The Yi Jin Jing: Teachings on Qi and Tendons

From a layman's point of view, Yi Jin Jing would consist of gymnastics aimed at strengthening the body using methods from Chinese philosophies.

For our part, we know that there is much more behind this practice. Sports practice, inner alchemy or harmonization of energies: the goals can be different but are all based on the same desire to improve.

The doctrine of Yi Jin Jing works with subtle energies that run through our body. Its effects, when the art is sufficiently well mastered, are so exceptional that many martial arts draw part of their teaching from Yi Jin Jing.

Contents :


The main principles of Yi Jin Jing

Muscle strengthening

Strengthening the tendons

The strengthening of the Huang

Strengthening Qi

The importance of practicing each of these points

Conclusion on the Yi Jin Jing and final thought

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Qi Gong, another set of energy circulation techniques, was also inspired by certain points present in the discipline that will interest us today. Here you will find some information on this very particular art.

If in general you appreciate what Chinese culture has to offer us, you should also appreciate the collection of Chinese symbols and lucky charms that we have put together.

In short, I often receive questions from our community about energy doctrines. Indeed, there is a lot of confusion on the subject and we can find anything and everything on the internet.

Many people want to try, but don't know where to start.

Some seek directly to establish a codified system of movements and techniques, but they are wrong.

The important thing above all is to understand the philosophy behind Yi Jin Jing. Only then can we focus on its implementation.

We will see it in this article: we are in reality talking about a set of teachings which are based on a few simple but terribly relevant life principles.

Then, we will see the main areas (of our body but also of our mind) on which this ancestral Chinese art can act.

Young disciple of an energetic discipline practicing on the top of a mountain in Asia.

The main principles of Yi Jin Jing

Let's think about things like Tai Chi, Kung Fu or traditional Chinese medicine: we quickly see dozens and dozens of different schools. With the Yi Jin Jing, this is not the case.

Although each teacher's methods may vary, the guiding principles that gave rise to Yi Jin Jing always remain roughly the same.

Among these, we can cite the following:

  • One of the great secrets to developing spiritual and physical health is the circulation of Qi in the body.
  • We must always cultivate our physique in accordance with our mind, otherwise there risks being an imbalance.
  • The body is firstly made up of circulating Qi, on which various tissues are placed, themselves connected by bones and tendons.
  • Qi and Huang are two Chinese concepts that are difficult to understand and differentiate. To put it simply, these are two types of “internal energies”, with Huang arising from Qi.
  • Thus, developing Qi provides a sort of foundation on which Huang itself can be built.
  • The Huang itself will serve as a basis for the development of our body and our vitality.
  • We will work precisely with this famous Huang in which we will use it to develop the body
  • The result of strong, vigorous tendons is a healthier body…
  • …but above all a better circulation of Qi which will use it as a sort of channel
  • Thus, the art we are talking about here seeks to initiate a virtuous circle process which will feed itself once the initial effort is launched.

Young sporty man strengthening his muscles with dumbbells.

Muscle strengthening

Most great masters agree on this point: unlike tendons and blood vessels, the muscles of our body can only conduct Qi with difficulty.

Sometimes, they are even compared to “traps” or a kind of glue that captures our energy and slows down its circulation, preventing bodily relaxation.

It is precisely this characteristic that certain schools of martial arts use where the internal energy of our body is concentrated, captured in a very specific muscle of our body which can then become as hard as steel or literally develop strength. superhuman.

In short, while some specialists know how to make good use of it, beginners are not recommended to try to grow their muscles. Indeed, they will often have an effect of reducing the flow of the flow of Qi, a bit like a sheath which surrounds a pipe and prevents liquids from circulating there.

Popular wisdom knows it well: even if building your muscles will make you vigorous during your youth, it can be the source of all the problems and illnesses that we will then develop as we age.

From the point of view of Taoism for example, it is said that this would prevent the proper construction of Qi channels, which will then disperse little by little, leading to degeneration of the body and premature old age.

Practitioner massaging the tendon of the foot in a relaxation session.

Strengthening the tendons

Unlike muscles, the Yi Jin Jing teaches us that the development of tendons can have a real beneficial effect on the circulation of energies.

However, this requires a certain understanding and awareness of Qi and Huang, otherwise the "first floors" of the construction would be fragile... which can have disastrous effects.

A practitioner who completely neglects internal work and focuses solely on strengthening the tendons would see the same kind of problems as they age as someone who only cared about their muscles.

The biggest of his problems would undoubtedly be the fragility of certain parts of the body.

Without being sufficiently worked, Qi will not be able to learn to reach all places. Too much stretching leads to problematic postures and therefore to misaligned meridians.

This fragility will sometimes lead to muscle tears, fractures or even tendon ruptures. Here is an article that will introduce you to some of these ailments.

We could therefore note here the importance of practicing the development and circulation of Qi (in one form or another, regardless of school) for any person who has a significant physical or sporting activity.

One of the keys to longevity is indeed balance.

Woman who circulates the internal energy of the Huang.

The strengthening of the Huang

The Huang is the floor on which the development of the tendons and therefore the physical body rests. However, here again, developing it alone is not enough.

In itself, a parallel between muscle-tendon and Huang-Qi couples can be made.

Strengthening the Huang alone would be like building muscle strength without any other concerns. We immediately see that problems of stiffness and lack of flexibility would quickly arise.

The same goes for the Huang which, if we develop it without paying attention to Qi (or Chi), will become stiff.

A powerful Huang therefore requires in fact a powerful Qi, but above all flexible and extended throughout the body.

A bit like the action of the fist is based on the sequence of muscles activated in the body, the action of Qi requires the activation of Huang.

Chinese Qi Gong master doing a gymnastics session in public.

Strengthening Qi

Probably the most widespread error in the world of energy doctrines (Qi Gong, yoga, Taoism) is this: many work on the circulation and construction of Qi without any understanding of Huang.

Although this type of practice is relaxing and can be great for combating anxiety, it can be the source of worry in the long run.

Concretely, practicing in this way will amount to moving low intensity Qi in the body, which ultimately will not have great effects.

Worse, neglecting the development of the Huang and that of the tendons can be the source of a progressive weakening of them, with all the problems that this implies.

Yi Jin compasses, a bracelet with the symbol of Yin and Yang and a Feng Shui bagua mirror

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The importance of practicing each of these points

We see it clearly: the Yi Jin Jing is in fact a sort of pyramid where each floor builds on the previous one.

If an element is missing from the tower, everything collapses and serious health problems can appear.

Even if you don't see them, they are there and will reveal themselves in a few years if you don't do something about them.

In the arts which emphasize gentle and internal movement (and which therefore stop at the level of Huang, or even that of Qi), there is often a lack of development of the body and therefore a certain weakening..

Thus, the physical channels of energy circulation will never really be developed, or even become clogged.

Unlike the virtuous circle we spoke to you about at the beginning of the article, this can cause a vicious circle where the Qi will circulate less and less and will gradually weaken, causing a long-term deterioration of the body.

It only takes a few years for practitioners to become completely limp rags, without any tone or vitality.

Concretely, they will have trained to… become weaker!

Practitioners of internal martial arts should in any case remain attentive to this phenomenon.

If you want to be sure to counter this, you can for example work on developing your inner strength alongside working on Qi and Huang. This is good, this is precisely the subject of this book that we have written.

As knowledge is energy, it must be transmitted freely.

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Shadow of two Yi Jin Jing practitioners in China.

Conclusion on the Yi Jin Jing and final thought

If you are confused by some of the theories above, don't worry.

One of the greatest strengths of Taoism and the energy arts in general is that they blend theory and practice.

This means that if you don't understand certain ideas well, trying to practice them might help you understand them. Theory alone, without practice, is in fact almost useless in this type of doctrine.

You won't understand the purpose of a breathing exercise without doing it. Impossible to develop one's vital energy through simple practice. And theoretical acupuncture remains only an ineffective science.

For my part, I myself followed a long learning process before seeing concrete effects resulting from my practice.

I am coming to many conclusions and, to tell you the truth, practicing this energetic art has certainly helped me move forward in life.

Among all the observations that I have been able to make, there is one that I must share with you today: each teacher/practitioner will have their own vision of Yi Jin Jing and will necessarily interpret the teachings in their own way.

So, even if I will try to be as clear and objective as possible, know that what I am telling you here may not necessarily be true for another master.

You will therefore have to do your research, compare sources and above all always keep a critical eye on the various information that you may find during your research.

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Discover the author: Cyril Gendarme

Cyril Gendarme is a writer whose website "The Lucky Door" ("La Porte Du Bonheur" in French, his native language) has become a reference in the field of esotericism. Born in Belgium, Cyril has been attracted to the mysteries of the world since he was a child. When his interest in occultism was awakened, a particular subject caught his attention: lucky charms.

After years of study and in-depth research on esoteric traditions from around the world, Cyril decided to share his knowledge with the public through the internet. In 2019, he launched "The Lucky Door," a website dedicated to exploring lucky charms, magical symbols, and esoteric arts.

The Lucky Door is much more than just a showcase for those curious about magic, divination, or tradition. It is the result of Cyril's passion for researching and understanding the mysteries of the universe. Every piece of information available on the site testifies to his dedication to sharing his knowledge of the most hidden symbols and their unique powers.

In addition to his online work, Cyril regularly organizes workshops and conferences in different countries. His presence on social media is also highly appreciated, where he offers personalized advice and happily answers questions from his community.