I did not say you, in particular, did that.
I said that's how most people do it.
I've seen this same exercise done a few hundred times, at least, over the course of a couple of decades and that is how it is usually done.
Not always, there have been exceptions, but mostly.
I am a little short on time but I'll do what I can to clear this up as best as I can.
I will be typing this fast and furious so I probably won't get everything down and I'll clear those things up later.
From this line hopefully you will see the correct progression:
"Energy is rooted in the feet, generated from the legs, directed by the waist and expressed in the hands and fingers"
We've all heard this line I believe.
So why would you begin to push the wall with your hands, then your arms, then your shoulders, then your back, then your waist, then your legs and finally your feet? (Again, if you did not do this, BRAVO!)
It is this incorrect sequence of pushing that puts the "body weight" firmly on your back leg as you push, making the front leg insubstantial.
Now, I think we all know that when doing a forwarded weighted bow step, the front leg is the one that should be holding your body weight up off the floor.
When not pushing against anything, just doing your form work, and you reach the "end" position of the named form "Push", is your weight on your back leg or your front leg?
That's what I thought.
So to do this correctly, as I was taught it, you should...
Root with your feet:
Don't start pushing with your hands or your arms or any other part of your body, you start the act of pushing by first rooting with your feet.
You don't push with your feet, they're only there for rooting.
If you don't know how to root, you will need to learn that first.
Rooting with your feet allows you to begin your movement from a solid platform.
If you're not rooting with your feet, what are you pushing/pulling against?
Think of it this way; if you are standing on wet ice can how much pushing against something can you do?
You have to have a root in your feet or your push will be insubstantial, like you are standing on wet ice, right from the start.
Generate with your legs:
Your legs "generate" the power by pushing and pulling against your stable platform, your root.
So you use your legs to generate all the energy that you are going to use.
Not your arms, not your back, not your shoulders either; only your legs.
You start out sitting on your back leg, that leg should now be holding all of your "body weight". You should be sunk deeply but comfortably into this legs kua. This leg is "substantial", your other leg is "insubstantial". Your front leg should not be holding any of your body weight, it should be lightly, insubstantially, pushing back against your substantial leg. By rotating the substantial legs kua, you should be able to lift the insubstantial leg off the ground effortlessly.
You must then form the intent to Push in your mind. Once you have formed the intent, your mind should lead the chi, which will lead the body.
Your back kua will begin to push down and back into its foots root, while at the same time the front kua begins to pull up and forward onto its root. As your body weight shifts over to your front leg you sit your body weight down on to its kua.
This is Cheng and Deng. One leg pushes, one leg pulls. One leg sends, one leg receives. One is Yin, one is Yang. Etc, etc.
In this way your power, your energy, is generated by your legs.
Both legs have a job: One is pushing/one is pulling, in equal measure.
At the end of the Push, you will have changed substantial and insubstantial in your legs. The front leg is now substantial and holding up your body weight while the back leg is insubstantial and only holding it's own weight while still maintaining a light pushing against your substantial leg to help your root.
The key here is in the word "sitting".
You have to "sit", or sink, your body weight down fully and firmly onto your substantial leg and there should be no body weight in the back leg.
I think we've all heard that before too.
There is a LOT going on with the hips/kua/legs during this. However I will not go into that today.
I have been working with a instructor from a Wu/Hao Tai Chi Chuan school on a system to describe hip/kua rotations, using the feelings generated by the rotation of the greater trachonter as a guide, but it's not ready to be trotted out into public just yet. We're still experimenting with this to see how it works with our students. So far we've had incredibly good results and we're very hopeful, but there are still some bugs to work out.
Direct with your waist:
I have read some postings where it seems that people are suggesting that your waist should be where you generate power, or that it should be used to "command" the rest of your body.
But that flies in the face of how I was taught to view the progression of energy in Tai Chi Chuan, which is that the legs/hips/kuas generate power and the mind is commander. I'm going to work from that premise.
So you've rooted and have a stable platform to push against.
You've used Cheng and Deng and have generated power from your legs/hips/kuas.
Now, according to the Classics, you "direct" that power with your waist.
What does that mean?
I've seen and used the "steering wheel" analogy often enough to stick with it. It's pretty good.
Does your steering wheel root your car? No.
Does it generate the power that makes your car move? No.
What it does is direct these two things. The root of your tires pushes against the road, the rotation of the tires generates movement, turning the steering wheel then directs that energy where you want it to go.
See where I'm going? I hope so, because again I'm short on time today.
So think of your waist as the steering wheel for your body. You send energy right, left, or straight because of where you turn your waist. Further, how far and how fast you turn your waist will determine the degree of the turn and how intense it is.
Short and sweet, but fairly concise.
Express in your hands (and fingers):
Just so. The energy that was rooted in your feet, generated by your legs and directed by your waist comes out of your hands and fingers.
Notice what isn't in this expression?
Where did your chest and back go? Where are your shoulders and arms?
Well, if you're doing this correctly they are merely supporting players, not actively engaged but not passive either.
I had a student "get it" on this point last week. He summed it up very nicely, I thought:
"I have to think of them as being part of the body of the car, like the fenders or bumper. They pack a huge punch but only because they're being pushed along already by my legs, not because they contribute to it."
Not an exact covering of things, but certainly quite close.
Well, I hope I got most of it here, because I am off for a while.
I'll check back as I can.
I'm sure I missed something, due to my hurried state of mind.
If so, it will have to wait 'til next time.
Last edited by Bob Ashmore
on Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.