How to Integrate Yin and Yang in the Body?

I've invented lots of game-based methods for the complete integration of Yin and Yang in the body. Here are a couple of them.

Using a Submissive Response to Get Strong!  

What is submissiveness good for?  Keith Johnstone teaches improvisational theater in Canada. I've studied with him several times and his games had a big impact on me. Johnstone’s status games (dominance and submission) opened my eyes to the constant social see-saw exchanges people make unconsciously. It totally screwed me up. I was still in high school when I realized I could control most of my teachers. Any teacher who insists on being treated with respect is actually just unconsciously playing the dominance part of a status game. Since I was conscious, I could raise or lower my status to move them around the room and make them say funny things like a puppet. This was not good for my education. Being aware of other peoples unconscious status games is a-social behavior. We are not supposed to notice that! And we are not supposed to be that free. Society would fall apart if too many people became conscious. I think this is part of the reason for the world-wide historic stigmas associated with professional actors and performers. 

Being aware of dominance and submission patterns is a big responsibility. As a martial arts teacher, it is important to play games with my students that they can win. It is also important for me to demonstrate how fun losing can be. Because there is alway another layer, a bigger game, a game which is the sum of many games. Nearly all play triggers competitive status patterns at some level, and games are one of the best ways to learn a skill. 

For example, the Submit game is one of the best ways to help a student develop front of the body abdominal integration. Put the student in the submission position on their back with their belly up and try to tickle or poke them in the stomach and face. This exercise looks  a bit like the classic guard position in Brazilian Jujitsu but the rules are different. I think all mammals play this game. The person in the submission position is not allowed to poke or kick back, but they can defend like crazy and ideally they will laugh and giggle if you get a poke in. Vocalizing that being poked is funny, is a way to win the low status end of the game. Getting a lot of pokes in, is the way to win the high status end of the game.

If this game is played often, the person in the low status position will get very strong. Playing this game and intentionally switching roles back and forth builds trust.

Don't play this game with the teacher (or a "senior" student) always in the dominant position. That would create both bad habits and rigid hierarchies. 

This will make the rat strong! If you are training martial arts rats, make sure the rat also gets to tickle you.

This will make the rat strong! If you are training martial arts rats, make sure the rat also gets to tickle you.

Face Wrestling

Another game I’ve come up with to help students integrate their bodies is called Face Wrestling. Two people square off and grip one hand across the body left hand to left hand (or right to right). Each free-hand goes to push on your partner's face. (If you try this at home, you can push on the eye bones if you want, but be careful not to stick fingers in eyes). The goal is to help your partner improve their face-to-body integration. Once the integration is good, you can play it like push-hands--trying to get the other person to move their foot. In this version of push-hands, rooting doesn’t help at all. This experience can help people advance quickly.


This game has the added benefit of desensitizing the face. Many people are very uncomfortable having their face touched, and in an asocial violent situation having ones face touched often causes one to freeze. In a dominance hierarchy, higher-ups can touch peoples faces, lower-downs can not. Think about the difference between being kissed on the forehead (an act of submission) and rubbing noses (a mutual low status greeting). 

Here is where it all comes together. The only place on the human body that we can’t root is our nose. Pushing on someones nose will cause them to retract it.  Pushing on someones nose triggers the whole yin side of the body to move inward towards the center. The yin side of the body is the shadow side if you are on all fours. The yin side of the body developed early in our evolution as "radial" creatures. A starfish attaches to a rock using only it’s yin side, its yin side is also for eating, its yang side is crusty and colorful for defense. This kinesthetic sensation is a very powerful whole-body organizing tool. 

Note: In this last game you have to push hard enough on the nose to cause some pain. I like to play the submit game above first, to open the possibility that pain becomes a trigger for giggling. In rare cases, a person will get stuck giggling as a response to pain. To avoid this (or resolve it), play slap-stick games. Slap-stick games played for laughs exaggerate pain as a form of self-expression--a maximum status change, not an actual injury.