Weight distribution

Tim's Discussion Board: Tai Ji Quan : Weight distribution
   By Jerry (Unregistered Guest) on Friday, January 27, 2006 - 01:03 pm: Edit Post


I just started studying Chen style taiji, with a teacher who recently moved here from China. So far I'm really impressed and enjoying it.

The teacher said that you should NEVER have all your weight on foot. This is the opposite of everything I've always been told in Yang style. I asked him, well, but, how about when you stand on one foot, or when you kick? He said that even when you stand on one foot, you still don't have all your weight on it!

His English is pretty good, and he's the first Chinese person I've ever met who understands when I say something in Chinese, but even so I assume there's some degree of language problem here, but also an interesting point which I don't quite understand.

Clearly part of the issue is that Chen style is much closer to actual combat footwork than Yang style "empty stepping"; that I can understand.

He demonstrated two ways of standing on one foot, one where he said all the weight (and the center of gravity) is over that foot, and the other where he says the center of gravity is not over the weighted foot, and the idea is that the latter stance allows you to change and move more quickly. So he's saying that the center of gravity can be in different places even though you're on one foot.

Looking at his demonstration, I could certainly see that one way was more for standing there all day on one foot, and the other was more adapted to moving out of this stance. I don't quite understand, though...

If the center of gravity is not over the weighted foot, doesn't it take a lot of effort to stay upright?

   By Tim on Friday, January 27, 2006 - 01:23 pm: Edit Post


I'm not exactly clear on what your teacher means by not having all his weight one foot even when he's standing on one foot. Unless he's not subject to the normal laws of physics, I'd assume he's speaking figuratively about it.

It's possible to shift your center of gravity to different places when standing on one foot (for example, if you extended the raised foot or arms away from the body the center of gravity will change). As for weight, it remains on the support foot. Perhaps your teacher uses "weight" and "center of gravity" to mean the same thing.

   By Jerry (Unregistered Guest) on Friday, January 27, 2006 - 01:56 pm: Edit Post


Yeah, what you said. That's what I would have liked to be able to say. I think it's not so much speaking figuratively as a non-native language issue.

OK, so you can move your CG to a point that isn't directly over the weighted foot. Seems to me that it takes more muscular effort to hold that position, which may be fine since you're not going to be there all day. Does that sound right?


   By Jason Haynes on Friday, January 27, 2006 - 10:42 pm: Edit Post

You should be fluid ready to move in any direction at any time and fali or neutralise in any form at any time

I don't know why we keep getting all of this confusing crap from the East, I like to just train what works, maybe you are playing with concepts of moving the centre inside of you while standing still, I can stand still but with inner mechanics I can move more weight onto one foot than the other but there is no visible movement with me actually moving my body weight to the other foot, and yet I can do this, this is good practice for development which may no seem much but comes in good use after much practice for say tui shou when you begin to find opponents centre more easy?

   By Jerry (Unregistered Guest) on Saturday, January 28, 2006 - 01:00 pm: Edit Post


confusion is one of the twin guardians of the gates of enlightenment! Confusion is when you learn something new, and it doesn't fit with what you already know. Then you have to improve your understanding to account for both. So this is the reason for putting up with "confusing crap from the East".

No, I'm not talking about moving chi around, or moving the center while standing still, or anything like that.
Really all I'm trying to understand is, what exactly is the difference between Chen sytle and Yang style principles, and does it apply only to forms practice, or would combat movement also be different?

What the Chen style teacher said, allowing for his English, is that even when you stand on one foot, your center of gravity is not directly over that foot; that would probably be ideal for standing on one foot for a long time, but, as you say, not for being ready to move out of that posture.

   By Dillio (Unregistered Guest) on Tuesday, January 31, 2006 - 10:28 am: Edit Post

Even a very good teacher isn't right about everything. A very good and very wise Pa Kua teacher once said, referring to his own technique and character, "I'm human too, don't copy the screwy things that I do, only the good things"--though discerning which is which is the rub, now isn't it? Good (and even great) teachers get screwy ideas sometimes. They are usually good because most of their ideas are right, and, more importantly, they train hard. That last part about training hard is the main secret you need to know--much more important than exactly how you stand on one leg...

My unsolicited two cents--maybe only worth one cent :-)

   By Jerry (Unregistered Guest) on Tuesday, January 31, 2006 - 06:37 pm: Edit Post

"Even a very good teacher isn't right about everything."

OK, but I don't have any reason to think this guy is saying anything wrong. It's basic information for him, and I don't have any doubt that he knows what he's talking about. If the teacher goes to the trouble of saying something, I can go to the trouble of trying to understand it.

..training hard is the main secret..

Yes, but practicing without understanding is sometimes completely pointless, and never as good as practicing with understanding.
That's your $.01 change back!

Good training,


   By Dillio (Unregistered Guest) on Wednesday, February 08, 2006 - 11:17 am: Edit Post

Oh yeah, well, yer ugly and yer mother dresses you funny!

Just kidding, to each his own...

But--when you do learn how to stand on one leg without putting all of your weight in it, teach us how, cause that's just cool. Kinda Crouching Tigeresque.

Good training

   By Dude (Unregistered Guest) on Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - 09:11 am: Edit Post

If you understood before you practice, would you need to practice? Don't you practice, and through practising, learn and understand? Kinda, sorta? And yeah, I too wanna learn the Fly style taijiquan. I wonder how I would fajin while floating in midair...

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