Wow.. I can’t believe I have totally missed the fact that I often break structure! One of the structural elements in taiji is that between the knee and toe. Generally, the knees are not supposed to go past the toes, however I’ve modified this a bit and changed it so the knees do not go past the instep in my case. I used to have a lot of problems with this and I attribute a lot of them to my wushu days where the goal was to see how low one can go.
Anyhoo.. after viewing some footages of some notable chen folks like Chen Xiao Wang and Chen Zheng Lei, I noticed they do not let their knees go past the instep region or the bubbling well point of the foot. I’ve been trying to incorporate this into my own training and it’s been quite difficult. To get a deep stance and not break this structural alignment requires a flexible and loose kua. To me, it’s easy to go low, but it’s hard to sink. Sinking into the stance is difficult and painful.
I first started paying closer attention to my structure when I started to hold my postures for counts. I’d do the form and hold the posture and adjust. At this time, I was mainly focusing on the end result or the end posture and that was pretty good, though I’d often make adjustments here and there. One of the adjustments I would tend to make is the position of my hips/kua in the buddha warrior pounds the mortar posture right before I step up with my right foot.
Anyhoo.. I then started to play close attention to the lazy tie coat sequence and I realized that when I do the “pull back” or “deflect” posture right before the six sealings four closings, I would often move in such a way that my knee would go beyond the plane of my toes!!! Not just beyond the instep, but beyond the toes!!! I then adjusted my posture and really focused on this and it is very difficult to do this pull back and not go beyond the toes. It’s easier if I maintain a higher stance, but I tend to try and go low when I do chen, so this will take a bit of an adjustment.
Now that I’ve spotted this, I’m really gonna take some time to analyze ALL OF MY TRANSITIONS and to see where the structure is breaking!