the elusive rooting power
From: Steve Cotter
Date/Time 2005-09-06 21:54:57
Remote IP: 220.127.116.11
Great to hear from you. I just received notice of your DVD order. Thank you very much.
You are trying to get to the 'root' of root, or the 'heart' of root. This is the most elusive skill in all of MA, imo.
I do not consider myself very high level in the application of root as you are describing. More specialty is more of a 'dynamic root', an interplay of stability with mobility. This is very useful for fighting and in my case, self-defense or play.
My ability to resist being shoved is so-so as compared to a master. However, you will see my root in action if you try to take me down. Very difficult to do, but I do not stay in one place. I am not saying that I cannot being taken down, only that it is difficult, and in that context I am well-rooted.
The 'gong' that you speak of is specialized most by Chen taiji experts. Their system evolved to have less big movements via strikes, kicks, grapples and tested their power through push hands and rooting/uprooting skills.
The reason that you can stabilize a heavy SQ but not replicate that stability at certain angles---this has to do with intention. The power of intention, when directed, is greater than muscular power. This is the essence of IMA. The training for great root lies primarily in the 3 activities of standing meditation (with various imagery), taiji form (to teach 'sung' total relaxation) and tui shou (push hands, sensing, listening ). You have to be willing to forget everything you now know about strength and 'start over'.
There are few that have a high level in this. Imo, you will have to be willing to travel and be prepared to be very committed and ceremonial in order to be able to learn what you are seeking through a true expert. I can teach you things about it, but in the 'grand scale', I am still 'babyson'.
A starting point for learning the ability could be with Master Ren Guang Yi in NYC. He is a legitimate Chen stylist, which means he can use it. I don't know his procedures for accepting student, etc. But he is one I would start with if I wanted to learn legitimate Chen taiji. There are a handful of others alive today. There is also someone on the West Coast I could put you in touch with, who is very high level in the realm of meditation and martial rooting.
I wish I could be of more help. I know that my level of gong fu may seem high to some, but that is because true gong fu is almost dead in the modern world and a little bit of skill seems like a lot when no one has a frame of reference. (Sort of a 'in the land of the blind, the man-eyed man is king' thing). There are a few people still that have tremendous power, that goes far beyond any of the strongmen I have ever met. The question is, will they teach the essence before they die with the knowledge.
Someday I hope to discover these 'secrets' and how to teach them in an instant rather than the 30 years in now takes. But then, if people could learn such things in only an instant, they would not be prepared to wield the powers gained appropriately. An ancient self-correcting system, it seems.
An archive of helpful advice compiled by IGer's.
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