[Path to Mastery 3/22/10 – Wk28 D1 (Str 9.12.09)(Ph2 11.15.09)]
Continuing our Tai-Chi Journey:
‘Foot Sole Stick Earth’. Straight forward.
This principle means that you have to feel as if the Sole of your feet is stuck to the ground as if it is a suction cup. I had to look up the dictionary to be sure but ‘Sole’ apparently indicates the part of the foot between the balls of your feet and the heel.
This is interesting because in Chinese, the word sole that they use means whole bottom of foot. But interestingly enough, the Tai-Chi Classics say that your bubbling well should be stuck to the floor. The bubbling well is the place of the foot that goes in when you try to make a fist with your foot. When you imagine that you are standing on your bubbling well, you will feel as if your sole is a suction cup. So for our purpose, sole works not only fine, but might even work better.
Here are some key things to know about ‘Foot Sole Stick Earth’.
It’s not about the foot, but your knee. ‘Huh?’ Did I get your attention? I hope I did. That’s right. It’s not about the foot. It’s about how you position your knee. This is the secret. If you position your knee properly, you get the ‘Foot Sole Stick Earth’ phenomenon.
Now as you stand shoulder width apart, Visualize your knee lining up with your bubbling well. That’s it. That is the secret. But if you do this simple step right, this is what give you the rooting power and the sensation of your sole sticking to the floor.
If you are not sure what the bubbling well is, line your knee up with the balls of your feel and stand on the ball of you feet, while your heel is still touching the floor. You may wonder how this creates a suction cup feeling if you are not standing on the whole foot equally. When the knee is over the ankle, the foot and the leg up to the knee creates a very secure base. When the base is secure, everything above the knee can relax. You will find out that if your knee is aching from practicing it is often because your knee was not balanced over your bubbling well, and the weight was not falling on the bubbling well/ball of your feet. This alignment secures the knee.
Once the knee is secure, your thigh and hamstrings relax, and you will feel the ‘Chi Sink to Dan-Tien’. Without a secure base, without support you cannot properly relax. It’s like laying down on you back. When you are laying down in a good bed, you can feel the entire body relaxing and then just basking in the pleasure. This is because your entire back is supported and your muscles don’t need to engage as much to keep the body balanced. The same is true when you are standing. When your base is secure, it helps you to be better balanced and thus be more relaxed. The more secure your base, the deeper you can relax.
For training purposes, you can stand heavier on your heel. Standing on the heel will bring more structural strength and muscular tension. I often find that people also get their knee pain this way. However, it is a good supplemental training since it trains different aspects of your structure. Standing on the whole foot will calm you and deeply relax you more, but your stance will be higher. This is a good one to practice if you are feeling like you need rest. Last, you may practice with your weight primarily on the balls of your feet and your toes. When you are on your bubbling well, unlike being on your heel, it creates jing, springy power. When you are on your toes, the springy power and mobility amplifies. On the day, your body will tell you which method you should use to train that day.
Now, one important note is that the alignment of the knee and the bubbling well is not a physical alignment. There is a physical alignment, but it is more a feeling that your knee is aligned with the bubbling well. There is a connection you should feel from the bubbling well to your knee. Another thing you should mind is that you should never stress this connection physically. For instance, in the beginning it is fine to stand on the balls of your feet where you feel a lot of pressure on the ball of your feet. But as you get more secure in your sense of the connection, you should lessen the physical pressure until there is no physical pressure and only a sense of connection with no extra physical burden. Tai-Chi is a mental martial art. The mind intends it and the body follows the intention, so as a general rule, your intention and visual perception, and your kinesthetic sense of internal connection will increase but your physical stress will always decrease. The body will feel more and more relaxed, lighter and lighter, and movements will become easier and easier, and you will feel an intrinsic sense of strength coming from deep within almost as if you are a highly pressurized balloon. This is one of the reasons Tai-Chi is called an internal art.
In short, less is more. Always remember, less is more. Start with concrete and then try to do less and less. Have fun with ‘Foot Sole Stuck Earth’.
History of Tai-Chi Journey up to this point:
Before the blog opened to the public, we covered the single person part of the system.
1. Chi-Gong (Taoist Longevity, White Crane Chi-Gong)
2. Standing Meditation
3. Stepping Mediation
4. 7 Basics
5. Basic Form
6. 30 Form
7. 108 Form
8. 4 Type Pushing Hands
Interactive training after we went public with the blog.
1. 8 Type Pushing Hands (Covered from 2/2 ~ 2/11)
2. San-Shou (Covered from 2/12 ~ 2/15)
3. Ba-Gua.(Covering from 2/16 ~ 2/19)
4. Weapons (Covered on 2/23)
5. Healing System (Covered on 2/24)
1. Introduction (Covered 2/25)
2. Free moving – conditioning (Covered 2/26)
3. Free hand pushing hand (Covered 3/1)
4. Free hand (2 person drills and multiple person drills) (Covered 3/2)
5. Free hand weapon (2 person drills and multiple person drills) (Covered 3/3)
1. Principles (Covered 3/4)
2. Principle of Principles (Covered 3/5)
3. Principles of Upper Body (Covered 3/8 – 3/15)
1) ‘Empty Spirit Summit Strong’ (Covered on 3/8)
2) ‘Tailbone centered and upright’ (Covered on 3/9)
3) ‘Contain chest Raise Back’ (Covered 3/10)
4) ‘Settle Shoulder Drop Elbow’ (Covered 3/11)
5) ‘Squat Wrist Open Fingers’ (Covered 3/15)
4. Principles Governing Lower Body:
1)’Chi Sinks to Dan-Tien’ (Covered 3/16)
2)’Relax Waist Squat Crotch’ (Covered 3/17)
3)’Round Crotch Bend Knee’ (Covered 3/18)
4)’Insubstantial Substantial Distinguish Clearly’ (Covered 3/19)
5)’Foot Sole Stick Earth’ (Covered Today)