Breaking Structure

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!

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About wujimon

taiji, meditation and health
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6 Responses to Breaking Structure

  1. Pingback: wujimon » Breaking Structure Pt 2

  2. robi says:

    Good comments. Have you tried moving through a few movments while a partner whatches for breaks in your strucutre? This seems to be the best way for me in that it is hard to allways know when you are breaking structure. For me, since I have a bad back, I can often feal when my structure is more correct since poor strucutre quickly transaltes in increased load on the lower back and buttocks which generates pain for me. Funnily enough during Physical Therapy who also does martial arts pointed out that often when people do stance work or do it poorly that instead of loading their quads they use their lower backs and buttocks to cheat. For most people thats ok but for me it causes problems.

  3. wujimon says:

    Thanks for the comment, Robi. Unfortuneatly, right now, all of my training is done solo. I plan on starting something up again a bit more formal when the family life is not so hectic. I got a lot of my pointers on structure and such when I was corrected at seminars and in private lessons with my previous instructors. To me, I’ve received more than what I can experience and do at this time so I’m all good 😉 Thanks for the pointers

  4. lifegivingsword says:

    May I hasten to add the obvious here that its ok for your knee to go past your toes briefly when emitting fa jing on certain techniques, but it then needs to come back to the instep.

    Also, funny that Robi confirms what i’ve just discovered, that I’m not loading my legs, I’m using tension in the hip flexors which is bad bad bad.

    Damn Taiji is a lot of work.

  5. wujimon says:

    Hi LGS. I don’t feel that the knees should go beyond the toes in any movement. I think in the instance of fajing, the waist turns the the kuas oppose each other (one up, one down) to generate force, not necessarily sinking at the knees.

    agree.. taiji is A LOT of work 🙂

  6. Pingback: wujimon » Internal Arts IA

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