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The Tai Chi step, learning how to walk all over again

April 7, 2018
Where to start if you want to learn Tai Chi?  By walking, but not just any walk.
 
You may find this odd because you already know how to walk, or I assume you do. Your balance could be good or it could need work. Either way you have been walking your whole life.

 
When I first began Tai Chi practice my Sensei had me learn to walk all over again, using the Tai Chi stepping method. I did this each class, and hour or more each week, with practice at home for approximately 5 months. I did very little else in class but walk and walk and walk, until he saw I had my timing and balance and could do the walk with my eyes closed.
 
Why? He had me to this because much, if not most of Tai Chi for work uses this stepping method. From the waist down, the stepping movements carry you through the form motions.
Being able to do the walk without thinking about it anymore allowed me to turn my focus on what we were doing from the waist up.
The timing of the upper body position changes sync with the legs and weight shifts to create the flow and smoothness of movement.  It looks and more importantly feels beautiful when it is all working seamlessly.
By the way,  it takes a lot of practice to go from feeling robotic and mechanical to fluid and natural.  Don’t allow yourself to feel discouraged.
Where can you learn this walking method?  I will be posting some videos in the near future.  In the meantime,  check youtube.  There are many out there.  Search for Tai Chi walking or Tai Chi stepping.
Remember,  it will be awkward at first as you will be changing a lot of what you normally do.  Keep at it and the results will come.
To your health!
Stan
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4 Comments
  1. Nice post, thanks for sharing. I wrote down some of the principles of Tai Chi walking that we teach to our beginners a few weeks ago: https://keruumabudo.wordpress.com/2017/12/02/dont-break-your-knees/ It’s awkward in the beginning as you said. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes. I also teach that you raise the heel by relaxing the hip and letting the knee fall forward to bring the heel up. This keeps your hips level. I see a lot of folks raise their heel by pull the hip up which offsets the pelvis.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. That’s a great idea. I will try that in class. Thank you for the suggestion.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Let me know how you make out

    Liked by 2 people

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