Do you have a root?

Discussion in 'Chinese Martial Arts Articles' started by futsaowingchun, May 4, 2009.

  1. CFT

    CFT Valued Member

    Geezer has a valid point. He's not talking about just the feet, he's talking about his ankles. If you have no range of motion in your joints then you have no means of adjusting and routing incoming force through your structure. You would just topple over like a statue.

    ANGELSGYMSINGH Valued Member

    Thanks John and Geezer. That exchange of ideas concerning the terminology and application of such was powerful and informative.
  3. G.L

    G.L New Member

    How would oneself train his/her reaction time or reflexes?
  4. Sandy

    Sandy Valued Member

    There are similarities and differences. When I cross-trained at my local boxing club, I was taught to root just before launching a punch or combination of punches. It was never called "rooting", but was taught nonetheless. Lorne Bernard's Shaolin White Crane Kung Fu book teaches about power just the same as my first boxing lesson:

    "Power ... comes up through the feet and legs and out to the fists."

    In Thai boxing - my core art - I was taught balance rather than rooting. However, you're taught to set up yout footwork before striking. This has some similarities to rooting, but the principles conveyed to me were being in the right position to strike and being in balance.

    Likewise, wrestling has significant focus on balance, which isn't 100% the same as root.

    BJJ doesn't "root" at all. The main focus is position, i.e. achieving a dominant position. This is one of the innovations for which BJJ is famous. Static "rooting" is the last thing you want to do, because you always want to be moving to keep your opponent busy. Even "dynamic root" isn't something that would be at the forefront of your mind.

    Despite enjoying CMA, training my "root" is one of those things that I found over-emphasised. I found that the principles of being in balance and set up for the strike to be more useful. Some may say these principles relate to rooting, but it's the drills that count IME.
  5. geezer

    geezer Valued Member

    This is pretty much the way we approach it in the two eskrima systems I've practiced... which isn't surprising since the headmen in both systems were also boxers. And one of those systems (Latosa Escrima) has had a lot of influence on some WT, such as the EBMAS Wing Tzun group. As I said on a previous post, I have a badly fused left ankle which makes my wing chun pretty wierd. I can't physically get the kind of static rooting the classical versions of the art demand. But I do have decent dynamic balance, so I adapt and make things work anyway I can. Maybe that's why I've been doing this a long time and am still not a "true believer" in the all the classical approaches. I have no choice, since my body can't do all that stuff the "traditional way". So I "cheat". Cheating (or modifying) is good...when it works, right? At least that's what my current eskrima teacher preaches. Actually, my current Wing Chun instructor is pretty creative in helping me as well.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2010
  6. xingyiren

    xingyiren New Member

    Hi guys, I propose that the word , "root" is taking the discussion way off-track. There is no distinction in traditional kungfu training between "static" and "dynamic" root. In fact, the chinese word for this theoretical concept is not remotely associated with the english definition of "root".

    What people call "root" is simply one aspect of proper body alignment (shen fa). Many training methods use standing (zhan zhuang) as a beginning exercise for body awareness and muscle control. This is also commonly referred to as pole standing and is associated with developing a root simply because the analogy to a tree is often used for this practise.

    All fighting systems employ shen fa but the learning methods, training and implementation may differ. For example, wing chun uses chi sao as a training method to strengthen shen fa, taiji uses push hands, xing yi uses two-man forms.

    So to answer the original post, YES I have root. Everyone does - but some people can see past the limitations of poor translation and gain a more complete understanding of true "root" - shen fa.
  7. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    Yup,your first paragraph summed it up quite well,Xingyiren!
  8. Browneagle

    Browneagle Valued Member

    sounds like you basically are saying that energy drills are actually your root (shenfa) body aware ness of opponents whilst horse stances or zhan zhuang is body awareness of self correct?
  9. jinkan

    jinkan Valued Member

    Rooting is the ability to grab onto or suck on the ground.

    Rooting ability comes from the development of the internal part of the body. No internal development, no root.

    Rooting ability is developed through time and practice. A lot of time because that is the nature of the structures within the body that are involved with internal development.
  10. antoine9891

    antoine9891 New Member

    I luv it

    I luv what u are saying concerning root. Could u explain in detail some proper exercises a beginner could read and practice to properly develop their root.

    Life is not about rushing to the end,.. But enjoying everyday lessons slowly through time. "Antoine Morehead AOF"
  11. Sketco

    Sketco Banned Banned

    Going to a kwoon and finding a sifu. Learning from them in an environment which progressively builds the level of resistance you face. Failing, and being uprooted, and tossed out every day by someone better than you until you finally make enough improvement that you can sink down and hold your own....

    There is no other way.
  12. Skiddum1

    Skiddum1 New Member

    I practice tai Chi and you may not relise this not many who practice other styles do but tai Chi pushing hands is ment soley for combat it teaches you how to move intercept nullify and attack. Iron palm training iron body traiNing and much more FA jing is all part of it then there's silk reeling or tai Chi symbol pushing hand which is a single hand that changes based on attack kicks and other stuff. Its also known as baqua circle. Next thing we don't strike the person in push hands for a reason. To most its just a game. but to a real practitioner its allot more. It teaches you how to Manipulate your target safely. So you can get in and strike. Next thing. In tai Chi every move believe it or not is designed for a purpose. there set up to hit exact spots on the body that will either nock out and or kill. hence why the push. If you look at the real meaning of the words its not push. but settle the wrist. Its a strike that's ment to hit the spots on on the chest. Hitting one can make you feel as if you've been kicked in the guts and can't breath two equals ko. Cause it makes both lungs contract. I've experienced it first hand. all push hands is is just a combat tool to how to get in deflect nutrilize and strike. In practice and tournaments people usually push the chest or sides its just ment to uproot. But pushands is a rooting tec as well because you can't effectively emit FA jing without root. Just like in iron palm training. Were you just raise the hand nearly to head level and let it fall. Over time you learn to use the FA jing rooting and a few other practices all combined into one. I'm not saying any one is better but don't look at tai Chi chuan as some game or little thing done for health. although allot see it that way but go to china meet with a real master and find have a match. Most likely it'll Cost you a trip to the hospital. Its a serious art and very very deadly in the right hands with the proper training. I agree that you should put your heart mind and spirit into your forms and the basics in the beginning but when you Become an advanced student you'll be unlearning those forms. To quote Bruce lee you want to unlearn your forms until your left with the basics the formless form), then you'll know gong fu its not the form that's important its the moves what the moves are ment for and how you can use them effectively. you fight in the street you can't ask the people attacking you to come at you in certain ways so you can use your form that would be preposterous. in the beginning tell you've reached the peek forms are there to help you learn but break down the forms. Learn to use each movement in different ways on both sides. I was a blue belt in tae kwon do. I read his book, then I was a brown belt and the next Competition came up and I watched.even among the most advanced students they only used 4 total moves 90% of the time mid block, down block, round house and punch. Every now and then someone would through in a side thrust. But because I had broke everything down each move studied it figured out each way it could be used I learned how to use them effectively and I completely dominated in my ranking class. So yes putting your mind into the form is good it makes you e what it can be used for and set ups and combination strikes. But digg deep into the forms don't just practice the forms for the forms if that makes scene.
  13. Fretjock

    Fretjock New Member

    SO other than practicing sticky hands, how do one develop rootedness? SHould weight be distributed 50/50 or 30/70? Does practicing circle walking (Bagua) help? Should the toes be slightly curled under as if to grasp the earth? Basically what are the techniques to develop rootedness?
  14. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Medway Tai Chi Society

    To develop root, you have to be able to soften the core of the body, and sink down into your structure. Doing this in static standing, solo moving, and partnered moving exercises is the only way to develop root.

    You can't be balancing on your pins, you have to sink and relax!
  15. Fretjock

    Fretjock New Member

    Thank you! Yes, my instructor keeps telling me I need to soften and sink. So I am trying to overcome the hardness learned in Karate.
  16. Fujian Animal

    Fujian Animal Banned Banned

    rooting in WC has always been difficult for me, which is why i generally favor the JKD footwork, but strengthening the legs and learning balance was always something i found important to rooting one's stance

    in WC i used to practice 'yee chi kim yeung ma' while standing up in a canoe while it is floating in the bayou, or by squeezing a basketball between my knees

    of course these things taught me balance, energy manipulation and how to strengthen my kicks, but as far as rooting my stance is concerned, i still have difficulty in that area today, and it would appear that some people just get it quickly, and some dont, i being one of the ones who dont
  17. vian11

    vian11 New Member

    thanks fr sharing the article
  18. wingtsun859

    wingtsun859 New Member

    Good article!
  19. BiGF00T

    BiGF00T New Member

    This is something I was also asking myself... I always hear that I should grab the floor with my feet but if I stand in Mabu, then grabbing the floor will set me off balance because the middle of my foot is pushed up by my toes. Grabbing with the toes will always generate an upwards force and tilt the foot (at least I think it would).

    Maybe someone could shed some light on this for me.
  20. KunLong

    KunLong Valued Member

    I will try ~ in the horse stance, which seems easiest to start, do the same "toe gripping" with the whole sole of the foot and don't curl toes, just "set" them.
    chi breathing and begin settling your stance further in, like your feet were sunk-set a little in the floor.
    Keep chi flowing up and down while settling in ever deeper. This is the Iron stance "no push'em" place which is easier to perceive and develop. The more you utilize your chi in movement, the more your "root" is perceived as moving and fixed, movable and fixable, first linear, then on angle and finally spherical - it will be awhile before spherical. The other's is a whole different matter and perceiving and exercising on your own with joy reveals the others and once it is perceiveable, takeable ~ La

    That is a lot of doing in a little saying, but the first part is good for awhile and should be immediately appreciable? You will "feel" you are getting it right.
    Flow chi through horse to stand on center of earth. From there, fly.

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