The Internal Power Training Blog

Check out the latest info and research from Coach Chris' explorations in the Subject of Internal Power.

Body cogs and the stable base Bookmark

Opening and closing the body in harmony is one of the key methods of many internal arts, indeed it stands as fundamental to some of the Chinese Systems. I call it 'pairing' as this open and close happens simultaneously as a pair of opposite directions within a single action. This simultaneous harmony of opposite action is well described by the Taiji symbol (often called the Yin/yang).

One of the methods I use to help people visualize this process within the torso is to think of two cogs, one located in the lower abdomen (lower dantien) and one in the solar plexus area along the Sagital Plane.

These cogs are meshed so that action in the lower cog results in action in the upper cog. The lower cog is always the driver while the upper cog simply reacts to its action.

In the diagram you can see how rotation in the lower cog causes action in the upper cog and the action of these two rotations creates paired opposite action on the front and back.

For instance as the lower cog rotates forwards and down the action in the upper cog is backwards and up, thus opening the front. Simultaneously as this happens the back closes as the rear of the lower cog goes up, and the rear of the upper cog goes down.

Clearly we don't actually have 'cogs' in our Body, they are simply an analogy to describe the process of concurrent action and open and close. There is a complex network of muscles and tissues that we use in synchronicity to open the front while simultaneously the back closes or visa versa. 

This action is extremely small in scale but very interesting when we apply it to partner work.

Next time you try a solo exercise related to Sagital open and close, why not give this idea of two cogs a try. For some people its a really useful method.

The stable base of the torso.

It is often said the big driver for Internal Power is the 'lower dan tien' or the area of the lower torso. Indeed we see this area being of special interest in almost all internal arts. But what is one of the first requirements for using or training this area? A stable frame or base for the torso. For us to really start to use this area we need to create a stable frame for the lower abdomen to work within and against. A loose frame is very much like trying to leap off a spongy surface, any power you generate is absorbed by the 'slack'.

We can use the concept of the triangle to help us create this stable base. The triangle is formed between the coccyx and the hip joints. This idea of a triangle allows us to monitor sagital,Coronal and Transverse movement or positioning much more easily.

Having the stable base is much like having a good frame for a sub woofer speaker. If the frame is not secure then the loudness and quality of the sound will be low. If the frame is stable then the sound will be clear. In the same way, if the pelvis is stable we can utilize the various pressures and rotations of the center without loss. If loose, then the pelvis will absorb/counter much of our efforts.

When we watch top level Internal Adepts, one of the first things we see if how stable their pelvis is in relation to their movement.  When moving through forms, interacting with the partner or sparring, why not try the simple exercise of putting your mind onto this triangle of stability (hips and coccyx) and see how it effects the quality of your movement.

Note: there are a few posts related to the methods related to a stable pelvis further down the page. eg. 'crotch arch' kwa, softening etc.

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