Friday, 31 July 2009

Feet and Shoes!

One of the first tweets I made on twitter was as follows:

"Once you start Tai Chi, you begin a lifelong search for the perfect pair of shoes."

The post received a great deal of replies from the tai chi community - and rightly so. The feet are fundamental in the Tai Chi dynamic of rooting to the floor, and are pushed against the ground to create a "rebounding" force that travels up the body for release of energy for martial purposes.

Your toes should slightly grip the ground, and the heels should be in contact with the floor. This makes the foot substantial at the front and back, but hollow in the middle. The arch works as a spring, so it should not be pushed to the floor. This is achieved by keeping the foot relaxed, and not straightened.

Your foot should also remain upright, and should not roll, rock or twist. So before practicing, ensure your ankles are loose and warmed up.

To support the unique Tai Chi requirements, making sure you have the perfect pair of tai chi shoes is really important. They should:
  • Support the foot, without constriction or padding the arch too much.
  • Allow you to feel the ground.
  • Improve the grip on your chosen practice ground.
  • Cushion the sole without losing feeling of the ground.
So pay attention to your feet when you train. Take time to find the perfect pair of shoes. They really do make a difference.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Youthful Tai Chi

Tai Chi is concerned with nurturing pre-natal chi. This is the original life energy that we all receive from our parents at conception. As we get older, this pre-natal chi gets depleted or replaced by other, less vital forms, and the body decays as a result.

Now, this may seem far-fetched. You can choose to believe in the concept of chi energy or not. However, the concept of Chi is based on real measurable, experiential phenomena that were observed by traditional Chinese doctors over many generations. one things you cannot argue with, is the outcome.

I mean, how many octogenarians in the UK can do this?

Be happy.