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THE DAN TIAN (or Tantien)

This is the zone or field that is located towards the interior of the navel, between this and the ´´ming men´´ which is the acupuncture point in the lumbar curvature. There exist 2 versions of its location, one of them is situated about 3 fingers below the navel (in Chinese, it would be ´´3 cun´´, 1 ´´cun´´ is equivalent to the distance between the central knuckles of the middle finger although in every region there is also differences with the measurements. The other is situated, not below but behind. It is said that a master, in his deathbed confessed to his most loyal disciple about the location while lying down. Later, another influential disciple with asked the previous disciple about the last words of the master and the other disciple, between the compromise to his master and that of his co-disciple, chose to tell him the literal words, ´´ the dan tian is below the navel´´ although not specifying that these words were said while the master was laying down.

Also, it is said to be 3 ´´dan tian´´, lower, middle and upper. For many, the lower tan-tien lies in the zone of the navel, the middle in the solar plexus and the upper in the part of the skull included in the intersection of the horizontal line from the ´´zû qiào´´ (roughly between the eyebrows, the third eye´´) up to the back part and the vertical line from the crown (in Chinese, bâhuì). This zone corresponds to what the Chinese call the ´´ní wán gong´´ (literally: the muddy ball palace). For others (for example Feng Shiqiang) the tan-tien of the navel would correspond to the middle tan-tien, the lower would be situated above the hui-yin (perineum) and the upper would be the cited ´´ní wán gong´´.

In Taoism and Chinese medicine, at the time of practice ´´xiu-lian´´ it is only talking about one tan-tien, the ´´zhèng dan tián´´, ´´zheng´´ means ´´in the centre´´, ´´central´´, ´´principal´´. It is the tan-tien situated in the intersection of the vertical lines from the crown to the perineum and horizontal from the navel to the ´´ming-men´´ (life door, also understood as the door of life and death and that the other important point is situated at the lumbar zone where it is most curved. It is in the tan-tien where the pre-heaven ´´qi´´ is stored (see glossary)

When we speak, not more, from the tan-tien in tai-chi chuan, we are referring to that which is situated at the navel zone. The tan-tien is the energetic centre and is very important in tai-chi chuan. Perhaps the point that we should exercise is that in tai chi chuan, if one seeks to overcome, there is a need to orientate oneself towards the practise of the ´´original qi´´ and it is in the tan-tien where it is stored.


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