Setting the Knee (Part 3): The Most Important Movement in the Form

I just shot this video after class last night to further illustrate the importance of “setting the knee.” Even students that have been with me for decades found this enormously helpful. Don’t worry if you don’t get this right away. Oftentimes, habitually over-shifting to the outside of the foot results in atrophy of the muscles on the inside of the thigh. Hold on to something (wall, chair, table) as you learn to trust the power that comes from being centered and rooted. Take it slow. It’s worth the time and effort!

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

Taijiquan Immersion with Rick at Eastover, July 21-23

Eastover Estate and Retreat is a stunningly beautiful holistic retreat center and 600 acre natural sanctuary, located in the heart of the Berkshire mountains. Eastover is the vision of founder Yingxing Wang who orchestrated an incredible ten-year renovation of the entire estate, making eco-friendly choices wherever possible. It opened a couple years ago and focuses primarily on Chinese medicine, qigong, and internal martial arts. The housing is priced very reasonably (by Berkshire standards) and the options range from luxurious to tents pitched in the yard. Check out this online brochure.   July 21-23. Yang Cheng Fu’s 13 Original Postures. This… Read More

Coherence and the Human Microbiome

“Human microbiome”? This was a term that was not really on my radar until very recently. Sure, I had encountered in the past and had some vague ideas about its relationship to health, but it was pretty far down the list of things to think about. Thanks to a fortuitous encounter with Rhonda Wilbur, acupuncturist and PhD candidate in Integrative Biomedical Sciences, that changed very recently. (Here is a study she co-authored titled, “Collaborative study by USF and China partner reveals acupuncture can treat hypertension through antioxidant effects.”) She is researching the relationship of the human microbiome on immunology and… Read More

The Roots of Pointing

A question I often get when showing people how to enhance energetic coherence by pointing is, “Why is it the index finger?” The short answer is, “Because it works.” I’ve tested using other fingers with hundreds of people and the index finger is the only one that does the job reliably. The inspiration came from two sources. First, in taijiquan sword forms, the hand not holding the sword is often in a shape called “the secret sword hand.” The index and middle fingers are pointed forward and the ring and little fingers are curled under the thumb. I dutifully did… Read More