Principles for feet

Principles for feet

Postby DrVince » Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:48 pm

Hi everyone,
I was wondering if there are principles specific to feet.

I have a "flat feet" condition, which has the consequences of my knees going inward, early foot exhaustion and many postural weaknesses. As I am getting around to face this problem (I had to stop all my training), I was wondering if there are some principles or technics that could help me.

Anyone can help?

Vincent Rodrigue
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Postby cheefatt taichi » Fri Jun 17, 2005 6:43 am

How are DrVince,

I don't know this will help but taiji principles require one to always not lock the knee. Knee is always bended slightly and whole body relax so that weight is naturally and progressively dropped to the feet. Not to lock knee means we don't stand completely straight-up until knees are pushed behind and kind of locked by upper body weight.

In day to day practise, we bend the legs very slightly as to not to lock knee. When standing straight we bend the leg that carries the most weight slightly and be mindful of weight segregation on each legs and feet. Coupled with letting loose the body, the upper body weight will naturally droppoed down to the feet. Regularly exercise the knee and feet joints by rotating them slowly and with mindfullness so that chi will not stagnant there. Many people find their leg problems cured by doing this....hopefully you will find it useful.

Best regards.
cheefatt taichi
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Postby DrVince » Fri Jun 17, 2005 7:11 am

Indeed, always keeping my knees bended has helped me a lot. Prior to doing this, I couldn't stand up for more then an hour. Now, I can stand up almost as long as I want. But my problem with knees is not backward or forward but sideways. In fact, it's not my knees the problem but the inward arch in my feet not being high enough, it deviates my weight inward. It is most obvious when I stand on one leg.
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Postby Anderzander » Fri Jun 17, 2005 4:25 pm

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Postby chris » Fri Jun 24, 2005 9:36 pm

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Postby Audi » Sun Jun 26, 2005 5:23 am

Hi Vincent,

I am not sure what might help, but here is one idea. Some people see doing form as an exercise in aligning bones and hard tissue with a minimum of exertion. I think that this can be misleading and can lead to the stagnation of letting the qi dictate your [/yi] ("mind intent"). Let me explain.

A better way to view doing form may be as an exercise in aligning soft tissue, in which the hard tissues are mere connectors of soft tissue. Imagine that your body is like that of an octopus. You can walk, stand, push, and pull as you want, but you must actively form your "attachments" and "connections" with the ground. Even if you only do this passively or unconsciously, your passive mind intent will dictate your alignment. Your hard structures are not stable by themselves. If you are unconscious and unable to express any mind intent, the energy of your body structure will be completely unorganized even though your soft tissues may be complete "relaxed."

It is customary to think of the sole of the foot as a given and to think that how your sole rolls onto the ground will dictate your knee alignment. I am suggesting that you not focus on the external structure, but on the energy relationship you are trying to establish. Your knees can only deviate to the side if you feel that the alignment of your lower leg dictates the movement of your knee. Instead, feel that you are an octopus and that the energy expressed through your leg-like "tentacle" requires active shaping by your mind. You must actively dictate how the muscles in your sole interact with the ground and how the tendons in your knee decide to extend and contract. The shape of your "hard" tissues will be a factor in how you decide to control your soft tissues, but they do not dictate the outcome.

To get a feel for this, stand in Wuji/Wu Chi posture with your feet parallel and shoulder width apart. Without moving your feet more than a quarter inch, try to move them apart so that the outside edges dig into the ground. Feel what effect this has on your knees. Now try to move them together so that the inside edges dig into the ground. Feel what effect this has on your knees. The two sensations should be dramatically different, and neither is controlled by the shape of your leg bones, the sole of your feet, or your insteps. As you do form, realize that you must focus on the same type of control, except that most of the time you want to have the feeling of energy traveling straight up through your legs. In fact, the back leg is often thrusting into the ground, while the front leg is applying a counter propping up force. These forces should travel in perfect straight lines and/or circles irrespective of the shape of your actual anatomy.

One way to begin to train this approach is actually to put more energy into your legs than normal, so that the feeling of using your tendons and muscles is always clear and that you always have a distinct bodily sensation to modulate. Since you are actively using your knees to do something, you will instinctively not do something that weakens, threatens, or exhausts them. If, on the other hand, you try to empty all feeling of energy and exertion from your tendons and muscles, it is easy to begin letting external structure dictate internal structure. If your external structure is naturally less than optimal, you may inadvertently exaggerate whatever problems you have as you train the defiency into how you use your body.

I hope this helps.

Take care,
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