<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Wushuer:
My own personal theory is that it helps, immensly, in getting your body weight out of that front, non-weighted, leg and allows you to lift it up slightly faster, but only very slightly. Leaving my toe down doesn't give me any more feeling of "rooted" so I'm not sure what that gets me if I leave it down, and there are plenty of places in the Yang style form where you land on the heel of the non-weighted foot with your toes up (Lift Hands, Step Up for one). But I do know what I lose when I leave it down, and that's the very minor time it takes to get that foot off the ground fully.
While I know this works to help your speed, through practical application and experimentation, I don't know that's the exact reason for lifting the toes in the other forms, or why you don't in this one.
I just keep hearing Eddie's form instructions, "palm down, toe down, move your weight forward", and the like. So I know it's something they believe in firmly.
Anyone know the Yangs stance on this?
I don’t have any hard and fast answers, but I’ll happily speculate. My Yang style teacher teaches toes down on Grasp the Bird’s Tail. I’d never thought about why, but after reading your post I stood up and tried it your way. The only way I get my front foot to come up off the ground faster with my toes up was if I had my weight nearly 100% on my back leg. From what I’ve seen, this is not the standard position for weight in the back in a bow step. Take a look at the picture of Master Yang doing roll back on the Yang Association home page (there’s a link at the bottom of the page you’re on). His weight is isn’t fully on the back leg. That may not be what you’re doing, but that’s the only way I could get my front toes off the ground and remain relaxed.
The other way I discovered to get my front toes off the ground in GTBT was to put some tension into my waist and lower back—in other words, failing to relax the waist and hips. So that’s worth checking, but you sound pretty relaxed
As for the toe-lifting requirement on those, the height of the toes off the ground depends on your stance. The main requirement is to maintain the relaxation in your foot that you maintain in the rest of your body. So if your empty stance is very deep, your toe could be a ways off the ground. A person with a higher empty stance might have only the internal feeling of their toes off the ground but their entire shoe would still be touching the ground.
As for martial reasons, well, in lift hands and step up you’re using split energy, and it feels really solid and rooted to me to drive my front heel into the ground when doing that. Same with Repulse Monkey. Yes, you have pulling energy and a forward strike, but they are going in opposite directions, like split. So perhaps that’s why.
In GTBT it’s a different story. When I use those energies in push hands I like to maintain the flat of my foot on the ground because it gives me a much larger and stable platform to launch from or retreat into. It’s not that I feel more rooted, it’s that I feel like I can change my root at will. Having my whole foot on the ground allows me to transfer my root from toes to heel to bubbling well as well as each side of my foot very quickly in response to my opponent. It also lets me “feel out” the terrain under foot and helps if I’m pushing on scree.
I actually feel that having my whole foot on the ground helps me get my foot off the ground for stepping faster than if I were on my heel. Why? Let’s say that I do have some weight in the heel of the forward foot. If I’m going to lift it, I have to shift my weight backward first in order to empty the front foot. If I’m pushing off the heel alone, I’m more vulnerable to an attack from the side while I’m moving my weight back than if I had my whole foot down. If I were attacked from the side with my whole foot down, I could more easily change the angle of my weight shift. I could move my root from the heel to the right edge (or wherever) and still push off backwards from that point or use the foot placement to brace the rest of the body for yielding forward instead.
If I were attacked from the side while on my heel I have a very small platform to root from and work off of. I’d have to move my hips in a much larger circle to deflect incoming forces than if I had my whole foot on the ground and could use that too.
Well, I hope some of this has been useful. The part I’m wondering about is the difference in martial application between the heel rooting empty step and the one where you root through the ball of the foot. Does anyone know that one?
[This message has been edited by Kalamondin (edited 08-18-2004).]