There are numerous references to 100-days, for example, in the Tai Yi Jin
Hua Zong Zhi (“The Secret of the Golden Flower”), a book on meditation and life
attributed to Lü Dong-bin, writing in the 9th century:
“Only after a hundred days of concentrated work is the light real; only
then is it the fire of spirit.” (tr. Cleary, p. 17)
“If you practice in this way for two or three months, the realized ones
in Heaven will surely come to attest to your experience.;” (p. 37)
“On the whole, to set up the foundation requires a hundred days...” (p.
“A hundred days is [a lifetime, and] also a single breath.” (p. 50)
“The hundred days is just a matter of empowerment: gain power in the
daytime, and you use it at night; gain power in the night, and you use
it in the daytime.” (p. 50)
“The hundred days setting up the foundation is a precious teaching...”
Features and Purpose of the Program.
The program consists of a meeting at the start of the 100 days, a
gathering at the conclusion for assessment and celebration, emails
from the team coach, a “power-of-three network” for mutual support,
some options for group meetings and practice,
payment of a personal commitment fee, and personal practice. Our aims
- to apply Taiji principles to daily life and the accomplishment of
- to discover the value and cumulative effect of regular practice,
- to inculcate habits of focus and attentiveness,
- to work toward fulfillment of the classics,
- to experience breakthrough,
- to support others in the attainment of their goals.
Players who wish to participate but cannot make the first
meeting must call or email Dr. Jay before the first meeting and send in
their commitment fee. At the first meeting we discuss the program in
detail, participate in goal-setting, and establish the “Power-Of-Three
A final assessment meeting will be held on a weekend close to Day 100.
At this meeting, we will share our experiences of the training
and witness the accomplishment of team and personal goals.
Commitment Fee.Each 100-day program participant pays a
$40 commitment fee. $10 of this goes into a pool, and all participants
who manage to achieve one of the team goals during the program split
the pool. If a pool is unclaimed, half goes to the Dantian Challenge
Fund and half carries over to the next Magic Tortoise 100-Day program.
Two team goals have been selected by the team coach as representative of
the training required for gongfu : superior achievement which is the
result of effort expended over time.
1. Chin To Toe:
from an upright position
with one leg bent at the knee, fold at the hips, and touch the chin to
the toes of the other straight, outstretched leg (the "hundred day stretch").
Magic Tortoise student Denise Flora (shown here on Jekyll Island, GA March 2003) achieved chin-to-toe during our fourth hundred day program. For her reflections and insights on the experience, see her article: “Advice On Achieving Chin-To-Toe”.
2. Dantian Toss:
lying supine, toss a penny one vertical foot off the abdomen.
These goals may seem difficult, but they are not impossible. The
process of practice on any of them may produce unanticipated gains in
other areas of life. Individuals probably should select one team goal
to concentrate on exclusively.
Participants must file a statement of personal goals with the team coach
at the start of the 100 days. However, personal goals are just that.
Individual team members may formulate their own goals based on their own
vision, needs, and desires. It is better to pick only one or two
personal goals so that the effect of the 100-day focus may be more
strongly felt. They may be intangible (“begin a meditation practice,”
or “eat less sugar”), or they may be operationally defined; that is, their
accomplishment is verifiable by objective, measurable criteria. “Lose
30 pounds,” for example, may be easily verified by weight checks at the
start and conclusion of the 100 days. Any participant in the
program can witness and attest another participant's accomplishment of a
Some personal goals from the 25 participants in the first 100-Day Taiji
- STAR STANDING MEDITATION: hold star standing meditation for
20 minutes Wendy Olson accomplished this goal in 1999 with a time of
23'50". Barbara Penn accomplished this goal on March 25, 2008
with a time of 30 minutes.
- earn my yellow sash (verifiable)
- lose 20 pounds (verifiable)
- finish editing my third music CD (verifiable)
- do form without knee going past dynamic limit (verifiable)
- keep a daily journal (verifiable)
- meditate twenty minutes every day (non-verifiable, but
- drive no more than 4 miles above the posted speed limit
(non-verifiable but life-changing!)
- be on time to the first thing I'm supposed to be at each day
(non-verifiable but life-changing!)
- cultivate modesty and humility (non-verifiable but life-changing!)
- drink 64 ounces of water a day (non-verifiable but amazing!)
There is plenty of room for creativity. The 100-day program is a
blueprint for personal discipline. To paraphrase Stephen Mitchell's Tao
te Ching, “Let it be present within you. You can use it any way you
The “Power-of-Three Network”.
A “buddy system” for mutual support and inspiration is integral to the
cohesiveness and success of Team 100. This system will not utilize the
standard pairing of couples, but will rely on groupings of three: a
TEAM GOAL 1:
CHIN-TO-TOE, THE "HUNDRED DAY STRETCH"
Chin-to-toe is a well-known but rarely achieved stretch in Chinese wushu
circles. It has been the especial legacy of Guang Ping Yang Taijiquan,
which was brought to America by Grandmaster Kuo Lien Ying in 1965.
Master Henry Look, a senior student of Kuo, tells the following story of
Yang Ban-Hou, son of the founder of Yang style, Yang Lu-Chan:
One day, Ban-Hou, on his way to the Imperial Court [where he taught a
modified form of his Taijiquan to the Manchus] walking past the Royal
Horse Stable, observed a young stable boy practicing the same Tai Chi
forms he was teaching nightly in the Royal Garden. He confronted the
boy as to how he could know this style of Tai Chi so well. The stable
boy, named Wang Jiao-Yu, confessed that he had learned the forms by
spying on his teaching nightly.
Ban-Hou learned the boy was Chinese, not a Manchu, and that they both
came from the same city of Guang Ping. He asked the boy if he was
serious about learning Kung-Fu from him. The boy immediately said yes
and dropped to his knees to pay respect and appreciation by bowing to
Ban-Hou one hundred times and with each bow hitting his forehead against
the hard stone pavement.
When Wang finished bowing, his forehead red and bruised, Ban-Hou said to
him, “If you really want to learn real Kung-Fu from me, you have to bend
down to touch your chin to toe within 100 days.”
Wang Jiao-Yu practiced very hard daily and succeeded in touching his
chin to toe way before the 100 days had passed and thereby became one of
only three disciples accepted to train by Yang Ban-Hou.
(“The Universal Post” vol. 1, issue 1)
Grandmaster Kuo Lien-Ying required this accomplishment for teachers in
his lineage. Another account of this stretch from the Guang Ping
Today, Dr. Y.C. Chiang in El Cerrito CA is the recognized leader of the
fifth generation of masters of Guang Ping Yang Taijiquan. Before he was
accepted as a student, he was required to achieve Chin-To-Toe in 100
Chin-To-Toe is the hallmark exercise of Dr. Chiang's Wen Wu School in El
Cerrito. Rather than a goal or destination, Chin-To-Toe is a launch
point. All traditional masters of Guang Ping Yang Taijiquan began with
(William Wong Chin, in “The Universal Post” vol. 1, issue 2)
Before meeting Grandmaster Jou, Tsung-Hwa, Dr. Jay Dunbar studied Guang
Ping for three years, travelling to San Francisco in 1976 to study with
Grandmaster Kuo Lien-Ying, who introduced the Guang Ping style to
America in 1965. Most people who hear of this stretch do not believe it
to be possible. “The legs are longer than the torso!” they exclaim.
But with the proper method, it is possible. (Master Shi Zheng-Zhong,
executive coach of the Taipei Kuoshu team, visited one of our classes
and demonstrated this stretch. He was in the Triangle area as a guest
of Henry Lai.)
How do we go about achieving the 100-day stretch? When asked if he gave
any special instructions for the stretch, Master Henry Look said, “I
just say what Grandmaster Kuo said: 'If you can touch your chin to your
toe in 100 days, I'll teach you something special.'” For some,
apparently, this was sufficient motivation: all five students to whom he
issued this challenge achieved it in 100 days or a little over.
Shifu Nick Gracenin, of Sharon PA, who was at one time able to
demonstrate chin-to-toe and can still demonstrate forehead to toe, gives
the following advice:
Stretch various parts: dorsal flexion of the ankle for example, and the
three parts of the hamstring by stretching with the foot turned in,
straight, and turned out.
Stretch high (on barre), middle (the 100-day stretch), and low (sitting
on the floor).
Stretch with the body high (just folding the hips), medium (with the
nose pointing out away from body) and low (aiming chin toward toe).
Try the stretches with the forward leg both straight and bent (some can
only feel the hamstring when the knee is bent).
Shifu Gracenin also suggests three things are required in making a
little progress every day:
- Correct method.
- Volume (frequency, repetition).
- Intensity (push a little; do your best).
Here is some advice on point one, above: “correct method”:
- fold from the hips,
- stretch outward, not so much downward,
- relax into the stretch (120 seconds)
- start with one hand on the extended thigh, one on the shin; then
reach for the foot: try to put laogong on yongquan; then touch elbow to
the toes, then head to toes, then...chin-to-toes!
TEAM GOAL 2: DANTIAN PENNY TOSS
For information on this goal see Jou, Tsung Hwa Memorial Dantian Challenge.
SUGGESTIONS TO REINFORCE DAILY PRACTICE
- Keep a list of team and personal goals by your bed (or under your
- Every morning, or when you begin practice, ring a bell (it says,
- Wear or carry something to remind you of your goals (jewelry, odd
- Master H.H. Lui's dictum: “NPNB: no practice, no breakfast.”
- Get used to practicing while you're doing other things (read or watch
TV in stretch position...) Live with it!
- Change your routines to remind yourself to practice.
- Set obstacles ahead of you in time (strings across doorways, a pile
of books in the middle of the floor...) as reminders.
- Cross off days on a calendar.
- Keep a practice journal.
- Buy a special candle and light it during practice.
- Develop similar methods of remembering that work for you: set aside