Setting the Knee (Part Two)

“Correct Knee Position” is not a topic that exactly quickens the pulse. For most of us it sounds like a real snoozer. We don’t really care. That is, until there is PAIN. For the first fifty years of my life I had little regard for this ingenious and delicate joint. I rode my knees hard and put them away wet. Playground pick up basketball, high school football, running through the woods, competitive push hands…I was pretty oblivious to the pounding my knees were getting. Then I started getting sharp stabbing pains when I walked up and down stairs. My knees… Read More

Setting the Knee (Part One)

I have long advised taijiquan practitioners to consciously “Set the Knee” before loading the substantial leg. Meaning, you make sure that your structure is in place before you put weight on it. The knee should be in the optimal load-bearing position before asking it to handle not just the weight of the body, but also the force generated by the powerful muscles of the legs, back, and buttocks. To which I now add, “No, really.” The habitual patterns established long, long, LONG ago tend to override that simple instruction and filter it out. It requires a conscious decision to tell… Read More

Tensegrity Revisited

Check out this video by Thomas Myers, author of Anatomy Trains. It is a lively explanation of how the connective tissue system uses the principle of tensegrity to greatly enhance its effective power as well as its reliance. Myers is an authority on the myofascial network and his explanations are clear and colorful. In Chapter 14 “Tensegrity” of Taijiquan: Through the Western Gate, I discuss the importance of this principle: Chinese martial arts and Chinese healing arts have long emphasized the importance of the connective tissue system in the conduction of internal energy. The Western model has primarily focused on… Read More

Interview with Creative Consciousness Radio and Overtone Singing in CT

Two things happened last week that I’d like to share: Interview on Creative Consciousness Radio with Sam and Cabrini Greco, and overtone chanting at a poetry reading at the “Gaia’s Lament: Art Cry!” in New London, CT. First the interview. I was contacted by Sam and Cabrini to go on their web-based program and we did it live last Tuesday (Bastille Day! “Liberte. Eagalite. Fraternite.”) It was an honor as well as a real joy. Sam and Cabrini are on a mission to give voice to those on a spiritual path who are working to make a difference in people’s… Read More

Song Kua: Clarification

I devoted a chapter to the kua in Taijiquan: Through the Western Gate and it’s time to clarify what is meant by song kua. (pronounced soong) I recently posted the steps to take to get more from your kua and I’d like to sharpen the focus a little here. For years, I have been telling students to “release” the kua in preparation for any movement. And that is still true. But don’t stop there. “Releasing” gets you out of the habitual hip tension that prevails in our culture. (I blame it on the flush toilet. In China, where you squat… Read More