How do you make the feet strong to grab the floor?

How do you make the feet strong to grab the floor?

Postby ChiDragon » Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:07 pm

Greetings!
Someone was interested in a discussion about grabbing the floor with the toes. Instead of flooding with other sidetracks to clog up the other thread, I would like to have you to share some ideas. Here are some of the questions which you might be interested.
1. Why grabbing the floor with the toes is so important?
2. Grabbing the floor require strong legs and feet, how can one accomplish to make the legs and feet stronger?

Please note this is not a trap. It is a matter of expressing one's knowledge. It doesn't matter how you look at it, all your opinions will be viewed with respect. So, please feel free to make your contributions in a professional manner. However, all inputs should be in one's words rather than a quote from somewhere else. So, it will be known that is your own understanding.


Wu Wei,
Let nature take its course.
Last edited by ChiDragon on Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Grabbing the floor with your toes!

Postby ChiDragon » Thu Mar 30, 2017 6:30 pm

1. Why grabbing the floor with the toes is so important?
It is a trivial question. Of course, it is for stability to maintain the body in balance at all times under any circumstance. Especially to a martial artist, it is very important to keep the body center in the upright position. It is like the foundation of a building structure. The bottom of the building should be strong and heavy, so, it can withstand any weight on top without tilting or swing to a side. For a normal person to curl the toes to grab the floor should have no problem with that. However, the question is how long can one maintain in that position?

BTW The meaning of the phrase "grabbing the floor with the toes" is simply means curl the toes by using the heel as leverage. By doing so, it gives the foot to have more contact with the surface underneath the sole. That's not all; but the lower leg must be able to support the body weight plus any uncertain external disturbance. Any uncertain external disturbance which means any pulling or pushing force to cause the body to move away from its standing position. Therefore, the lower leg must be conditioned to withstand the external disturbance for a duration in time. At least, it is able to withstand the duration of the disturbance. How can the leg be conditioned to have the ultimate strength is a different question.

2. Grabbing the floor require strong legs and feet, how can one accomplish to make the legs and feet stronger?
To be continue in the next post.
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Re: How do you make the feet strong to grab the floor?

Postby Bob Ashmore » Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:46 pm

I do not see "grabbing the floor with the toes" as a trivial anything; question, statement, etc.
It is far from trivial, it is quite important.

Why grabbing the ground with the feet is so important?
Your feet are your "foundation" (most of the time, but we'll leave any discussion about ground fighting techniques for another time), as they are what you use to stay in contact with the ground.
If you are using your feet in an incorrect fashion, could be anything and not just neglecting to "grip" (if your feet are too tense that will destroy your foundation, too loose destroys it, it goes on), then nothing else you do will make a blind bit of difference.
Because if your foundation is compromised then nothing you do above will work anyway.
Try to build a house without a proper foundation and see how long it lasts, same thing.

Does "gripping with the toes" require "strong feet"?
No.
It requires "sung" to be expressed in the feet. Neither too much nor not enough.
How can one accomplish making the feet and legs stronger?
Don't.
Instead make them "sung", that will be good.
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Re: How do you make the feet strong to grab the floor?

Postby ChiDragon » Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:48 pm

2. Grabbing the floor require strong legs and feet, how can one accomplish to make the legs and feet stronger?
Well, there are two ways to accomplish to make the legs and feet strong. A non-Tai Chi practitioner may be accomplished by Zhan Zhuang(站樁). Another way is to practice the Tai Chi Quan, especially, the Yang Style.

The feet of a Tai Chi practitioner, not knowingly, had been conditioning to be strong at all times. It is because there are lots of movements require the practitioner to stand on one leg. In order, to have the leg to support all the body weight and stay in balance, it's automatically force the knee to bend and the toes to grab the floor. Without realizing this is going on, in few years of diligent practice, the legs and feet had become very strong.

What are your opinions?
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Re: How do you make the feet strong to grab the floor?

Postby Bob Ashmore » Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:27 pm

You say "make strong through conditioning", I say "sung".
It really is nothing more than a battle of semantics.
On my end, I do not consider "sung" to be the same as "strong" but "sung" is not something that can be cleanly translated into English.
"Strong" is clearly a part of "sung" but it is only one part of the many things that it takes to understand the term.
So is "soft", it's clearly a part of "sung" but is also clearly not an equivalent to "strong". Quite the opposite, in fact.
Even the most often used English word, "relax", does not even begin to encompass the meaning of "sung".
I have often seen "sung" described as tempering our body to be like "like high quality steel", which at first seems very confusing. At least until you realize that high quality steel is "both strong and soft, hard yet yielding, rigid yet springy", etc.
Then perhaps things begin to become more clear.
"Sung" is what you get once you've refined your body to the proper degree to begin to understand how to be "strong" and yet "yield" without undue tension.
So to be "sung" is to be "strong like steel hidden inside of cotton".
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Re: How do you make the feet strong to grab the floor?

Postby ChiDragon » Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:10 pm

Bob Ashmore wrote:You say "make strong through conditioning", I say "sung".
It really is nothing more than a battle of semantics.
On my end, I do not consider "sung" to be the same as "strong" but "sung" is not something that can be cleanly translated into English.

CD: From my personal point of view(POW), as a Tai Chi Practitioner and being bilingual, "鬆" is relax as in relaxing the muscles; letting the muscle become loosen.

"Strong" is clearly a part of "sung" but it is only one part of the many things that it takes to understand the term.
CD: I could only accept that by applying it to the "yang within yin principle".
"Strong" cannot clearly be as part of "sung" is because the muscle cannot be strong in the "sung" state. The muscle has to be contracted in a non-relax state, in order, to be strong.


So is "soft", it's clearly a part of "sung" but is also clearly not an equivalent to "strong". Quite the opposite, in fact.
CD: The former is an equivalent to "sung" rather than a part of. The latter is definitely not an equivalent to "strong" nor a part of.

Even the most often used English word, "relax", does not even begin to encompass the meaning of "sung".
CD: From my POW again, yes, it does.

I have often seen "sung" described as tempering our body to be like "like high quality steel", which at first seems very confusing. At least until you realize that high quality steel is "both strong and soft, hard yet yielding, rigid yet springy", etc.
Then perhaps things begin to become more clear.
CD: At first seems very confusing and later is still very confusing. High quality steel is not soft but hard and flexible.

"Sung" is what you get once you've refined your body to the proper degree to begin to understand how to be "strong" and yet "yield" without undue tension.
CD: The way I understand that the body was being strong, only and only, the body is NOT in the "sung" state.

So to be "sung" is to be "strong like steel hidden inside of cotton".
CD: I regret to hear that cotton was used in the analogy. It is because cotton do not contract then relaxed like muscles.
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Re: How do you make the feet strong to grab the floor?

Postby ChiDragon » Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:52 pm

Bob Ashmore wrote:You say "make strong through conditioning", I say "sung".


Hi, Bob
Yes, in Tai Chi, "sung" "鬆" is what make one strong. You had been taught and understood correctly. However, do you know why your teacher tell you to be sung all the time? It was because all the students, as a beginner, tend to tighten up their muscles in the movements. Therefore, that's why the teacher always tell them to be sung. Even though in the sung state, the muscles are still slightly contracted. This is the best effect for muscle tone which described as the "yang within yin" principle.

In the case of Zhan Zhuang(站樁), the knees are bent and the torso is sung. So, the lower body is in a yang state while the torso is yin. The muscles in the lower legs are slightly contracted but still sung. It puts the legs in the "yin within yang" state. The upper torso is more relax and erected. In the erect position was understood that there is a supporting force holding the body in place. So, the upper body is in the "yang within yin" state. For the purpose of comprehension, in (站樁), we can say that the dominant state of the legs is yang and the torso is yin. Overall, the body is in the yin/yang state which meet the Tai Chi Yin/yang principle.

In combat, initially, the body is in the yin/yang state. However, doing strike, the whole body should be in the strongest mode which is the yang-est state. After the strike, the body returns to the yin/yang state. Does this make sense?



Edited to make corrections. In the first paragraph, last sentence, "yang without yin" was changed to read "yang within yin"
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Re: How do you make the feet strong to grab the floor?

Postby ChiDragon » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:58 pm

Why grabbing the floor with the toes is good for stability?

Let's look at the physics aspect of the moment of the body. While standing without grabbing the floor with the toes, if the body was leaning backward, it tends to rotation counterclockwise. The body will fall backward. Now, grab the floor with the toes. Then, there is a force on the toes rotating clockwise to balance out the counterclockwise rotational force of the body.

BTW Grabbing the floor with the toes is very important for Tai Chi sword practice. It is because the additional weight of the sword is one to one and half pound which become part of the body. The center of gravity of the body has been altered by the weight of the sword and it must be taken into consideration. The smooth transition of the next move with the sword depends on the stability of the body. Grabbing the floor with the toes is the key to stability.
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