View Full Version : earth, man and heaven levels

28th January 2001, 13:43
A news letter I recently read said that
most arts and martial artists are focused on
the Tan Tien or hara just below the navel.
This editor said that this is a trap and only the "Earth
Level" of action and reaction. There are also the levels of man (the heart center) and Heaven at the crown of the head).This the level of power over others or keeping others from having powr over me. It is essentially fear based. At this level there is little or no creativitty and pro-activeness and no "methodlessness". There is a continued reliance on having "better and more powerful" technique. What are your comments about this line of thinking?

James Fraser

Neil Hawkins
30th January 2001, 01:37

Interesting question, I tend to believe that the reason the tanden is so important to martial artists is because of its links to the centre of balance and breathing.

Breathing is essential in MA technique and the ability to use abdominal breathing to stimulate ki has been a factor of martial training for thousands of years. The centre of balance is no less important, without good balance you cannot execute any technique effectively. The link to balance is probably more symbolic than actual owing to the location of the point.

The other centres in the heart and head tend to be more spiritual and are not linked to external physiological processes that directly enhance fighting ability.

Most fighters are extremely pragmatic and tend to absorb what is useful, even in religion. This outlook is not uncommon and is used to explain the rise of taoism, confucism, bhuddism and others in China and quite probably shinto and zen in Japan.

The fact that spiritually the other centres are more important, as portals into higher levels of conciousness would have been of little import to the young active fighter. Higher conciousness is something you persue after retirement, when the warrior has to face the consequences of his life and pass on to a better life in the next. I'm not saying that they tried to undo their past, that is a largely western concept (forgivness and absolution in the christian faith), but the need for the understanding of 'life, the universe and everything' usually comes with a growing sense of mortality and many years of experience.

Of course this is just my interpretation of what I have read, I don't think we will ever know why certain aspects became more popular than others. :)