Thursday, October 18, 2007

Rooting in Taijiquan (Tai Chi)

Rooting is the process of making a good connection to the ground in stances and during transitions.

We were talking about rooting in class the other day. I thought that this would be a good forum for discussing this in more detail. In one of our recent blogs, I discussed the 333 principles consisting of 3 bows, 3 internal unities, and 3 external unities. We must maintain these three principles and an upright posture to achieve proper rooting. Mainly speaking, we need to maintain a stretched and bowed Kua and an upright stretched and bowed posture. When we refer to rooting we are talking about rooting the legs (and thus the entire body) of the completed postures as well as the legs during the transitions as well.

Yong Quan: When we are trying to achieve rooting in Taijiquan, we should visualize below the surface of the floor or ground... much like the roots of a tree. The "Bubbling Well" an acupoint called Yong Quan (KI-1) located on the bottom of the foot should be used as the point from which this imaginary root extends into the ground from which to draw strength. Rooting in Taijiquan will transfer from foot to foot, but never stays equally rooted on the right and the left. The weight should remain on the outer edges of the feet and remain a slight gripping feel with the toes, the ball of the foot, and the heel. Although the Yong Quan never touches the floor, you should still focus on this area as the root of each movement. Techniques to build this skill vary from person to person. I recommend using different visualizations and thoughts to see what works best for each person.

Posture to be maintained to achieve proper rooting: The Bai Hui (GV-20) acupoint, located at the top & slight-rear of the head lines up vertically with the Hui Yin (C0-1), located at the exact center underneath the groin area. This is done by turning the hips upward... thus opening the Ming Men (GV-4) located at the small of the back... and also tucking the chin in slightly but keeping the head upright.

Rooting is an essential part of our Taijiquan training and often takes years to develop good consistent skills... so be patient and thankful for making incremental gains.

© Copyright 2007 David West

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