Knee Health and Tai Chi Chuan Practice

Knee Health and Tai Chi Chuan Practice

Knee Health and Tai Chi Chuan

In the early days when Tai Chi became popular in the West, the medical community was concerned with reports of knee pain / injury. Done properly, there should be no problems. Possibly there was miscommunication through interpreters or students were not corrected properly.


The front leg in a bow stance is there for support. The energy for the hands above does not come from the forward lunging action of the legs. This is a common misunderstanding. Learning how to properly generate Fa-jin (issuing energy) is why we study face to face with an actualized teacher. Crude energy is easy. Refined takes study and practice. Very accurate choreography is not petty.

The knee should never go past the toes. It should be above the ball of foot / metatarsals. Angle of knee flection can be decreased of increased by shortening or lengthening the stance’s stride. Weight should be distributed equally in the whole foot (no weight in the toes).

We need to avoid hyperextending the knee joint. An incorrect acute angle is a result of shifting too far forward, which places too much weight onto the front of the foot (as the heel begins to float off the ground), thus losing support; the knee no longer provides a direct root for the upper body’s weight to drop into the ground. Joints transfer weight, they do not support weight in a properly constructed structure.

It is best to learn in a shorter / higher stance initially and then progress through ranges until reaching a longer / lower stance. High, medium, and large frame. Although, the essential skills can be learned just as well in the shorter / higher stance. Longer / lower stances are for muscular training purposes and extended range of motion through greater ease of movement. There is no practical relevance to fighting. Real boxing utilizes shorter / higher stances.

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