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To be skilled at chin na and shuai jiao you need to be confident with what you are handling - which is principally the human body. Knowing where muscle, bone and cavities can be found is critical.
If you are confident working with your own body it is an easy matter to apply your sensitivity to another. Massage is away of improving your health and developing combat skills simultaneously.


Massaging the body can really help to release stored tension. It also aids you in feeling how the bones and muscles are connected.
Probing with your fingers will make the fingers much more sensitive and alert.

The sage speaks. You hear what you want. I hear what I want.



It is important to start exploring. Our routine starts with the head and works down throughout the entire body, paying special attention to problem areas such as the spine.
In time, the routine will feel easy and natural - it is not about remembering a routine - it is about moving down the body looking for tension.
Many of the exercises are passive - the area being worked does not perform the work itself. By manually-releasing the tension you avoid adding extra stiffness.

Partner work

We will not cover
partner work in the classes because of its potentially intimate nature. Yet, partner work is especially beneficial.
It can help couples to get to know one another's bodies more intimately and assist in the release of unwanted tension.
Improved mutual sensitivity is also an obvious advantage during sex.

Finding tension

Your hands need to become investigative tools. They need to feel. Feeling and physical sensitivity is paramount in tai chi.
Find places where tension has tightened the muscles or impeded joint movement.

Releasing tension

Once you find tension, do not add more. Softly ease the tension by kneading the muscle gently or rotating the joint slowly and easily. The emphasis must be upon the gradual release of tension.
Do not expect the lose it instantly. Sometimes tension in one part of the body can lead to stiffening in another, as the body compensates in unusual ways.
You need to carefully combine qigong, tai chi form and massage to find where the tension exist and let go of it.

Work down

Start at the top and work down your body:

  1. Head

  2. Neck

  3. Shoulders

  4. Arms, wrists & hands

  5. Spine

  6. Hips

  7. Chest

  8. Legs, ankles & feet

Better sleep

Once the sequence is familiar, it will only take about 10 minutes to perform.
It is not necessary to watch what you are doing because the entire point is for the hands to do the work, not your thoughts or your eyes.
You can perform the entire routine whilst watching TV, providing you sit on a firm chair and keep both feet on the ground. Massaging your body on an evening after work will help you to sleep...

Page created 18 April 1995
Last updated 16 June 2023