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Someone on Reddit replied with the following comments to my post, I don’t see the difference between using the lower body to control the upper body and using the hips to generate power. Aren’t they basically just the same thing?”

Using the waist/hips only is not the same as using the lower body to control the upper body. Regardless of style, in traditional Chinese martial arts, especially in Tai Chi, you would hear about using the waist/hips to generate power in the classics. Now this is only half of the story, like my Shifu once told me, “It is the feet that drive the waist/hips.”

This is the part that is left out, the feet. When you “sink”-you allow all the tension held up by the upper body to relax down into the ground. There is a thrusting reactionary force that flows up from the ground. The lowering of your centre of gravity has this effect. And this motion that flows up first enters the feet-point of origin and the turning point would be the waist/hips area where it amplified and as you strike out exists the fist/hands.

If you are focusing on twisting and turning, meaning you only focused on waist/hips you are not using the lower body to control the upper body. The motion is still more from the upper body. To know the difference is to practice. When using the lower body more, your legs will get tired in the beginning and with the opposite-using the hips/waist, the work or tiredness will be felt more in the upper body.

This is also what is meant with having strong legs in traditional martial arts. This is the reason people hold stances, such as the horse stance, it is to be open the sinews of the legs. Increasing this flexibility of the sinews, allows one to be able to absorb and release explosive power. Nonetheless, on more internal level, by regulating this physicality. This enables the mind to settle more into the ground as you relax your centre of gravity.

The video below shows the difference between using the feet to drive the hips/waist as supposed to using the hips/waist only:

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Written by Narcisse Sadi who is a Tudi (student) of Dr Jeff Lan.  He is a certified 1stDuan Health Qi Gong by the International Health Qigong Federation. And  a 1st Duan Yang Style (Cheng Man Ching lineage) Tai Chi Chuan Instructor, certified by Dr Jeff Lan. 



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