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WHAT IS SINKING IN TAI CHI?

I stand to be corrected with my explanations and may correct what I have written soon. On the subject of “sinking” in Tai Chi/ Tàijí quán 太极拳. This basic term refers to letting go off on any tension from the top of the body and allowing it to sink all the way into the ground.

How?

By adjusting your body’s posture as is dictating in the 10 essences by Yang Cheng Fu, for example. Sinking the chest, raising the back and the other steps that follow. There are a few articles here on deadlyduels on this subject. However, these adjustments are physical, but they allow to facilitate the “sinking”-the dropping of the weight down.  

One must practice this to utterly understand, you need to be able to understand the dropping of the weight and the “letting go of the tension”. What the posture adjustments does, is that it balances out the forces acting on the body. Namely gravity, you are not going against gravity, so you not resisting as you would when weight lighting. Thus, the impact is more on the internal-the inside of the body, then the external-the muscles.

You may feel discomfort in your sinews in the beginning, the dropping of weight pumps the blood opening the blood vessels. While you keep the intent on “relaxing” all the weight down. By relaxing what is referred is not slumping down or being floppy, but its a reference to allowing the body and mind to settle in a state of equilibrium as closely as possible.

For example, tucking in the coccyx, as if you about to sit down. While rounding and raising the back, has the motion going up. So, from the back of the heel up to the crown or baihui point. Part of the Du Mai channel. The motion/energy flows up back and down the centre of the front of the body. A circuit is established, more can be said about this. But when sinking, by having the mind/intent focus on the ground. A potential difference is established. The reactionary thrusting force from the ground is guided back down, preventing any tension being kept up, and diminishing the effect of holding on to tension. That is why they say, “the yang pushes up” by focusing on the ground you are allowing they dynamic flow of the yang to the yin and back and forth.

Connecting to dantien

When sinking your intent goes to dantien and as it connects with dantien, dantien then connects with the ground via the feet. In the centre point of the ball of the feet, is a point called, “Yongquan” or the “bubbling well” this is what connects to the ground or connects the dantien to the ground. This connection derives from the sinking, via the use of intent, the mind’s mental force.

The sinking is fundamental for connecting to dantien and many things with regards to health and martial aspects. From health, getting the blood flowing, from a martial aspect this allows you to absorb and redirect incoming force. Sinking and moving at an evenly pace in Taiji Quan is essential in facilitating understanding taijiquan fundamentals. Once properly grasped, and one can demonstrate, one can then apply the movements fast. Amongst the fundamentals is ting jin, the ability to detect an opponent’s intent or force allowing you to understand, neutralise and redirect it.

Written by Narcisse Sadi who is a Tudi (student) of Dr Jeff Lan.  He is a certified 1stDuan Health Qi Gong by the International Health Qigong Federation. And  a 1st Duan Yang Style (Cheng Man Ching lineage) Tai Chi Chuan Instructor, certified by Dr Jeff Lan. 

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