Lower Back – Drop, not Tuck

One of the first lessons I learned as a beginning Tai Chi Chuan student twenty years ago was to “tuck under” to flatten the back. I hope this isn’t still being taught because twenty years of “tucking under” ingrained a muscular habit that I had to unlearn when I began seriously practicing Zhan Zhuang. What I’m calling lower back arch, drop and tuck are also known as pelvic anterior tilt, neutral, and posterior tilt. …

— Source: Lower Back: Arch, Drop, and Tuck | Internal Gong Fu

I, too was first introduced to this concept of “tucking” the lower back/pelvis area. I am still working on trying to understand and feel the difference between drop and tuck.   When I paid a visit to Rick of Wujifa, I realized I still had a long way to go in this journey, as I was still tucking.

It’s easier to tuck and think one is straightening/elongating/stretching the lower back.  To me, there is a psychological underlying component where one feels comfort in holding excess tension.  When I think of this, I am reminded of the scene in Jet Li’s Twin Warriors where he sees an image of a praying mantis standing on a leaf and is reminded to “lighten the load” and move on.  Only then, can he break on through to the other side.

For more on the discussion with videos for clarification points, click through the link above.


About wujimon

taiji, meditation and health
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4 Responses to Lower Back – Drop, not Tuck

  1. S.Smith says:

    As a tucker, I empathize: it’s not for me either.

    But if I were guessing, I’d guess that more people “tilt” than “tuck” so, for them, tucking is one way to describe lengthening. Not for us. Tilting slightly makes my spine longer.

    I’ve worked with lots of tuckers, too. And your post got me wondering about numbers: I wonder if more tuckers come to martial arts that tilters?

  2. S.Smith says:

    Drop is a better word (and idea)… it would work for both tuckers and tilters. I might have to use that!

    Thanks again for a good idea.

  3. wujimon says:

    Tucking has been around for such a long time that it’s common to find this way or training and practicing across all literature in taiji. It wasn’t until I started training in Chen taiji that I was told “not to tuck”. It will take many “don’t tuck” sayings before people catch on.

  4. roamingwind says:

    I found out that during zhang zhuan when the lower back is relaxed it will drop and thereby the pelvic will tuck in. the dropping and tucking are natural consequences of relaxing the lowerback. When the lowerback still has tension, it is hard to drop and tuck. the more relaxed the lower back is the better the drop, and the heavier the legs feel.

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