Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Addendum to Earlier Posts: Dantian as Origin of Forces

During a two-handed push against your partner’s chest there should be a jin path, of course, but a western engineer will see that push differently than a traditional Asian martial-artist that uses a dantian-centric art.   From a western perspective, there is one line from the ground to the hands (in a coherent body), but from a traditional Eastern dantian-centric viewpoint, forces originate from the dantian and go out simultaneously to the legs and hands.

While this perspective doesn’t make a lot of sense, at first, it actually does a lot to help understand the discussion about the muscle-tendon channels, forces, connections, the dantian’s control of the body and so on that are described in the earlier essays on this blog.   Because of a few side questions about this aspect, I decided to add this to the baseline level of knowledge that is helpful for people to understand.




  1. Hello Mr. Sigman - just a quick thought: these two views might bot be in strict contradiction to one another.. the first (seems to) deal with force in terms of "Biomechanics" - the other (seemingly) with "Energy" - that most difficult to explain / vaporous of terms.. While part of me enjoys the philosophy of language, the old ex martial artist in me was often annoyed by constantly misunderstanding the often bizarrely convoluted (and often just plain wrong) attempts by instructors to explain what's happening - *especially* when they performed their movements correctly and my heels left the ground. Sincerely, Phil Raptor

  2. Hi Phil:

    Actually,IMO, the western view is fairly simply about forces which use the ground as a base. The dantian-centric view is influenced more by how forces from the ground are utilized. I knew about this "dantian origin" of forces long ago, but it a long time before I understood it in the context of manipulating forces on a sophisticated level. But regardless, both ways describe getting a force to the hands, but the eastern way describes more in a "how it's done" way.

  3. I have a lot of mid-back problems, which is what brought me to Tai Chi in the first place.

    Through the school and a kinesiology coach I've been learning a bit about the psoas muscle. It is a large trunk muscle that connects your back to your thighs and is vastly overused by most of us westerners. Because of where it is and how it attaches it puts a lot of sheering stress on the spine. It's also part of the reason we have problems with range of motion.

    The antidote for this, I am told, is to involve a few of the outer thigh muscles (posture and stance) and all of the abdominal muscles - the dantian. With the load shared more evenly around the trunk muscles you are less tense, more mobile, and stronger.