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

Steel Bar Wrapped in Cotton

Poet Linda Addison recently thanked me for introducing her to Bone Breathing. Years ago she was diagnosed with osteopenia, a condition where bone mineral density is lower than normal. It is sometimes a precursor to osteoporosis. a serious loss of bone mass that makes bones highly susceptible to breakage. She credits Bone Breathing and taijiquan with a correction of her her current state of good bone health. She is not alone. May others have experienced profound improvement in bone density. One of the promises of taijiquan is to develop bones that are like “steel bars wrapped in cotton.” Muscular tension is… Read More

Unhitched and Untethered

I watched a lot of westerns when I was a kid. Gunsmoke, The Lone Ranger, Wild Bill Hickok, Have Gun Will Travel…the list goes on. It was a staple of our meager television diet when there were only three channels available and the world was seen in black and white. One thing always puzzled me as I watched this feast of oatburners. The cowpoke would ride up to the saloon and would loop the reins over the hitching post to park his horse. No sailors knot required. Not even a granny knot. Just once around that post and this half-ton… 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