Why Tai Chi tendons stretch so Important

Very few people understand what tendons are, especially those who practice martial arts. Without understanding this principle, many of their martial skills remain elusive, impacting the effectiveness of their practice. First, we need to dispel a notion: tendons are not just the few large ones, like those in the feet and hands. The correct view should be: tendons are everywhere.

Traditional Chinese medicine emphasizes Qi and blood but seldom mentions tendons, which are secrets kept within Taoist or martial arts communities. The human body has twelve major meridians and also twelve major tendon channels. Qi moves the blood, and where there are meridians, there are blood vessels, and I must add: where there are blood vessels, there are tendons, and where there are tendons, there are meridians. Because tendons nourish Qi, Qi nourishes blood, and blood nourishes tendons. If tendons grow an inch, life expectancy increases by ten years. Whether for martial arts or health cultivation, training tendons is crucial.

People often marvel at the explosive power displayed by internal martial arts masters during combat, such as Guo Yunshen’s punch that can send someone flying a yard away, Shang Yunxiang’s step that covers nine feet, or Sun Lutang’s dragon-shaped jump that leaps more than a yard. Where does this power come from? It comes from the tendons. All martial arts techniques in the world prioritize tendon training; all our various techniques ultimately aim to train tendons. Some people are naturally strong, which is due to naturally strong tendons, not just muscle size.

In Chinese martial arts, there are no weight classes. It’s common for a smaller person to fight a bigger one. For example, Li Shuwen and Sun Lutang, both of whom were small, never hesitated to fight bigger opponents. Han Muxia fought Kang Tai, Han being 1.8 meters and Kang two meters tall, and Kang was brought down by Han’s single palm strike, unable to move. This is because we train tendons, producing lively strength, not brute force. Of course, if you are tall and can also train, it’s an added advantage, like Yang Luchan, who was nearly 1.9 meters tall.

So how exactly do you train tendons? As I’ve said before: tendons are nourished, not stretched. How to nourish them? Tendons nourish Qi, Qi nourishes blood, and blood nourishes tendons. When Qi and blood are plentiful, tendons are nourished, just like plants in soil grow robust with good fertilizer. The key is Qi and blood. If Qi and blood flow well and are vigorous over a long period, your tendons will be nourished. People have this experience: drink some alcohol, circulation speeds up, and you feel strong all over; this is the principle.

Most people’s tendons are in a dormant state, especially in those who are physically weak, with no strength to tie up a chicken, their tendons are soft, like noodles. To open up the tendon channels and push Qi and blood through them, each martial art school has different methods. For example, Shaolin uses various Qigong techniques and herbal wines for assistance. Ba Ji Quan’s Yi Jin Jing opens each acupoint one by one, once all are open, the tendons are sorted. As for internal boxing? We don’t train that way; we turn towards the innate.

Who has the most vigorous Qi and blood? Newborn babies. Laozi said: “Can you concentrate your Qi to be as supple as a newborn?” Upon hearing this, the wise should have an immediate enlightenment. We who practice internal boxing, break Yin and Yang, return to the innate, and naturally our Qi and blood become vigorous. How is Tai Chi practiced? Without using any brute strength, mind empty, one set of movements circling around, aiming to return to that innate state, that’s the work being done, gradually internal strength emerges.

I’ve said before, whether cultivating the Dao or practicing internal boxing, what’s most important? Your heart is most important. Hold on to the primordial unity, only then can we talk about what follows. Some people practice for many years without achieving mastery, then you should look for where the mistake lies. In internal boxing, boxing is the skill, the skill is the boxing, it all depends on how you train. Now you know the principle of standing post, and you understand the so-called principle that boxing is in the post, the post is in the boxing, when one understands, all are understood. Full circle post, three-body post are all good posts.

Standing post was an innovation by the ancients, its function is to let you directly mobilize Qi and blood in the innate state, to open up all the body’s tendon channels. As long as you stand correctly, you will feel comfortable all over, with vigorous Qi and blood warming up, skin

feeling taut, hands and feet enlarging, body getting heavier – this is the sign of open tendon channels, tendons becoming tough and thick. Once the whole body is trained like this, a transformation occurs, and you can generate force from anywhere to strike.

Alright, I’ve revealed the big secret, let’s see how many can grasp it. At the very least, you should know how to practice yoga now, right? Each movement must be entered into tranquility to be effective because without tranquility, Qi and blood cannot be activated. In fact, a few movements are enough, if done correctly and held for a few minutes or even longer, then effects will emerge. Modern yoga has forms but lacks proper practice, be careful if practicing extensively. Also, after practicing, make sure to walk around to disperse the blood.

Leave a Reply