Rochester Chen Style Taijiquan

Yi Jin Jing (Muscle/Tendon Change Classic)

The Yi Jin Jing is one of the most widely practiced conditioning exercise sets in Chinese martial arts. Its long existence and its adoption by a diverse collection of martial artists have lead to numerous variations. The set is intended to build flexibility and strength in the tendons and muscles while developing a coordinated strength from the ground. Additionally, the progressive stretch/release cycles promote relaxation and are said to stimulate qi flow throughout the body. The name of the set can be translated as Yi – transform/change, Jin – muscles/tendons/fascia, Jing – Classic/classical method.

  1. Folding hands in front of chest, AKA The first form of Weituo Presenting a pestle, Praying palm
  2. Raise arms to carry an evil-banishing pole, AKA Shouldering grain with a pole
  3. Hold up the sky with both hands, AKA Separating chaff from the grain
  4. Exchanging stars, AKA Carrying a sack of grain on your shoulders
  5. Pulling the ox cart, AKA Pulling back nine bulls by the tail, Pulling the ox’s tail
  6. Showing talons and spreading wings
  7. Nine ghosts drawing sabers, AKA Carrying grain on your back
  8. 1000 pound lift, AKA Three bends on the ground, Three dishes falling on the ground, The body rises and falls, Unloading baskets of grain
  9. Dragon showing claws, AKA Wrapping straw mats around the grain
  10. Hungry tiger pouncing on its prey, AKA Farmer searching for locusts
  11. Deep bowing, AKA Bend trunk strike drum, AKA Gathering Grain
  12. Shake head and wag tail, AKA Scooping up the grain


Most of the exercises follow a coordination of progressive extension from the ground, and relaxation back to the ground

- Toes lightly grip with a suction feeling
- Body comes forward slightly activate the calves
- Use a feeling of drawing up to the buttocks
- Lightly tuck the buttocks up toward the dan tien
- Elongate the torso
- Stretch up the back, shoulders, arms
- Release the stretch using the opposite sequence


There are many possible complex breathing patterns. The pattern that we use has the following principles:

- Inhale on stretch for most of the exercises
- Exhale on release
- Feeling the breathe drawing up the body in coordination with the stretch.
- On the exhale, let all tension and fullness flow down to the dan tien and then to the feet
- To ensure that you are not building up pressure in the body, let the exhale be longer than the inhale. There can be a soft, nature pause at the end of the exhale. That pause will start a reflex for the next inhale, rather than having it start with a conscious effort.
- Note: “Touch toes” has opposite breath

High peaks / Low Valleys (Yin/Yang)

One key aspect of this qigong set is the progressive stretch and progressive relaxation. Similar sequential methods are found in many qigong, relaxation and body awareness arts. The stretch and fullness is intended to be ordered and expressed completely. The relaxation is also ordered and felt deeply. This full alternation between yin and yang is sometimes stated as “high peaks, low valleys.” This cycle is intended to smooth the flow of qi throughout the body. At a more tangible level, you become aware of your relaxation and tension, you promote the flow of fluids and achieve a calm mind.



  1. Related qigong sets: Wu 15 (which may be a version of yi jin jing), Wu 24, Chen hun yuan, Chen reeling silk, ba duan gin.
  2. “Chinese Qigong Outgoing qi Therapy,” Bi Yoncheng.
  3. “Exercises Illustrated: Ancient way to keep fit,” compiled by Zhong Wu and Li Mao.
  4. “Internal Arts of the Shaolin Temple, and Ancient guide to Inner strength and Health,” Ted Knecht.
  5. “Knocking at the Gate of Life and other Healing Exercises from China,” Official Manual of the People’s Republic of China.
  6. “Wushu Exercises for Life Enhancement,” Yu Gongbao.
  7. “Beginning Qigong,” Steven Kuei and Stephen Comee.
  8. “Yi jin jing by 32nd generation Shaolin monk Shi De Qian,” Video.