Empty and Full

Empty and full – Distinguish between empty and full. Have two containers and pump the water between them.

Hakutsuru 1433

As we discussed earlier, we put a lot of care in how we move, in order to protect our knees and avoid any tilt or torque on the joints (and with that possible injuries down the road). We move our weight off a foot before we turn it and back on when it’s oriented in the right direction and we’re ready to push our Qi Hai (氣海) point forward.

Think of your legs as two big buckets of water

A good way of reminding ourselves of that shifting of weight is by thinking of it as ‘shifting between empty and full’. Think of your feet and lower legs as big buckets holding water.

Now when you shift your weight back on your back leg, you envision how that water gets pumped out fo your front leg and into the back leg. Your front leg become ’empty’ and your back leg become ‘full’.

After you turned your hip and with that your foot, you reverse the process, imagining how you pump water through your legs and hips from your back leg into your front leg. Once the back leg is empty you can lift it and make a step.

Keep the water moving

As you make Tai Chi movements, you constantly shift between empty and full and various degrees between. Of course as you are lifting and moving one leg, the other one is 100% full in that moment. When you are in a bow stance, the front leg is 70% full and the back leg is 30% full. When you are standing in two sides of a line, your front leg will hold 10% of the water while your back leg will hold 90%.

As with everything in Tai Chi you don’t hold those static stances, you constantly shift and move, pumping the water, and with that your energy, around. You flow from Yin to Yang and back with all stages in between.

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