Saturday, 20 June 2009

Teacher - why do I have to stand like this for ages?

During most of my taijiquan classes, I will have a section where we practice form until we reach a posture, then stop like statues. Then I go through the class adjusting everyone's posture. It is probably the least popular activity amongst my students. I regularly get questions as to why we do this.

Posture practice does not only teach you to stand in an anatomically correct position. It allows you to recognise where unnecessary tension is, and relax into the posture. This may seem boring to practice, but your balance and rooting will improve dramatically as a result.

When I was in China, I became good friends with a stocky guy called Feng. As we practiced, I could not help noticing that his form was 'unorthodox' to say the least. A less polite remark would be 'rubbish'. His head weaved, his body leaned like a galleon in a hurricane and his shoulders were all over the place.

When the training moved to pushing hands and san shou, we teamed up. I expected he would be a pushover, but as the lessons continued, he swatted me around like a rag doll. My 'superior' technique was nothing against his rooting and power.

Later I asked Liming Yue if he knew Feng, and what his training methods were. Liming said that Feng did not do much form or pushing hands work, but he would stand in Zhang Zhuang and other postures for at least 2 hours every day!

Two hours - sheesh!

Standing in postures requires only standing room and zero equipment. Your rooting and power will go through the roof. So, next time you practice your form, stop a while, breathe deeply, relax all unnecessary muscles and pay attention to your posture. Standing postures can also be used as a meditation, therefore instrumental in the calming of the nervous system.

No comments: