Friday, January 21, 2011

Shifting Weight

Moving is simple - we all walk and perhaps run every day, but there are certain qualities of movement contained within the basic skill of shifting weight from one foot to another that are often lost.

- There's the very useful ability to fall and catch yourself - also known as the drop step. Gravity does the work and the only real requirement is an ability to relax and let it happen. Strangely enough this can take a fair deal of practice,natural though it is ......

- Then there's the 'slide and press' akin to the stepping associated with Hsing-I and Bagua - hips level to the ground, the feeling is like a controlled version of slipping on a banana peel, where the front foot acts as a 'brake', pressing into the ground at a 45deg angle before structure is lost. The effect is like hard braking in a car.
A variation of this is Sonny's 'toe tapping', where the weight unloads as a spring onto the ball of the foot. The weight shift is controlled, but 100%. Feels like creeping quietly or stalking. When coupled with a strike, the old Tai Ji adage "One point moves, all points move. One point stops, all points stop" this adds the power.

- Lastly there is pure and simple weight shifting without stepping - Sonny called it the "half body pendulum". The ability to shift weight 100% is key .... so that if you need to step, you can. A common error is to feel that you are 100%, though often only 60/70%. Check by lifting the other foot off the ground without moving the upper body. Balance.

Sonny said the flow training was for 3 main reasons - Reaction, Balance, To Discover. This is part of 'Balance'.

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