The image of dantian "field of cinnabar" is potent but remains an idea for many of us.

Glancing around Chentaiji gatherings, you can see an array of people striving to move from dantian.

This is due to a misconception, from a confusion of pelvis/hips with the dantian where the centre of the body's mass is poised at the nexus of qi pathways in the body.

In order for this spot some three fingers below your navel in the interior of the body to become the fulcrum, certain things must be established.  First is the apparently simple direction : your weight perpendicular.  Honestly try and do this : is it easy?  Chances are your body's weight is ricocheting off in several directions.

For both sides of your body to flow towards a central core will take time.  The work is both mechanical - loosening, altering, refixing the tent pegs as it were - and energetic : as dull areas get incorporated into alignment, there are clear sensations of freshness, moisture, warmth on the move through you.

The body must be balanced in all directions.  What does this mean?  The two sides in equilibrium; the upper body's weight directly over the lower body; front and back equally suspended; from centre emanating outwards to hands and feet.

For all the above to take place, you must rest in tranquillity.

In taiji-speak we say, "dantian moves, whole body follows".  But seeing what this idea leads to, we had better think again!  Chen XiaoWang makes clear that rotation of the dantian is a subtle affair : intent sparks off a movement in the small of the back ("the waist")/dantian turns/ qi flows in a certain direction.  Dantian is the pivot.  It is not a part of the body that you heave about, splitting what little unity you may have had to start with.  To be unified means that one tiny impetus from the waist at once affects dantian and the spiralling engulfs the rest of the body.  Dantian at the junction of the qi-roads must remain neutral.  The muscles in this area are not in contraction.  Thinking that power is in dantian and pushing to move from there jams the roads.

On our second visit to Sydney during a lesson where we were working on jingang dao dui (Jingang Pounds Mortar), Master Chen gave essential advice : "The more delicate the change, the more power."