The Internal Power Training Blog

Check out the latest info and research from Coach Chris' explorations in the Subject of Internal Power.

The Harmony of Opposites in the Body Bookmark

So moving on from the previous post on the action of the Ming Men, we are now going to look at a technique that allows practitioners to create movement and force within their own body. A method that utilizes the Ming Men as well as its opposite counterpart the QiHai, a method I call ‘Pairing’.


In this method we use the front and back of the Lower Dan Tien or Taren, in harmony with one another. It is this complimentary harmony of opposites, a pair of actions happening simultaneously but in opposition that gives this method its name. It is not a singular direction or motion but a 'Pair' of actions creating 'one' result. The Ming Men and Qi hai are the origination and termination points for the harmonized opening and closing in of the torso we will talk about in this post.

Sometimes referred to as the ‘back bow’ the idea with this training is to utilise the length of the body vertically. following the tissues of the axis and those associated with the spine. The utilization of these structures can be seen throughout the upwards and downwards practices of the Internal arts and the action here is a really strong producer of power and direction in the adept.


It is, however, very common for practitioners to only focus on one side of the body when performing action in the Axis. They will curve the front of the body, tensing the stomach, to create forward and downward forces with no consideration for what the back half of the body is doing.


Pairing, and the idea of action always containing at least two things, is the way around this singular power focus. If we think of the Classical Tai Chi symbol, the depiction of one thing containing the interplay of opposites we come across a very useful model of what should be happening in the body during Pairing. For instance as one side of the body is closing, let’s say towards the Qi Hai, the opposite side is opening away from the Ming Men. This open and close, although working from and two these two areas of the body should create action all the way to the fingers and toes.


When combined with the arms and legs, we can actually use this pairing action to create upwards and downwards as well and forwards and backwards motion, all the while never moving outside of our base. or giving up our centre in any direction. There is no over commitment in any direction because the action of open and close is harmonious and inside our structure rather than created by the momentum of our mass. Think of it like a Bow Being drawn, when the string is released it does not fly away from the Archer! There is an equilibrium at play.


For Pairing to work well the body must be threaded together via connection and stable in all directions. The open and close have to be completely simultaneous, much like a wheel turning no part is left behind. In fact all parts of the Body should display Pairing. We can look at the concept with a larger viewpoint taking into account the 5 major parts of the body (arms, legs and spine) or move it to a smaller scale, like the forearm ... Event to the Depth of the forearm!





 Using Aikido's Kogi Fune  exercises to show how Open and Close could be utilized
Image Credit and rights - Master Koichi Tohei and heirs


This idea of simultaneous opposite action was hinted at by some of the famous internal arts masters.

The divine is not something high above us. It is in heaven, it is in earth, it is inside us.”

Ueshiba Morihei


“If there is up, there is down;
when advancing, have regard for withdrawing;
when striking left, pay attention to the right.”

Attributed to Chang San-feng (est. 1279 -1386)


“In motion T'ai Chi separates;
in stillness yin and yang fuse and return to Wu Chi.”


Attributed to Wang Tsung-yueh


More on the subject of Pairing coming up but if you would like to learn some exercises associated with this concept, or watch one of the lectures on this subject head over and sign up to the academy   - Click here.

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