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

Song Kua Seminar at Peaceful Wolf T’ai Chi

A week ago I had the wonderful opportunity to teach a seminar at Peaceful Wolf Tai Chi  in East Haddam, CT, hosted by my good friend, Sifu David Shaver. David is an 81 year old testimonial to the power of the internal martial arts to keep you youthful and active. He has been an actor and a rodeo bull rider, among other professions, and now focuses on teaching taijiquan and other martial arts in his beautiful studio (built by David and his students and modeled after the Zhang San Feng Hall at the T’ai Chi Farm). As I mentioned in… Read More

21st Annual Tai Chi Alchemy. Part 2

What an incredible weekend! We soared so high, it has taken me a couple of weeks to come down enough to write about it. So much of the really important stuff that happens at TCA is too insubstantial to put into words. Things like that blaze of light when a total stranger gives you a hug that melts you to the core of your being…or when you realize that qi is not just something that you read in a book, but is something you can feel and use…or when you find in yourself that person that you always hoped you… 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