One of the key features of Taoist martial arts is chan si jin: a method of coordinating legs, torso, and arms using spiraling movements. Through the use of spirals, the Taoist martial artist can simultaneously deflect blows, generate power for striking and joint-locking, or throw his opponent to the ground. What’s even more impressive is that spirals allow one to do all these things with a minimum of muscular effort.
Spirals play another key role in Taoist martial arts. They allow the practitioner to adjust to forces used against him while maintaining his centeredness: a quality I call “changeability.” Maintaining centeredness, a state of total mental and physical harmonious integration, can be said to be a Taoist’s primary goal. Sophisticated spiral movement allows the Taoist martial artist to do this by simultaneously projecting (yang) and absorbing (yin) force around the “central-lines” of the body.