foot pivot

foot pivot

Postby fazhu » Mon Jul 23, 2012 12:51 am

Hello all. I was hoping that I might be able to glean some insight from you all concerning the pivoting of feet during forms practice. Due to a peronial nerve injury, I can't dorsiflex (lift toes) my right foot. Needless to say, it definitely adds another challenge to Taijiquan practice (can you say "balance"? hehe). I know the accepted historical norm is to pivot on the heel as opposed to the ball of the foot. In his book "Taiji Jian" James Drewe talks about "slipping the rear heel" saying that although "toe lifting" and "heel slipping" have their merits, the latter is used more in the Jian form. Here is a specific example of my problem (although they occur throughout my form): 24 beijing, when transitioning from the first "snake creeps low" to " cock stands on one leg" the rear foot should be pivoted on the heel but, I can't do that so I have to pivot on the ball. So, in order that I don't spread my stance out too far, I have make sure that my step is not too big. That's just one example. There are some instances where I don't exactly pivot on the heel but I can kinda "push" my toes. what are the implications of heel pivot vs. ball pivot? I know there are alignment and application issues are at play and that is why we do it this way but...anyone care to share ideas or thoughts about how I can adapt?
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Re: foot pivot

Postby Audi » Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:21 am

Hi fazhu,

You seem to have already discovered the main coping mechanisms I can think of, but one additional one might be to convert difficult pivots into actual steps. This so what I do on the rare occasions I do the form in a setting where pivots are impractical, e.g., doing weighted pivots in bare feet on rough concrete or asphalt. There are already several places in the form where we step, even though a pivot would be easy to do.

Take care,
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Re: foot pivot

Postby bijonshitzu » Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:03 pm

Hey Fazhu I am not sure what you CAN do with that foot, but I know what difficulties balance can pose- I have had Multiple Sclerosis for over 30 years and have practiced T'ai Chi for 15 of those years---my balance has improved immeasurably .
Anyway, Cheng man-ching points out that when issuing energy at the end of each posture, the back foot toes in at a 45 degree angle-- this should not be done by lifting the toes but making sure that the toes move with the waist, dragged along so to speak. This could be expedited by using a smooth surface, or shifting more than 70 % on to the front foot to make the connection between waist and back foot easier. In the posture you describe, you can push off your right HEEL and not worry about the toe? We are really pushing from the heel in the situation you described( and others) anyway.
Do you use the Posting technique when doing that form?
Best of luck
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