Greetings. We continue our examination of stances and stepping. Pay close attention to this. And you might want to check out the video I produced on this subject at YouTube. Paste in this address.

Stepping in any direction has the same requirements. Balance on one leg while stepping with the other leg, touching down the heel (when stepping forward or sideways), and then, and only then, shift the weight onto the new position.

The relationship of the rear foot to the forward foot is an area of much discussion and controversy. Let’s examine this topic and see if we can make common sense of it. Please try out the directions I give you. Don’t just take mine or anybodies word as gospel. Everybody is different, so what works for one might not work for others. Be open to the possibility that what you once learned, might not be the best now.

Here is how to arrive at the ideal step for your self. Start with your feet shoulder width apart, with the insides of the feet parallel. You are now going to step forward with the left foot. Shift the weight onto the right foot and step ahead with the left foot, without changing the angle of the left foot or narrowing the stance. Most people tend to narrow the stance as they step, but don’t. You should end up with the feet parallel, with the left foot in front of the right. Look at my video for exact details.

Now move the body back and forth, what is know as bow and arrow or bow and sit stance. Feel how comfortable this is. Next, pivot out the rear foot (using the heel as the pivot point) until the rear foot is at a right angle (90 degrees) to the front foot. Keeping the torso facing straight in the direction of the front foot, do bow and sit again a few times and notice how this feels.

Finally, pivot in the rear foot to a 45 degree angle to the front foot direction, do bow and sit, and feel how this feels. I wish I could be there with you as you do this, as there are several things you could do that you might not be aware of. In any case, a great majority of people find the 45 degree angle best for general purposes. But, as I said, all bodies are different, so we can’t all expect the same results.

Do this process over again, and be mindful. This relationship of the rear to the front is so important for gathering and releasing energy. You want to make sure your are creating patterns that maximize your Tai Chi potential. More on stepping later.