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Zhong ding means central equilibrium. And although I had come across the term, from reading books on Taiji Quan or traditional Chinese martial arts. The concept was demonstrated to me by my Shifu.

There was a YouTube video of him demonstrating this feat. A couple of students apply pressure to push him over. However, he maintains his centre absorbing the pressure and allowing it to disperse into the ground.

It is a remarkable sight that baffles people and baffles, even more, those who have limited perceptions as to what is possible with the human mind.

My current understanding as I practice, is that zhong ding is the connection you have with the ground or the earth technically. With practices like Zhan Zhuang, one learns to drop tension into the ground, balance the forces acting on the body. The action and reactionary forces, of these forces, the main one is gravity, which derives from the earth. So, by relaxing into gravity, one connects with the earth. How do you achieve this or practice it? I have written an extensive article on Zhan Zhuang and you can have a look at it here.


Of the many benefits, is the more grounded or rooted you are, the more you can manage stress. The goal is emptiness. You empty your mind of your thoughts and everything. The intent goes to the ground.

Now what happens is that when we relax tension down, vasodilation occurs. The blood vessel expands and the sinews open and with this comes some discomfort, which is normal like growth pain. Or when you stretch, you, however, are stretching more of the inside than the outside. Vasodilation is said to drop blood pressure, and ultimately when one ends doing the drills or the Taiji Quan form, you would feel more relaxed.

On a combat aspect, a strong base meaning being rooted generates more power, from the ground, which enters from the feet and up the waist and out the hands, if one launches a punch. A strong root will therefore allow for better issuing of power. From relaxing the joints in the hands and sinews and the whole upper body, we can achieve this.

Here is a video me using the zhong ding concept in step rooting.

By refining your root, this will equally have the health benefits mentioned above and from a martial art aspect, it allows for better power generation. And this is one of the ways Taiji Quan uses the “zhong ding” concept for health and combat. Also, by absorbing pressure, one can control and redirect an opponent’s force. A key skill in Taiji Quan.

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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