Snake Creeps Down

Snake Creeps Down

Postby LarryC » Fri Jan 03, 2003 12:18 am

When performing Snake Creeps Down, I find it almost impossible to maintain a flat right foot (that is, the foot of the "squatting" leg).

Even after 3+ years of an hour-a-day practice, I seem to be no closer to keeping that right foot flat throughout the ENTIRE sequence of SCD. I have assumed that to be a function of having a stiff, 55 year-old body. But I now despair that things will ever loosen up enough.

My questions are:

"Is it really desireable/necessary to maintian a flat foot?"

"Do others have long term difficulties in doing do?"

During two different seminars I have noted that Yang Jun DID raise his right heel off the floor during SCD, so perhaps this is not a life-or-death matter. But I do find the question interesting. Does anyone who trains regularly with YJ have any of his words on this matter?

Thanks,
Larry
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Postby gene » Tue Jan 07, 2003 7:15 pm

Larry:

I have only trained with Yang Jun at seminars and do not remember whether he kept the foot flat during SCD. My instinct tells me that the flat foot is needed to provide stability and rooting in the stance. Question: How low are you sinking in the stance? If you stay up a little higher, can you keep the foot flat? When I was teaching the 24-step simplified form a few years back, I preferred that my students sink only so far as was comfortable. When they raised the rear heel to try to sink further, I saw a lot of wobbling and instability. I would be very interested in the views of other readers on this point.

Gene
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Postby JerryKarin » Tue Jan 07, 2003 7:56 pm

Oddly, the literature does not mention the right heel or keeping the right foot flat. I do remember Yang Zhenduo mentioning that it should be kept flat. He has also said that in certain types of shoes (where the heels are thicker than the front sole) this may be difficult. I know that in one of the pictures from the Portland seminar Yang Jun's heel seems to lift up. I think this is merely because of the circumstances - he was standing around listening and then had to suddenly perform this demanding move and was probably a little cold and stiff. I have seen him do it with heel completely flat. I suggest you try to keep the foot flat and do it slightly higher. Don't force the move lower while allowing the heel to lift or other defects such as bending forward, allowing the buttocks to protrude backward, etc. Getting low is mainly a matter of being able to open the hip joints and splitting the legs, not using excessive force and stress on the right knee. Gradually you will be able to relax the hips open. If you keep some weight on the front foot, ie don't shift too far back, this will allow you to use your body weight to gently work to push the legs apart in a split.
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Postby jp shadow » Wed Jan 08, 2003 4:54 am

I remember being taught a very helpful stretching exercise by c.k. chu in new york city. Squat down with feet flat and toes at slight angles. This position will stretch the ankles,groin,back,knees and achilles tendons.Initally,mantaining balance in this position may be difficult. A remedy would be to perform this stretch with your back against the wall for support, or holding on to a pole for balance. This exercise will promote the fexibility which is required to attain the deep and flat-footed posture of "snake creeps down". Good luck jp.
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Postby DavidJ » Thu Jan 09, 2003 8:48 pm

Hi Larry C,

I think that keeping the foot flat on the floor in 'Snake Creeps Down' is important, especially in regularly doing the form.

I agree with the responses. You may not need to go down as far as you do. This depends on a few things.

As suggested, stretch out the area - it may only be that you're too tight.

Make sure that your knee is directly over your toe and that your hip is in line as well. If there is too much strain at the hip the leg will want to alleviate the strain by raising the heel.

I hope this is clear enough.

David J
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Postby LarryC » Fri Jan 10, 2003 2:34 am

Thank you everyone for your responses. I will take all suggestions to heart.
Larry
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Postby LightLizard » Sat Jan 11, 2003 9:48 pm

Namaste, Larry and All. I would agree with all responses here and only add that it is important for knee safety that the right foot stays 'flat' during the snake creeps low sequence. Also, do not sink lower than your posture allows, that is, the spine should remain upright and not lean forward. The difficulty you have may be associated to tight hips. Sit on the floor, put your soles together in front (of course), keep your back straight, grab your feet and lean forward, (remember, back straight) to stretch your groin muscles/tendons/. If you keep the spine straight you'll find you don't have to lean forward very much to get a good stretch.
Stay soft!
Love
LL
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Postby JerryKarin » Sat Jan 11, 2003 11:23 pm

Larry, one last thought on this. If your heel is regularly coming up, I think it is very probable that you are shifting your center of gravity too close to the right foot, which causes the right knee to go beyond the right toe, and consequently puts a lot of stress on the right ankle (and the right knee), forcing a rocker effect so that the heel lifts up. Notice in the picture at the upper left of this page that the center line of Yang Chengfu's torso is well forward of the back leg, which allows his knee to stay over the right toe and not go beyond the toe.
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Postby LarryC » Sun Jan 12, 2003 4:44 am

Jerry,
I appreciate what you are saying about not shifting to far toward the rear leg. And I can see what you mean about the drawing of YCF at the top of this page. Indeed, when I try not to go too far back, I can keep the right foot flat. But when I keep my torso more toward the center, I don't get that pretty forward leg extension that Yang Jun demonstrates in the picture you referred to in the earlier post on this topic.

(There exists a picture I took of Yang Jun at the 2000 Portland seminar which I have parked for the time being at: http://home.att.net/~cossypics/yangjun
This may be the picture you have referred to.)

Notice that YJ’s right knee does extend past his toe to quite a degree. I am not arguing with your suggestions for the move. In fact, what you say is reasonable and strikes me as a safer, more stable way to make the move. But does Yang Jun continue to do SCD in the manner displayed in the picture, or does he now do it in a way that keeps his knee from extending past his toe? I’m afraid I’m more confused than ever.

Larry
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Postby LightLizard » Sun Jan 12, 2003 6:52 am

Larry, you may have noticed that Y's right heel is NOT on the floor in the picture you refer to. Also, there is a slight leaning of the torso that I personally believe to be an inefficiency. Not to critisise too severely, mind you. The knee does go beyond the toe quite noticeably, as well, and as for that one could say that there are exceptions to almost every rule. You might want to see a pic of myself (taken a few years ago)-not that I am the best example, far from it, but you may find it helpful.
http://www.risingsunschool.com/waynewilson.htm
I don't think it is useful to sink lower than where the right thigh is horizontal. In fact, it may be quite detrimental to the knee to do so. Notice also that the knee should point in the same direction as the toe.
Creep on
LL
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Postby Audi » Sat Jan 25, 2003 7:38 pm

Hi all:

Interesting questions and comments. This is one of the postures that I understand the least and perform the worst. As a result, I have no real enlightenment to provide. I would, however, like to expand the subject slightly and add one more question.

I have always thought of Snake Creeps Down ("SCD") in terms of a flattened "V" shape, which can be thought of as the outline of the "shadow" formed on the ground by the 135-degree angle between the left leg and foot and the right leg and foot. (Perhaps, a backward check mark (“ü”) would be more precise, given that the right knee is bent. That, however, overtaxes both my conceptual and typing abilities.) Lately, it has occurred to me that the “V” image is flawed, because the straight lines formed by the legs cannot include the hip joints and the pelvis. Schematically, the pelvis forms a straight line than cannot fold in the middle and cannot simultaneously align with both sides of the “V” shape.

My question is: "How should I align the line of my pelvis with the sides of the "V"?

Should the hip joints be equally open? This would leave a “V” with a bottom that is a sawed-off blunt point, formed be the flat (or slightly curved) line of the pelvis. (Perhaps, a flattened upside-down volcano is the most analogous shape, like this “\_/”, but flatter, since it should have a 135-degree angle between the sides.)

Should I try to have my right hip socket more open than the left one so that I would be aligning the line of my pelvis more with my right thigh? This makes it easier to straighten the left knee and lengthen the left leg, but makes it harder to keep the right knee in line with the right foot. A possible argument in favor of this is that I recall Yang Jun talking at a seminar about the importance of keeping at shoulder width the parallel lines running east to west through the heels. He said that the proper shoulder width allows space for the body to sink down.

Should I try to have my left hip socket be more open so as to align the line of my pelvis more with my left thigh? This eases the problem of the right knee’s left-right alignment, but I think it implies that the knee must go quite far to the right and that the length of the original stride is critical to the depth of the posture.

One last possibility is that the orientation of the pelvis must change during the “dipping” portion of the posture. I recall one teacher speculating that something like this might be appropriate for the anatomy of women, who generally have wider pelvises than men. If I recall correctly, I think the proposal was that women would sink and rise back up by sequentially opening up first the left hip socket and then the right one.

Any ideas or suggestions?

Thanks in advance,
Audi
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