Tongue touching the upper cavity of the mouth ?

Tongue touching the upper cavity of the mouth ?

Postby ELDER » Sun Oct 06, 2002 3:50 am

Should I practice the Tai Chi Chuan (form execution) with the tongue touching the upper cavity of the mouth or leave it down ?
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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Oct 10, 2002 5:48 am

Greetings Elder,

This is an interesting question. I learned from the very beginning of my taijiquan training to place the tongue lightly on the upper palate, just behind the front teeth. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen this prescribed in any of the taiji classic texts, but I know that Yang Zhenduo does teach this, and it seems to be an enduring component of taiji oral teachings.

There are various practical reasons for doing this. It helps facilitate a natural flow of saliva, keeping the mouth moist. It also helps relax the jaw and neck, and opens up the air passage to the lungs.

But I have heard other rationale for this practice as well, for instance, some meditation traditions say that touching the upper palate with the tongue facilitates circulation of the dumo and renmo meridians, as this is a juncture point for the two. It’s likely that taiji and other martial arts incorporated this practice from other traditions, for it’s a very old practice.

Take care,
Louis Swaim
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Postby ELDER » Thu Oct 10, 2002 3:33 pm

Yes, I also had heard that the tongue links the two channels for the macrocosmic orbit meditation but should it also applies to TaiChiChuan form execution, a Martial Art ?
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Postby Audi » Sat Nov 02, 2002 11:26 pm


I think Yang Zhenduo also teaches that the mouth should be "closed, yet not closed; open, yet not open." Perhaps this is linked to the issue of the tongue?

I do not know what is meant by all this, but I can theorize that these positions are meant to minimize the damage that would be cause if one were struck in the face, while at the same time trying to treat all the muscles in the body consistently, rather than doing one thing with the tongue and jaw and something else with the neck and shoulders.

Take care,
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Postby ELDER » Sun Nov 03, 2002 12:55 am


I think you hit the nail on the head !

In Taichi Chuan we should be conscious of all body parts all the time, this is a good combat attitude. Being aware of the tongue and chest (mouth), could help the practioner to resist in case of being hit on the head and even minimize the damage.

Best regards
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Postby Eulalio Silva » Mon Nov 11, 2002 5:19 pm

Hello Elder and Audi,

If I may interject, about the "tongue" touching the upper palate practice....

This is a "circuit" to complete the Macroscosmic and Microscosmic orbit practice within the higher levels of Chi Kung and Nei Kung practice as part of the disseminating Chi along the meridians throughout.

After learning the typical....Dan Tian breathing and bone breathing...Thru Nei Kung, one can practice this to complete the circulation of the CHI throughout the body. The "tongue" is the main switch, activating the FRONT side and the BACK side of the meridians. Although, Audi proposed a "practical" function of the tongue being "tucked" away to prevent injury while fighting is also a novel concept and functional one.

But it is more about the "internal" circuitry that reveals more of NEI KUNG's higher and more sophisticated dissemination of CHI following our Yi or I (will). Completing the Microscosmic orbit first (upper body excluding the legs) then graduating to the Macroscosmic orbit (upper and lower body) would lend our I or Yi to lead the CHI with utmost command that applies to health and martial applicaton.

The health application is the concentration of CHI on key meridian spots as you circulate along the orbit while the dissemination of CHI martially is of utmost and "higher" level of command...for example, on a WARD OFF, the CHI from our Dan Tian is sent to the legs and our soles and let it ride up again to our waist and thru the spine to our uppers limbs and the head and then recycling the CHI back to our Dan Tian without losing CHI. The key is this Orbit is really a supplementary practice within Chi Kung and ultimately NEI KUNG only after we have compressed YIN/YANG in our DAN TIAN after much sitting and standing meditations.

Again, the application of movements is to enhance the movement of the CHI initiated by our YI or I but eventually, it is just our minds.

To read more about this orbit practice, read from MANTAK CHIA who wrote extensively in this matter. Dr. Jwi Ming (spelling unsure) also emphasize this one)

Other practice on stillness meditation override this practice because the stilness meditation starts from Dan Tian and eventually "leak out" to different meridians and cavities and finally "opening" up all meridians and distributing it efficiently.

The key is that the DAN TIAN is the source of CHI where it is stored initially through NEI KUNG postures and stillness practice, then assimilating it with CHI KUNG (breathing) and movement where CHI will be moved to different parts of the body.

There is a "higher" practice than this is the moving of the Dan Tian to different parts of the body.

Read on THE MAGUS OF JAVA by Kosta Danaos...

Anyway, I hope that this would suffice and whet your "tongue" on palate practice curiousity.

Eulalio Silva
Eulalio Silva
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