Daoist Naming Conventions: Hidden Meaning in Movement Names, Part 3

Section III:
Internal Medicine

One of the main areas of study in Daoism is health and longevity. The Daoists have developed quite a collection of tools in this area.

Above is a picture of the Neijingtu, or “Internal Classic Diagram.” On the surface, we see a stylized map of a mountain range. If you look closely, you will see a map of the human body (the mountains represent the spine). This diagram very cleverly hides the secrets of Daoist internal practices.

The general imagery you should be thinking of is simply of a mountain with a moon above it. The mountain represents the spine, and the moon represents the head.
So, movements with names like “Moon Knocking on Mountain Gate” might have new meaning for you. “Ride Tiger, Push Mountain” or “Ride Tiger Back to Mountain” might now mean taking advantage of your opponent’s aggressive attack and retreat to attack the spine. Hold Moon to Chest might involve holding your opponent’s head to your core and breaking the neck or choking the opponent out.

Other more cryptic names may be referring to the classical names of acupuncture points or channels.

It’s important to remember that to a Daoist, it would be wasteful and poor Dé (influence, efficient use of power) not to merge your healing work with your fighting work.

This was only a brief example of the hidden meaning of names in one category of martial arts. Shaolin or Hakka martial arts, for example, would use a different language. I hope this will encourage you to explore more deeply the many layers of these arts we love.

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