Confusion between sinking into the DAN TIEM vs ROOTING the FEET

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by TaiChiMulan, Jul 12, 2015.

  1. TaiChiMulan

    TaiChiMulan New Member

    From what I understand about Tai Chi (I've been taking 'online' lessons, to see if I enjoy it).
    Here are the basic "steps'' needed before you can properly go into a 'form':
    1) Awareness that your muscles are 'alive'.
    2) With that awareness, relax your muscles from inside themselves: layer by layer, relax your skin - bones - muscles - nerves - joints - tendons too (is that even possible?)
    3) Now that your body is relaxed, you can start 'sinking' them into your DAN TIEN.
    And that's where it gets confusing for me. Some teachers teach that the goal of Tai Chi is to drop / sink everything / all the energy FROM your Upper Burner of the Body down into your DAN TIEM (the DAN TIEM is 'located' between the smaller and bigger intestines, in your Center of Gravity). The DAN TIEM acts as a battery, a central source of enegry, that will THEN disperse the energy (of the upper burner) stored in it, throughout your body: either upwards in the body (ABOVE the DAN TIEM area) or downwards in the body (BELOW the DAN TIEM area).
    Some teachers teach that the goal of Tai Chi is to 'root' / 'sink your feet' into the ground -- this means that the energy in the DAN TIEM itself should 'drop' down into your hips, thighs all the way into your feet -- but won't this mean that now it's the FEET (and NOT the Dan Tiem) that will act as a battery, because it has absorbed the energy of the Dan Tiem (which has absorbed the energy of the upper burner of the body, in the first place)?
    I thought the energy of the body should be focused in the belly / Dan Tiem area, not anywhere else. I understand that all chi flows FROM the belly / Dan Tiem, or flows TO the belly / Dan Tiem (depending in the movement). So what do the FEET have to do with that? And technically speaking, how can the Lower Burner of the Body 'sink' into the DAN TIEM -- doesn't 'sinking' mean that something has to go down, NOT up?

    And what do people mean by upper DAN TIEM, middle DAN TIEM, lower DAN TIEM?


    By the way, step # 4) would be to "LENGTHEN" the energy in your body -- but I'm not there yet : )


    Another post, regarding the DAN TIEM, from another MAP user:

    Without turning this into a major thesis, it is due to the physical attributes of the intestinal tract and it's center of gravity, it's ability to act like a huge conductive battery, that this point is the logical heart of the Dan Tien; it is a giant battery for bio electricity. So we see that with the triple heater Qigong that we do ( if you do this ) you are actually developing and storing Qi. Cultivating it in the lower, storing it in the middle physical Dan Tien, and then circulating it via the upper Dan Tien . The brain is the upper Dan Tien, the middle Dan Tien is the true physical Dan Tien and the lower Dan Tien is the Dan Tien of mind or the lower heater.

    You can get into absurdly deep discussions on a scientific level and begin using chemistry to show results with all this. Essentially the answer is yes and no and it depends on the Dan Tien your are discussing and the context within which you are referring to it.
  2. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    "Online" lessons is your first mistake - you simply cannot learn properly that way

    Get to a decent class, practice dilligently and most of these questions will answer themselves
  3. TaiChiMulan

    TaiChiMulan New Member

    I can't -- I don't have the money or time -- I am trying to learn CERTAIN Tai Chi concepts to integrate them for other sports, and for my general health. I am the kind of person who learns by really UNDERSTANDING a concept, not by FEELING a concept-- I can't feel it if I don't understand the 'hows and whys' of a concept. That concept has to make logical sense, before I can integrate it into movement. I would just be asking my poor instructor all these questions, which he or she would have no time to answer -- I tend to learn differently than most people : )
  4. gapjumper

    gapjumper Intentionally left blank

    And that comes with proper training.

    There really are no short-cuts.
  5. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    If its important you find a way...if not you find an excuse

    Online lessson arent free and with the money spent on that you could have had a month of lessons and actually learned something substantial

    Online is not the way...especially with an art like tai chi
  6. embra

    embra Valued Member

    Online and/or DVD of a conventional art is difficult enough - and serve as little more than reference point material - where you basically know what is what.

    TaiJiQuan and associated arts are way too complex to learn without very, very good instruction. Even with good instruction, such arts are damm difficult - and often down to fairly threadbare inter-generational oral transmission and interpretation.

    Without serious teaching, it is likely to be a waste of time. I can see that some top performance Gymnasts <<might>> be able to grasp some concepts of TaiJiQuan with minimal instruction - regarding whole body movement, rhythm, timing; but even there, I think they would struggle with basic footwork, understanding what the postures meant and how to interpret them martially and thus for Forms.
  7. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    You need feedback from a qualified instructor to learn martial arts. You need them to look at what you are doing and make corrections. You need to be able to ask questions when you don't understand and get them to explain it. (MAP cannot replace this latter point.)

    Studying from different video's from different lineages is only going to confuse you. TCC in particular has a LOT of very poor quality video's and youtube. For example: I can find lots of good Choy Li Fut on youtube, but hardly any decent Yang Style TCC.

    Also, you need partners for push hands and drills to understand the martial applications.

    I am very much into understanding a concept too. But feeling is a part of TCC. Push hands is all about learning to feel an opponents energy and to redirect it against them. I can do a new move and just "feel" if I am not doing it correctly. That is when I go to my next lesson and show my instructor and they correct it by explaining it. Getting a right feel for things is part of learning MA's.

    If you don't have time to learn a MA, then it isn't a priority and that is ok. But to learn a skill takes time and devotion.

    The money thing, well whenever people start giving details it turns out they almost always CAN afford it, but choose to prioritize other things. For example: how much money do you spend on those other sports? Equipment and all? Do you eat out a lot? Buy coffee at coffee shops like Starbucks? What sort of Cell Phone plan do you have? 99% of the time, a close examination of one's finances shows one could actually afford it, but they might have to give up something else. If it is important enough, you will do it.

    Sorry, but you need a real live qualified instructor to learn a MA. There is no way around this. It simply is true.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2015
  8. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    I've known a few people starting out with this way of thinking.

    There's no two ways about it - it is wrong.

    There are concepts that are impossible to understand and apply until you have developed the sensitivity to feel what's going on, and this can only be achieved through guidance by an instructor. Otherwise, you are merely feeling around in the dark with little hope of success.

    You say that you don't have time to find instruction. Well, an instructor will cut down the amount of time it takes to get this stuff by a huge factor.
  9. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    BTW - One of the instructors at one of my school locations, used to be a pro football player. If you read interviews with him, he integrated TCC into his pro football playing very successfully. He credits his TCC training as part of his success in football. So the idea of using TCC to enhance skills in other sports is a good one- if you do it properly and devote enough time to it.

    Note- he was a pro football player, but still made TCC (and CLF) a high priority and took the time to learn it properly at a qualified school.

    Quinn Early
  10. zombiekicker

    zombiekicker bagpuss

    Absolutely look at the online ninjutsu learning, laughable stuff, a teenager could knock em out with no training
  11. zombiekicker

    zombiekicker bagpuss

    Unless your neo
  12. gapjumper

    gapjumper Intentionally left blank

    Are you?
  13. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    I would also add that OP's idea of basic steps in learning TCC isn't the priority of basics that I was taught.

    Worry more about proper mechanics and the martial reasons behind them. As a beginner, are you making sure your heels are down at the "end stage" of a move and as you shift in moves? That you are peeling your foot heel toe when stepping? Paying attention to empty/ full footwork? Your shoulders down? Your head aligned all the way down your spine as if dangling from a string? Are your elbows tucked down and not out? Do you have proper extension and intention? Where is your eye focus? Are your knees aligned over your toes - not collapsing inwards, but not extending past them? Do you understand the martial reason behind every move? Because that will help you do it properly? Are you managing to not be tense while focusing on all this? Is your tailbone tucked and your weak hip forward enough?

    Sinking and rooting- yes important. But you aren't going to sink or root without understanding the basic mechanics of the moves. You won't be rooted if your heel is up at the wrong time- for example. You can sink your Dan Tien, but if your elbow is out, I am still going to use that to push you off balance.

    Before you worry about upper, middle, and lower Dan Tien, do you know how to basically breath down to it and incorporate basic deeper breathing into your moves in the form?

    IMO, your whole basic focus and priority for a beginner is not where it should be.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015
  14. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    An instructor that doesn't have time to answer questions about what they are teaching would be a very bad instructor indeed. Not just for martial arts, for any teacher teaching any subject.

    Any decent instructor would be encouraging students to ask questions.
  15. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    I can't agree with this enough! Students who don't ask questions I actually give "you need to have at least one question about what I taught today during next class" as a homework assignment.
  16. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Do you? I love that!
  17. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    Very much agree.

    I used to also ask my students questions, and gave them a homework assignment to get some answers. And although when they had returned, some of the answers were incorrect, the answers were very thought-out and intelligent deductive reasoning was used. The idea of that drill (wasn't done on a continuous basis ) was to have my students "think", not just get involved with the physical of punching and kicking-for example

    One of my teachers used to tell me "Don't blindly believe me (him), try to go out and obtain more information

    I also had given my students homework assignments requesting a small "thesis"

    On a few rare occasions, a student returned with something "I did not know"
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015
  18. runcai

    runcai Valued Member

    A very good piece of western contextualization of the literal meaning of Air Sink to the lower abdomen which is simply diaphragmatic breathing with the chest and pubic floor muscles relaxed to generate impact on the lower abdomen while moving.
  19. runcai

    runcai Valued Member

    Sorry, pubic floor muscles should be pelvic floor muscles.
  20. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    I like pubic better :p

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