Maintain the energy on the center of the hips?

I have been revisiting the thirteen points. Keeping the energy on the center of the hips has always left me mystified. Is this what we do when we allow the weight to be carried at the hips and release the knees so that we aren't carrying our weight there?

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My experience of this so far is that this refers to alignment such that the force of gravity acts in such a way that it is balanced precisely around the femur heads, so that no additional musculature of the hips need to be engaged excessively to counteract any torque created around the hip joints (thus lessening the freedom of movement around the hip joint and creating stiffness). I feel that as the upper body connects to the lower body through the pelvis, any excessive engagement in the musculature there (which results in making a component that is ideally elastic become stiff) gets in the way of communication of forces between the upper and lower masses and thus gets in the way of harmonizing with gravity (through movement especially).

Sifu, does this make any sense at all? :-)

You should have enough bend at the hip joint to maintain the center of the hip points soft at all times.  Should be a yin feeling of suction there throughout all movements.  When turning left and right into the kwas, there will be a tendency for the feeling of yin energy to rise up or fall along the kwa line.  If you strive to prevent this from happening by keeping the feeling at the center, you will be maintaining energy at the center of the hips. 

I decided to stand and maintain my 13 points (as much as possible) for a few moments to get a feel for how to answer. For me, I'm noticing that my weight is not so much carried on the hips rather I am supported by 9 solids/1empty on the feet while being suspended from above by my crown.

In class, we do an exercise where we put our pointer fingers on each kua (the point on each hip where your inguinal folds meet) and twist on the horizontal plane. You should feel a point where your finger gets "sucked in." Your kuas should be soft and receptive, and if you roll the hips under so that your perineum points at the balance beam line while projecting and expanding ming men, (and have as much awareness on the other 13 points as you can) it gets a little easier to recognize.

Once you can feel the kuas, you can get a sense of where there are located on your hips. To try to center them, you will have to adjust one or more of the 13 points; for me just now, it was a matter of more ming men, more perineum at the balance beam line, and more knees pointing at big toe, but this may vary from person to person and then vary at different times for a given person. I hope this was helpful!

princenasir's picture

This is just me speaking as an exercise physiology student. For me to really feel my weight being carried by the knees, I have to be a bit deeper in my squat while trying to remain upright. My weight is shifted forward so that the balls of the feet and toes carry more weight versus being equally distributed across the feet. Standing this way, I feel tension along the anterior muscles (stress up the front) with the posterior chain being more relaxed. Training this way over time may put additional stress on the knees while creating a muscular imbalance due to the quads constantly being engaged more than the hamstrings during training. 

In my experience with standing, I fell into that saying "bitter before sweet," where I would get painfully low in more of a movie "Shaolin" style of training because that's what I thought standing training was supposed to be. From my time with Sifu, I've learned that standing should not really be painful at all. The muscles ought to be as relaxed as possible. When the bones are carrying the weight, the mobilizer muscles do less work. 

Unfortunately, most of what I've studied has not confirmed that the stabilizer muscles will eventually take over to do "the work" for us, but I've felt & seen it in Sifu! Sorry, I do not have a deeper understanding yet of the 13 points, but I hope this little bit helps! 

When we warm up we spin in three planes; horizontal, frontal and sagital. Sifu tells us to creat the movement in the gua or hip to make the arms swing. Belly button and sternum move together. To do this correctly we must maintain energy at the center of the hips, if not we break off joints to make the movement. This comment is pure opinion on my part : ) 

 

Sorry once more the “philosophic flavor” J of my comment. It seems to me that you are in fact progressing and an example to follow in respect to commitment to train. Isn’t it an I Liq Chuan requirement that awareness of body feelings is signaling the path whereas we take into account the principles (as in any internal art for that matter)?

I advise you against my suggestions because my understanding is narrow. Nevertheless keep in mind that everyone is different (different feelings to different people may appear at a given time) yet the principles by definition are constant. Training, investigation and knowledgeable guidance are the only way to surpass difficulties and broaden our understanding…

Concerning specifically your question this blog points the essential under the title The 13 Points. We must experience directly the “13 Points become one feeling”, but until then I think our mind may give us a general idea. I’ll excuse myself to add anything beyond this except for suggesting you to look deeper into the “simple” basic rocking exercise and also penetrate with what you already know as the result of your training what is said under: Some Thoughts On Zhang Zhuang or Standing Post.

Thank you for your posts they have helped me (a lot) thinking outside the box.

 

 For me I've noticed that the kwas sort of soften and there is more of a feeling that the energy is being maintained there when I do most of the 13 points.  In particular: Center of gravity- center of the feet, Perineum pointing down to balance beam line, crown suspended, drop shoulders over hips, tucking of the ribs, 9 solids and one empty on the feet and knees pointing to the big-toes.  Additionally I wrap my big toe out and and condense my pinky toe.  As I cycle through these points and do the wrapping my weight becomes more evenly distriputed and my awareness of the energy at the center of the hips grows.