Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Empty Foot

This position is often illustrated and explained using positions such as White Crane Spreads it's Wings, which is a front suspended stance with the front of the foot on the ground and weightless, or Play the Chinese Guitar which has the front heel on the ground and weightless. However in my opinion "The Empty Foot " is best explained and illustrated in a movement such as Repulse the Monkey, right and left, where the entire front empty foot is on the ground.

This is more challenging than the empty suspended foot because with a toe or heel on the ground, albeit empty, the contact point of the foot is much more focused. In addition, the concept of the entire empty foot being on the ground goes to the much discussed interpretation of " What is a Ready Position " in Tai Chi?

The Tai Chi, Self Defense, Ready Position

The Tai Chi, Ready Position:

Tai Chi players are always ready to execute a movement for the purpose of defending themselves from an attack. The Wu Chi standing meditation position, discussed and describe on this Blog is basically the Tai Chi ready position when there is a " street related " perceived physical threat. The exception is one foot is 100% empty ... and fully on the ground (the empty foot ). Any potential aggressor should have no sense that you are prepared to fully respond. Fully rooted on one leg ... arms loose at side .. a totally yin appearance.... but fully aware of the distance between you and the threat. You should keep yourself as far out of reach as possible. Back up, keep backing up, circle know where an exit or path of retreat is. Arms down and trying to defuse the situation through your words, body language and position. However as a Tai Chi player you know that a turn of your center will immediately move your arms and the leg that has no weight on it. This should only occur when an aggressor has closed the distance to you and you have no where to retreat. Your response comes only when an aggressor has committed themselves. Their body will probably be out of control and they will be reaching for you ... take what is given.

90% of avoiding an attack is Awareness and Avoidance. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Turning From the Center

Two Important Principles to keep in mind:

Keeping these two principles in mind when doing / practicing will help minimize the gross memorization challenge.

1. All movements start with a movement from your center. Either an expansion, fold, bend, rotation (with hips stable and front). Your arms and legs have no motor of their own

2. When your center moves .. whatever is not rooted will move.

• Example:  In the Wu Chi - Tai Chi ( simplified introductory form ), when in Wave Hands Like Clouds Right, going into Roll Back. If you are weighted ( substantial ) on your Right, because you have turned and shifted Right … when you turn Left, keeping substantial Right, and with Hips front, your Left leg will be moved back and the virtual ball you are holding will be carried across your body and down to your Left side and a shift will take place after the Left foot touches the ground (under control).

This has all happened because you rotated your upper body Left with your Right leg rooted

• Example: From Grasp the Sparrows Tail, Ward of Left in the Traditional Yang Style form, going into Grasp the Sparrows Tail, Ward of Right; the upper body turn to the Left creates a root ( 100% Left ) and creates the Holding Ball position ( a combination of turning and sinking ( with hips front ). The turn Right creates a step by the empty Right leg / foot and the empty arms and hands follow through 50 /50. The continued turn Right transfers weight to 70% Right ( a shift ) and the empty arms and hands follow. Keeping the Hips front allows  the Rotation of the center to create movement.

So … if you remember these principles it will help over come inertia and answer the question … what moves first? Rotate and Shift / Rotate and Step.  In addition,  If you remain rooted ( substantial ), movements will / can be made under control while protecting the knee of the root leg.