The Tai Chi Skill of "Dang" -- a Rounded Crotch
Sep 16, 2019
There are a lot of things to think about when you do internal movement.
One of my teachers said that when you are first learning, you can be paralyzed by well over a dozen principles of structure and movement that you are trying to achieve in each movement.
Chen Xiaowang says, "If Taiji were easy, everyone be master."
It is NOT easy, which is why, after a lot of hard work, it is satisfying when you enter a room full of Taiji people and you realize that you understand internal movement at a different level.
The other night, a student looked at me funny when I said, "I want to talk about your Dang."
It's pronounced "Dahng."
Yes, we both laughed.
So I clarified.
"I want to talk about your groin."
That did not help the situation, but you probably know by now that laughter is an important part of my practices.
So I explained.
The term "Dang" is the shape of the legs when you are in a stance. When you look at the angles at the top of the legs, at the kua, and the shape up the inside of the leg, across the groin and down the inside of the other leg, the desired shape is an upside-down "U," not a "V."
Take a look at the photo at the top of this post. It shows a "rounded" groin.
The groin area should be relaxed and flexible and rounded and open. Doing this helps strengthen the legs.
It is easier to achieve this relaxation when you learn to relax as you open and close the kua. Relaxing the kua is very important.
Separating the waist from the hips is another key part of it. If you think turning the Dantien means turning the hips, you have been misinformed. But by now, if you are studying my material, you know the difference. Reflecting that difference in your movement is the hard part, isn't it?
It takes a lot of work and practice. That's why they call it gongfu.
One thing that can help round the groin is to feel a slight outward push by the muscles of the inner thighs. Don't overdo it, though. Make it subtle.
You do not have to go very low to round the groin. Remember, good internal movement does not depend on low stances, it depends on good structure.
Experiment with this concept in all movement -- Taiji, Xingyi and Bagua -- in high and lower stances. There are movements in all the arts when there is more of a "V" than a "U" at the groin -- and those are easy to spot. Look for the movements where you can work on developing the rounded crotch.
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