tell, the southern systems have a much simpler theoretical explanation for what's going on because they focus on actual exercises designed to produce the jins. Most (NOT ALL!) northern-based IMA teachers love to charge people for years of endless theory due to the white-collar nature of most IMA people. That prduces little results for many people. Southern styles are done by blue-collar guys that don't have time for endless pontificating. If it doesn't work fairly quickly, they won't do it. This causes IMA to feel superior because their method takes longer but that's a false assumption. It takes longer cause it's stuffed with theory instead of actual things people can do beyond forms. Something that works relatively quickly can still be almost endlessly refined, as in D_Glenn's post above. And his posts on this topic shows that similar practices are done in some versions of IMA.

Now to be clear, southern guys aren't always good at describing the way things work and my most productive work was done with teachers that knew southern and northern styles. They had the vocab and ability to describe things better(and I don't speak Taiwanese, a big drawback in this area), so there is that. But obviously those teachers are rare.
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Re: Dantian -- north vs. south, hard vs soft

Postby D_Glenn on Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:49 pm

Formosa Neijia,

I am finding it hard to teach and convey this. We generally use the word ‘Yao’ (waist), but it’s understood that this means the whole spherical like shape of the lower torso, essentially your guts, which can also be referred to as one’s external Dantian. Where one’s internal Dantian resides in that and it deals with all the meditative stuff of Daoism. But since the writings don’t differentiate the two, they stick to using the term ‘Yao’ when talking about martial and Dantian when talking about meditation, but it needs to be understood that the waist is the whole sphere within the area where the waistband of our pants are. (Maybe we should create our own agreed upon term :D )

Since we need to turn the Waist/Dantian side to side by using the Transverse Abdominal Muscles. Kind of like if it were a giant eyeball looking to the left or to the right. But in order to actually turn (zhuan) we need to have the abdomen pressurized from within. So that the Transverse abdominals are contracting against a curved convex surface. Which is what causes the actual turning.

Where in the Nauli Kriya the transverse abdominals just collapses inward.

If you’re putting your mind there, or even gently placing the palm of your hand over the area of your belly button, then you might be able to feel the turning causing a tugging at the fascia that runs out to the navel. But that’s very subtle.

So it might be better to just have people watch the Nauli Instructional videos but with it not being a long term goal. You just need to gain somatic control of the Transverse Abdominals so that you can isolate each half. Also, in the Chinese Internal arts that’s not healthy because it’s constantly affecting your own a Inferior Vena Cava and Abdominal Aorta. And the whole point of having a solid Dantian is to protect those and have more room for them to be dilated.

I’m constantly looking for new ways to teach. I might have to start looking at the Southern Styles now.

.
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