I saw something regarding hips tilted and chest up versus turtleback in one of the discussions regarding Tai Chi and I have always had some confusion on proper position of the hips in Tai chi. Tucked under or allowed to hang naturally as in relaxing.
So I guess my question is what is proper alignment of the hips in Tai Chi?
Hang naturally as in relaxing.
As I often advise, if you want to see perfect, natural posture, look at small children. You'll not find hips tucked under or "turtle back" (for these, you'll need to look at very old people).
Is it my imanigation or do many teachers and written instruction preach tucking or pulling the hips under which to me is contradictory to relaxing?
Great point Mike Hale.
?Does the curve of a persons spine have to do with whether or not tucking the hips in (achieved through ultimately tensing the stomach muscles) is proper?
If this is so then logically it is a one-on-basis assesment situation as everyone has some minor differences in their posture.
Nope, it's not your imagination.
Thank you both for the input!
anterior or posterior rotation of the pelvis is a sign of shortening/tightening/weaking of a variety of core muscles. Whatever the case may be, attempting to issue force in anything more than an isolated, small movement will most likely result in damage to the core muscle in questions, or one of it's agonist assistors- like runners pulling their hamstring, because their ilioposoas is so overfacilitated and short.
Tim, Liberi, and Jason,
Am I on the right track?
Allowing natural positioning by relaxing to your individual posture is correct and facilitates the issuance of power via relaxing, exhaling, and moving from your center; the proper muscles connect at impact delivering the force applied assuming the 6 harmonies are in place?
Just want to verify if I understand the principles correctly!
"Allowing natural positioning by relaxing to your individual posture"
-As we age our habits tend to create anything but a "natural positioning". We go to school and hunch over the desk. Then we get a car and hunch foward to keep our hands on the steering wheel. Worse of all this is the computer!
Use your own instincts and feeling as you go through the motions. Remember that the ancients identified many common problems in people. One is posture. By pulling the hips up it causes the belly muscles to tense. After many years they relax in movement and when this happens true core strength is attained. Hence many internal arrtist have big bellies.
A good exercise is to rotate the hips up and then squat as low as you can. Do this with the feet in a natural standing position. Keeping your back straight and chin in and it will be noticed that the lower back and hips will tense up so much that it is difficult to go below a certain point. Open up the stance and continue to squat in to a horse. Do this until the a low COMFORTABLE horse stance is attained. How low comfortable is depends on which forms are practiced and how strong the individual is.
Once this proper feeling is established only then can proper stregnth be attained through moving "via relaxing, exhaling, and moving from your center"
Remember the palm of the hand is the same as the palm of the foot, or as it is called today the sole of the foot. For whole body palm strength be mindful that the further the step and further the extension of the hands and arms through the target the more power. When the core is strong it accentuates this power.
Does this help clarify anything for you Mike Hale?
Yes, thank you Rockefeller!
I think that the pelvis-tucking thing is often misunderstood. The main point of all proper Tai chi movement is to align with gravity. The spine is the primary skeletal (and compressive) structure that is designed to carry the upper body load. It is also critical for transmitting the compression and force of the legs from the ground to the hand that is in contact with your opponent.
The spine will always have some natural S-curve in it, but should not be deliberately squashed by the typical western "at attention" stance with butt back, chin forward, and shoulders thrust back. The advice from the "classics" should be looked at as a whole. The pelvis tucking notion should help straighten the bottom of the S, while pulling your back and head up (with chin slightly tucked under) should help straighten the top part of the S.
Keeping a straigher spine has the following advantages:
1) It lenthens the distance from your hips to the hand - extending your reach.
2) It does not require as much torso muscle tension if your spine is stacked vertically - there is no need for muscular "guide wires" to keep your vertical column from falling over.
3) It lowers your upper body rotational moment of inertia - allowing you to spin quicker (like an ice skater pulling in their arms towards their center in order to spin more easily).
4) It allows for more energy storage and release. Your spinal discs are rubbery shock absorbers that can be used to compress and store the opponent's energy for later return. If your discs are already squashed as a result of excessive curving, they are less able to store energy.
Hope this helps...
3) Do top notch ice skater's tuck?