In contemporary wushu, when someone says get into a cat stance, this means you basically get into a stance in which the rear leg handles the grunt of the weight and only the tip toe of the forward leg touches the ground. The true test of this is to then be able to easily lift your front leg without shifting side-to-side or adjusting the height. Quite a difficult feat to maintain such a stance with stability on the rear leg.
What about in taiji? Is the same held true for taiji? One of the things I got drilled into me while training in chen is that when you do a “cat stance” or a “toe stance” aka “Empty Stance”, it really means that, you put all your weight onto the bearing leg and then put the tip toe of the other leg to the ground. The tip toe, not the area from the ball of the feet to the toe (what I had done in the past). This type of stance is commonly found in chen forms at the end of the the 6 Sealings 4 Closings posture in which you do a “push” and the weight is on the right leg and only the tip toe of the left foot touches the ground.
Since I used to keep the left leg settled on the area between the ball of the foot and the toe, I was cheating. I’d say that I could have easily had 20% of my weight on that leg even though it was supposed to be an empty stance. So, what happened after I made this switch to being on the tip toe? I often found that my hip jutted out beyond the frame of my body, that is, the plane of my outer hip extended beyond the plane created by the outer edge of my foot.
Is this necessarily a bad thing? I think so, b/c over time I started to realize the weight was getting locked in my hip and not being able to fully transfer to the ground. After the slight adjustment, I felt the burn in my thigh and knew the weight was now being transferred into the “weight bearing” leg and not being stuck in my hip.
[tags]taiji, training, tips, hip, stance[/tags]