The body pyramid
In 6 Dragons Kung Fu, when we talk about rooting (as in Tai Chi or in Wing Chun) we refer substantially to two things:
- Ability to resist the opponent’s interaction (thrusts, projections, etc.) without losing balance
- Ability to express the full potential of our body power (punches, constrictions, etc.) avoiding any dispersion of force
The first step to gain these skills is to imagine our body as inscribed in a pyramid where:
- The head is the tip
- The feet are the base
It does not matter what stance are we adopting, we have always to think in this way.
The main (and most simple) factors that can boost our body balance (read How to improve balance: tricks and exercises) are:
- The support area
- The tip of the pyramid
- The center of gravity
When we will begin to identify our body as a pyramid we will start to understand how to increase its stability.
How to easily improve our rooting
To drastically and effortlessly increase our rooting we can:
- Enlarge the support area – Size, weight, position and shape of the leaning area (generally the feet and the space between them) are fundamental factors that influence our stability
- Rotate the pyramid support (more about this later) – The support area of our pyramid (eg. the feet) must be positioned, in relation to the opponents, in such way that will make harder for them to move us (pull, push, throw, etc.)
- Align the tip of the pyramid – If the tip of the pyramid (generally the head) is aligned to the center of gravity and to the support point we will generally have a better rooting
- Lower our combat position – The more our center of gravity is low and the more stable we are (that is why the Kung Fu, for example, of the northern Shaolin monks, is characterized by very low stances)
- Relax our body as much as we can – As anyone has seen, at the same weight, a rigid object is extremely much easier to move than a flexible one
This is all we can do without training, experience and deep knowledge of rooting theory. To simply add something more to this we can:
- Start to strengthen our muscles (especially legs) with the exercises described in “How to improve balance: tricks and exercises”
- Build a good standing stamina (practicing the various Kung Fu stances, read The correct position of the rider (ma bu) and Training for balance / rooting: feet on tires)
Said this it’s obvious that:
- The advice exposed will convert in a significative improvement of our static balance but it is not sufficient, there is much more to do (we will see everything)
- If we can not balance on one foot even when we are alone and relaxed, we will never be able to develop the subsequent rooting-related abilities
- The advice given in this article should not be used during the whole evolution of a confrontation but only when necessity imposes it (our body must adapt instinctively to each situation, read 6DKF’s interactions: from the strong blow to the light touch)
- Our rooting must be calibrated with our athletic possibilities (if for example lowering our stance and enlarging its base gives us more stability, at the same time, if we are not more than conditioned to perform explosive movements, we will have an extremely reduced mobility)
- In combat, having limited mobility is (almost always) more dangerous than not having a good rooting (the use of truly low stances requires hours and hours of daily training)
In the next article of this series, we will continue to explain the concept of rooting in 6 Dragons Kung Fu.
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.