… unless we build it.
Great video post from Nabil Rene whose work in Chen style Tai Chi I’ve been following for a while now. Take a look:
For clarity, his assertion is that the “dantien” is something that doesn’t exist by default, the way, say, your shoulder exists, but that it is formed by the simultaneous actions of other parts of the body. In this case, the hips, back, spine, breathing and more.
I’ve written here before that this is somewhat similar to the idea of the lap in English. The lap is formed by taking a seated position, and when you stand up it disappears.
So, when you form Tai Chi postures, you are also forming a dantien. Or at least you should be.
You can think of this as being an incredibly complicated prospect, but I don’t think you need to. There is also an implied simplicity to the idea. The problem is that when you start out the feeling of ‘strength’ in that area of the body is inherently weak, but correct practice of Tai Chi should be the training you require to start to build that dantien so that it’s a much stronger feeling.
Correct practice on a daily basis is what you need.
Of course, if you talk to Chinese medical practitioners, to them the dantien is as real as any other part of the Chinese medical system, and doesn’t require ‘work’ to exist. But I think that when talking about Tai Chi things, it’s safer to assume that this is not the dantien being talked about.