Thursday, March 18, 2010

Round Crotch Bend Knee

[Path to Mastery 3/17/10 – Wk27 D3 (Str 9.12.09)(Ph2 11.15.09)]

Continuing our Tai-Chi Journey:

One of my student and good friend told me that I only get away with some of the things I say because of my Asian accent.  I think these Crotch subjects definitely qualify for those subjects that I can talk about naturally because I have an Asian accent.  So listen to these words with an accent.  It will sound more authentic!

So, we are on a roll with Crotch principles.  Yesterday I covered ‘Relax Waist Squat Crotch’, today we will be covering ‘Round Crotch and Bend Knee’. 

So far we have been covering the principles from simple straight forward visualization principles that allow you to lead your chi.  As we covered in the very first day of the principles series, all the principles are covered by one, and only one principle. Which one is it?  You thought ‘Empty Spirit Summit Strong’ didn’t you?  Go back and check the blog on 3/5, principles principle. 

If you did remember correctly, congratulations!  The principle of all principle is ‘Yi Chi Li’, which stand for ‘Mind Chi Strength’, simply meaning that the mind leads Chi, and that Chi leads your muscles.  Visualization is one of the most effective ways to lead your energy. 

The body is a very complex organism.  To consciously coordinate all the different parts of the body moving together while making sure your timing and all the different angles are correct is too much for your brain to handle, especially if you are dealing with an opponent.  Visualization allows for a simple mind picture to simplify the coordination of all the different aspect of the body.  Here is an example of this concept.  I had a friend who was learning how to run.  She would keep pounding her heel into the ground, and she had trouble because of it.  She received advice from her friends who were consummate runners and she even received advice from professionals.  They taught her the mechanism of running, of how to land with the heel and to go heel toe, heel toe.  They taught her how to coordinate her arms and legs.  It wasn’t helping and she was frustrated.  I told her to just keep her eyes on the horizon and start running at a comfortable pace, and to forget the body mechanics.  I told her to imagine that as she started running towards the horizon, the horizon was coming towards her.  As the horizon came towards her, it started merging with her feet and that as the horizon merged with her feet, it started pulling her forward.  I told her that the floor would come towards her and merge with her feet and she would start flowing towards the horizon as if the floor and she were one.   

You should have seen her face the next day.  She was ecstatic!  She said that her feet stopped pounding and she started flowing!  Now she is an excellent runner.  This is some of the Tai-Chi visual principles for running.  If you stop to consider, it is not easy to control the body when you are going at a fast speed to precisely land and smoothly coordinate the heel toe transition.  Most of us learned how to run when we were kids and hardly think about it anymore, but if you actually consciously try to run heel toe heel toe, you will notice that most of you will get stiffer and start pounding the floor too.  This goes to show how much of even our simple movements are highly complex movement that we don’t think about it anymore because we mastered them when we were little kids.  The visualization takes the burden of having to individually coordinate the different parts of the body and simplifies things. 

Today, we will depart from the straight forward extension principles.  Today we will create balls!

So, here is today’s visualization practice:
8)    Imagine your crown being pulled up by a golden string (Ok, maybe one simple extension). 
9)    Now as your spine lengthens, and your shoulders drop away, imagine that there is a tennis ball in your arm pits creating a hollow sensation in your armpits.  When this happens, you will feel your arms lengthen.  When that happens imagine your arms on the side are comfortably resting on a large ball as if you had a giant Buddha belly.
10)    When you perform ‘Contain Chest Raise Back’, imagine that your upper back and your lats are part of a giant ball and is expanding.  This should make your chest feel so relaxed that you can imagine that your chest cavity is empty and there is an empty ball sitting in your chest cavity. 
11)    ‘Chi Sink to Dan-Tien’ should make your Dan-Tien feel like a ball with a black hole at it’s center. 
12)    Now that Chi is in Dan-Tien (A shorter way to translate ‘Chi Sink to Dan-Tien’), you should feel Relax Waist Squat Crotch.
13)    Yesterday I explained that your legs should be bent and your tail bone dropped, and your small of your back should flatten out as your lower abdomen becomes engaged.  When this happens, you should feel as if there is a ball supporting the inside of your legs.  This is called ‘Round Crotch’.  If you don’t feel it, imagine that you have a tube of balloon that comfortably rounding your legs and supporting the inside of your legs.  Now you should not round it in a exaggerated manner.  It has to be natural.  It is the sensation of feeling a ball of energy between your legs. 
14)    The knees should be bent comfortably.  You should feel the natural springiness of your legs through the bent legs as if they are springs.  The knees being bent should make you slightly bow legged, but only enough to make the knees be directly above your arches.  So, if you are standing shoulder width apart or more with your legs, you bow them enough so that seen from the front, you knees are directly above your arch.  This creates direct support from the ground for the knees, and since the knees are not at odd angles, they are well supported.  This is what creates the sensation of having a ball between your legs.  This is called ‘Round Crotch Bent Knees’.  It is this principle that creates the rooting power and the springy power generation that make Tai-Chi powerful as a martial art. 

The application principles which we will be covering later talk about how the power is generated in the legs, control by the waist, expressed through the fingers.  The ‘Round Crotch Bent Knees’, is analogous to the root of the tree.  The trunk above the root can only shake as vigorously as the strength of its roots.  As you train this principle, these words will become clearer to you.       

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)

Non-Structured System:
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)

Detailed Instructions:
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 today)
   4)’Insubstantial Substantial Distinguish Clearly’
   5)’Foot Palm Paste(Stick) Earth’


  1. So this is how standing meditation is supposed to be. I think it is worth noting that without the emotional effect goading you on then visualization is usually not possible.

  2. I have found that consistent visualization adds to your ability to listen to your "body knowledge". As an example, now , while doing standing meditation, a visualization of the connection from my finger tips to the muscles in the middle of my back showed up for me as opposed to me creating a visualization. It was my body communicating its knowledge to me.

    Just like the running example in the blog, it is also good to evaluate your visualization to see if it is creating the desired result and makes movement more natural. Some visualizations are better than others. For example, when I learned to cross country ski, the conventional teaching was to see yourself putting pressure on the snow with your front foot and kicking back to glide you forward. My coach taught us to think about just sliding your back foot forward (just like we walk) and the kick and glide from the front foot would happen automatically. As a result, my improvement was fast and my movement was more graceful, only due to what I was visualizing