Qi Chen Dan Tian or “Qichendantian” or “气沉丹田” are the most commonly occurred phrase when one is learning or describing Chinese martial arts (Kung Fu). The purpose of this article is to provide a detailed explanation on what is Qi Chen Dan Tian so that anyone can visually understand this concept without the gibberish containing religion or artificial fantasy that some people tries to explain it with.
Different style of Kung Fu or even people practicing Kung Fu of even same disciple understands Qi Chen Dan Tian differently. This is normal and they could all be correct to some extent because Qi Chen Dan Tian is meant to be interpreted and illustrated differently for Kung Fu of internal (inner) style to exterior (outer) style.
The first thing we need to understand is Qi, which refers to gas or air or vacuum of energy inside the body. Normally we breathe with our lungs using our chest muscles, but did you know that it is possible to breathe using stomach muscle as well, this is probably the simplest concept that one can grasp and try immediately. When breathing using stomach muscle, then Qi in the lung can be pushed or manipulated to go down the body and into the stomach area.
The word Chen can be directly translated into “sink” or “go down”, and the word Dan Tian refers to “stomach or belly area” in the concept of Chinese Kung Fu. Dan Tian can refer to other parts of the body when referencing Chinese medicine or other religious concepts.
The picture above illustrates Qi Chen Dan Tian by Three Fist Emperor Cannon Master Liu Chang Bo刘长波, a mixed style Kung Fu representing more exterior martial arts concepts. As illustrated by the second picture, the Qi went straight down to the Belly, making it a ball.
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For internal martial arts however, Qi Chen Dan Tian is not as visually obvious as external martial arts. The Qi still sinks to the belly but does not grow like a ball. This is because it is unnecessary (opinion of most internal Kung Fu masters) to do this because the fighting style of internal martial arts is lesser dependent on the burst power provided by the Qi at Dan Tian.
Another mystery is why Qi needs to be at Dan Tian, and what are the benefits of such method? This part is probably harder to understand and explain without prolonged practice and testing by practitioners. However, beginners can attempt to lower Qi to the belly and get someone else to push you gently, you’d be surprised that you’ll have much better balance and more resistant to outer forces. Of course, Qi to Belly has much much more to it than just providing better balance, it is a concept that one will master only with prolonged practice.