Dui La 对拉 meaning something like “to stretch between”. It’s one of those fundamental principles of taiji quan that are all too often forgotten or misunderstood. When I travel to give taiji, qigong or meditation workshops in Asia, the USA, Australia and Europe I find that this taiji principle is mostly ignored. Most people attempt to use their body as one piece, committing the whole body in one direction at a given time.
"If there is up, there is down. When advancing, have regard for withdrawing. When striking left, pay attention to the right. If the I wants to move upward, it must simultaneously have intent downward"T’AI CHI CH’UAN CHING - attributed to Chang San-feng (est. 1279 -1386) as researched by Lee N. Scheele
This is pointing directly at the principle of dui la or stretching between. It is another manifestation of the yin yang principle which is the governing principle in all taiji learning.
When dui la is happening in the body it is opening and stretching the body, the feeling can be unpleasant as you adapt to it much like any stretching. The health benefits are many, as the muscles release and the fascia unbinds, the qi flows smoothly. I am currently using this principle and meditation to heal my herniated lumbar disks and have used it to heal much in the past.
To further your learning and training in taijiquan (tai chi chuan) and to discover the meaning of dui la in practice, keep in mind the basic opposites within the body, the left side and the right side, the crown and the tailbone, up and down. All the secrets of Taijiquan can be found within the principle of yin yang. One who truly comprehends yin yang within the body and mind truly comprehends taijiquan.
The “stretch” video above gives a small hint at one use of dui la, of course the depth and application of this principle go far and are essential for taiji and qigong, as well as for both health and martial arts.
This post was authored by Adam Mizner