Taiji Harder in a Higher Stance?

Last night, I was doing taiji in my bedroom. There’s not a huge amount of space, but enough to play a bit. If I had to guesstimate, I’d say there’s probably maybe 4-5 low stance widths of room on the diagonal. As such, it’s very difficult to do a form in a low stance in this area. I was feeling a bit sleepy and tired last night so decided to play the 24 form, but this time, I told myself I would do the WHOLE FORM without adjustment to angles in this area.

Doing the whole form in this area meant I had to take a higher stance, a much higher stance than what I used to normally practice. To my surprise, I found it quite difficult to try and do taiji at this height. Sure, I didn’t feel any burn or pain in the thighs, but I had A LOT of issues with timing. By timing, I’m referring to coordination of upper and lower body. For example, in doing ‘part wild horse’s mane’, I found that I had completed shifting weight while my arms were still moving! It was much easier to coordinate the timing when I did a lower stance because I had more ‘time’ to work with. But now, there is little room for error and the precision is tighter.

Ya learn something new every day .. 🙂


About wujimon

taiji, meditation and health
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7 Responses to Taiji Harder in a Higher Stance?

  1. zenmindsword says:

    reminds me of people who tell me that if i can kick high i can kick low. true except whenever i tried to kick low the auto reflex would kick in and my leg would end up going high. to kick this habit, i had to stop kicking high. so much for conventional wisdom.

    doing taiji in a high stance requires a much slower timing to ensure proper coordination. so outwardly it looks easy but its nice to see your finding. perhaps your next experiment could involve moving fast in a high stance and seeing if you can still keep the coordination 🙂

  2. wujimon says:

    I can barely move in a coordinated manner with a higher stance, let alone thinking about moving FAST!!

    I’ve heard stories of Chen Xiaowang doing his shortened Chen 19 form at full speed, yet he was completed coordinated. I think a lot of folks forget that movely slowly is a learning tool for us to explore movement, but ultimately we should also learn to move fast!

    Great points about the kick. I used to do the high kicks (toe at nose height) but now I do more mid kicks with heel at abdomen. Perhaps I’ll play around with the whole “toe-flick”, that it, toe at knee height.

  3. puredoxyk says:

    Even as a beginner, I find it easier to balance & coordinate myself with a lower stance. Sometimes my knees are not okay with this, though, and I’ve definitely noticed that I’m wobblier and have more timing issues when standing up straighter. I suppose it’ll turn out to be a good thing that I have to practice both ways!

    Any more info you want to post about learning the forms “at speed”, I’d love it. It’s hard to even find someone to *watch* doing the forms fast, much less to get one’s head around learning how to do it. (Should one wait until one has the forms down very well slowly, before practicing anything at speed? Should one attempt the whole form at speed to learn to do it fast, or work on it a move at a time?)

    Thanks as always!

  4. wujimon says:

    In my own training, I like to try and vary the following:

    stance: low, middle, high
    pace: slow, medium, fast

    by that alone, we can train many combinations of the same form! I admit, I’ve neglected the high and fast attribute combos 🙂

  5. Shang Lee says:

    I actually find more burn/pain in the thighs in the higher stances! I found that out while training in Sun style. my reasoning is that due to Sun style’s mobile base, the weight is more concentrated on a smaller base area, as oppose to a more distributed weight in lower stances with a wider base area. any thoughts?

  6. wujimon says:

    Hi Shang.

    I’ve often gotten ‘the burn’ in higher stances. To me, it’s not about how low, but getting the correct alignment and opening the kua to allow for the weight to not get blocked in the hips. This is my own experience and understanding..

    I’ve gotten ‘the burn’ with only 20 degree bend before too after receiving posture corrections in chen! 🙂

  7. Pingback: GETTING HIGH « TaiJiQuestion

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