Yang Tai Chi – Keeping the energy in the Dan Tien.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 03:58PM
Bob Boyd


How often have you heard the term “keep the energy in the Dan Tien?” Do you understand the practical application of this concept?

Although it is a Yang Family principle, it is also found in other classic kung fu systems like Shaolin Temple Boxing and Ba Gua. Unfortunately, its true method was often held secretly, or was lost from one generation to the next. Great Grandmaster Yang Sau Chung, fourth generation head of the Yang family, clearly explains how to keep the energy in the Dan Tien in his book “Practical Use of Tai Chi Chuan.” He says it is done by “hollowing the chest and loosening the waist.”

However, there is a common misconception in Yang tai chi that this is accomplished by hunching the back, folding in the chest, and letting the abdominal muscles slacken. This is not only very wrong, but also potentially harmful to the practitioners health.

In my book, “Snake Style Tai Chi Chuan, The Hidden System of the Yang Family,” I explain that the act of “hollowing the chest to raise the back” is a bio-mechanical movement using internal, core muscles that connect the bottom of the feet to the the crown of the head by uniting muscle, tendon and fascia into a dynamic internal “bow string.” I describe “loosen the waist” as the act of softening the lower back muscles, buttocks and hamstrings. When both are done properly, the muscles below the navel pull in strongly toward the spine. This action “activates” the Dan Tien and “keeps” the energy there, creating a powerful and rooted posture.

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