Courtesy; Interplay of 3 components of the Universe - There's no beginning or ending
What is DahnBaeGong?
Ideally, GiCheon practitioners will achieve an intuitive understanding of the principle of the universe (Doh) as the body undergoes the curricula of static (Jeong), dynamic (Dong) and mental (Shim) disciplines.
DahnBaeGong is the most essential dynamic discipline (DongBeop) in GiCheon which embodies the interplay of the three principal components of the cosmos (SahmJae), the heavens, the Earth, and the human: the heels are raised so that one can make the nearest approach to the heavens (Cheon - metaphysical); the body is lowered in order to come closer to the earth (Ji - physical); and, of course, it is a human being (Ihn - metaphysical & physical) who performs these actions. Accordingly, the transfer of energy among these three is symbolized and realized in this physical movement.
GiCheon students begin practice with the mindset through GiCheon courtesy discipline called “DahnBaeGong (Dahn: abdomen, Bae: bow, Gong: discipline).” DahnBaeGong is a way of bow between a teacher and a student before GiCheon class begins. And it’s a way of movements setting one’s mind and meditating oneself as the seeker of the Way (Ultimate Truth).
It is believed that the name DahnBaeGong is derived from DahnGun BaeGong. There are two general theories about what DahnGun means: it may have been the name of one particularly revered leader of ancient Korea, or it may have been a title applied to a succession of venerable ancient leaders. In either case, DahnGun references the ancient founder(s) of Korea, the 'father' of Korean society. DahnBaeGong may have been a special way of bowing to DahnGun.
While the bowing motion of DahnBaeGong does not necessarily express obeisance to any entity or principle, it can be a special way of expressing respect to a GiCheon teacher of greater experience. It may be that the key insight brought by DahnBaeGong is that one cannot deserve the highest degree of respect from anyone until he realizes that he is no more worthy of respect than anyone else.
A simpler, standing bow called BahnBae is the standard expression of courtesy in GiCheon.
Prolonged and sincere practice of this movement is necessary if a student is to truly experience the power of GiCheon. It is crucial to bear in mind that the power brought by the practice of GiCheon is to be used not for private gain but only in the spirit of Doh (justice, rectitude and loyalty to the Way). The body of one who practices the forms of GiCheon to improve inner power and become skillful in martial art techniques, without performing DahnBaeGong, will become a mere weapon, rather than a vital component of the three principal components of the cosmos.
The prime reason for the necessity of extensive DahnBaeGong initially and throughout the study of GiCheon is that this movement establishes and maintains the martial art as a mental and spiritual discipline. Of course, there are also innumerable physical benefits of this movement. Nearly every joint of the body – from toes, ankles, knees and waist to shoulders, elbows, wrists, and neck – are exercised in the process of doing DahnBaeGong. These physical benefits also contribute to its status as a prerequisite for further study of GiCheon, with DahnBaeGong conditioning, the joints become flexible and elastic, and equilibrium and concentration are honed.
DahnBaeGong also includes high level of martial art movements based on the profound principle of the universe. So if one does it fullheartedly with devotion, one can become excellent in GiCheon.
How to Do
Standing bow for those who can't do DahnBaeGong normally like above
A standing bow, which was designed by Grandmaster Sang Won Lee through his expertise, is practiced for beginners or patients who can't do DahnBaeGong normally for the below reasons:
DahnBaeGong helps improving flexibility of joints (shoulder, waist, knees, ankles, toes) so that makes the Gi easily flow throughout the entire body. Arthritis, back pain, scoliosis, or other joint problems can be healed by the regular practice with the instructor's guidance. DahnBaeGong also strengthens an internal and external force, expands one's lower abdomen and cultivates one’s mentality as well as spirituality.
Physiologically, DahnBaeGong is about Instilling a tranquil temperament, Cultivating a focused mentality, Reducing stress and pacifying internal dialogue, Bringing about effortless, Autonomic abdominal breathing, Improving the internal force of the lower abdomen as well as flexibility in the joints, Establishing the nervous, respiratory, circulatory and digestive systems by slowing the metabolism, etc
In the mean time, like NaeGa ShinJang, it also clearly shows general conditions of one's equilibrium throughout the entire body, such as flexibility & strength of all the muscles and joints, Gi flow between left and right, & upper and lower limb, concerntration on the body and mind, etc.
Philosophical & Spiritual Meanings
DahnBaeGong has the following philosophical implications by the order of how to do it:
1 & 2: Circling movement of the two hands (BahnJang) - Embracing all that is.
1. Infinity is endlessness, limitlessness, boundlessness.
2. The great absolute in oriental philosophy (the cosmic entity:TaeGeuk) arises from the infinity of the universe.
3. Yang (positive energy) and Eum (negative energy) are generated in the movement of the cosmic entity.
3-1: Directing the fingertips of the right hand upward and outward - Drawing Gi from the heavens
3-2 Directing the fingertips of the left hand downward and inward - Absorbing the Gi and releasing it into the earth
3-2: Standing poised with raised heels - Growing nearer to the heavens
4. All things come into existence through the circulation of Eum and Yang.
5. When the human mind opens to take in the Heavens and the Earth...
5-1 & 5-2: Descending into a crouching position - Growing nearer to the earth touching the forehead to the floor, humility and openness to positive change.
6. Three principal components of the cosmos (Heavens, Earth,and human) are united within the microcosm that is a human being.
Ways of improving internal power
There are 108 and 1000 bows in DahnBaeGong. It takes 15-18 hours to do 1000 bows. There are also different ways of internal training combined with breathing to develop internal power and expand lower abdomen.