Is placement of the tongue important?

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Taiji Wuji
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Is placement of the tongue important?

Post by Taiji Wuji » Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:14 am

Is placement of the tongue important? In your Taiji form, where is the tongue placed? Do you place the tip on the bridge behind the front teeth, touching the back, top of the front teeth, or a half inch back from there against the front of the hollow at the top of the mouth, or with the tip of the tongue touching the roof of the mouth at the top of the hollow? Does it even matter?

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Re: Is placement of the tongue important?

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Tue Aug 02, 2011 8:28 am

This is not that uncommon a question...
Taiji Wuji wrote:Is placement of the tongue important?
Yes, in the sense that placing the tongue on the roof of the mouth connects the ren & du mai. If not connected, the qi is unlikely to make complete its circuit. Though it is possible that the qi will "short circuit" & find another way around by jumping onto other meridians.
Taiji Wuji wrote: In your Taiji form, where is the tongue placed? Do you place the tip on the bridge behind the front teeth, touching the back, top of the front teeth, or a half inch back from there against the front of the hollow at the top of the mouth, or with the tip of the tongue touching the roof of the mouth at the top of the hollow? Does it even matter?
There is no need to be so specific. You could say all the above. If you think about it, your tongue is not a thin little, lizard like tongue, but fills most of your mouth. When you touch it to the roof of your mouth, it is actually touching from right behind the upper teeth to back onto the soft palette. You are not trying to touch the roof of your mouth with just the tip of your tongue. Qi does get thru the soft palette more easily, but keep in mind another reason for placing your tongue on the roof of your mouth is so that you don't bite it when struck. It's unfortunate that most these days forget that contrary to the manner in which taijiquan is currently marketed, it is not a daoist art but a martial art. I hope this is helpful...

Taiji Wuji
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Re: Is placement of the tongue important?

Post by Taiji Wuji » Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:10 pm

Thank you. It's helpful to know that I can't go wrong as long as the tongue is touching the roof of the mouth in some fashion.
Last edited by Taiji Wuji on Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

KungFuPanda1979
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Re: Is placement of the tongue important?

Post by KungFuPanda1979 » Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:22 am

Speaking as an Acupuncture practitioner, your energy runs throughout your body, including the Ren (Conception) and Du (Governing) vessals, whether you put your tongue to the roof or not. That's why we don't just drop dead when we talk, eat, or do anything without our tongue touching the roof. But for those who believe that it is nessasary, they will find that their energy won't 'work correctly', without the correct tongue placement inline with their knowledge. For those who have always trained without being taught the nessesity of tongue placement, their abilities will be determined by their training, no matter where they literally 'stick it'. On the practical side however, if you press the tip of the tongue to the top of your pallet when sparring (or sanshou as some would call it), it will prevent you biting your own tongue if you get knocked in the jaw.

Another 'important requirement' for good energy flow, according to some qigong schools, is to maintain contraction of the anal sphincter when practising, to prevent any Qi from escaping. Physiologically, this will excercise and tone up the Pelvic Floor Muscles, which is known to have benefits such as prevention of prostate disorders, and maintainance of male erectile function through the aging process.

In conclusion, there are many many schools of thought on what is 'the right way'. The main deciding factor is understanding 'why' things are done a certain way, and deciding if the 'practical application' suits you.

Cheers
The Panda

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Re: Is placement of the tongue important?

Post by Taiji Wuji » Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:13 am

For me, in either Taiji or Neigung practice touching the tongue to the top of the mouth in some fashion seems to really increase the strength of the qi flow. Also, the placement seems to change it slightly (i.e. behind the front teeth or against the front pallete in the hollow at the roof of the mouth (sounds like this might be better for actual boxing safety). Not sure if it's stronger or just different. I'll refrain from commenting on which placement feels which way to me, as it might be a very individual issue. One of the reasons for my question is I'd just like to make sure I'm not doing anything wrong to harm or lessen the benefits of my practice, once that's confirmed I should be able to let go of thinking about this, so I can move beyond to the next steps of advancement.

KungFuPanda1979
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Re: Is placement of the tongue important?

Post by KungFuPanda1979 » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:50 am

From my knowledge, there is no harmful tongue placement location. Injuries from Qigong practises usually come from straining of the pelvic floor muscles, the intercostal muscles (ones that moves your ribs in breathing) or the diaphram. Also, some people who are psycologically unstable and prone to helucinations, the visualisation involved with Qigong practise may worsen their symptoms of delusion.

From what you tell us, there is no harm in what you're doing and its just a matter of working out which tongue position suits you best personally.

Cheers
The Panda

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