How to think of it?

Anchored, glued to the ground, heavy, stable, immovable, deep set, embedded, grounded, established, settled, fast, firm.

What about tense, tight, solid, unyielding, fixed?

No...think relaxed. Not relaxed like you're falling asleep, or turning into a couch potato. Relaxed like you've woken up at 2 a.m. and you feel like someone is in the house. You can feel your breathing, hear your heart beating, every sound in the house registers, when you move, there is silence.

Relaxed goes with listening, not tuning out. The more relaxed you are, the more awake you will be. When truly relaxed, you are tuned in and alive!

It will take practice, best to start now.

We recommend to take a momoent to review Essential Balance Concepts .

Here we will look at the other side of the coin. Let's not focus on what your opponent is doing, but rather on what you're doing.

You can off balance your opponent by using one of the off balancing strategies. So long as there is a differential between your balance, and your opponent's, you will succeed to the extent you are better balanced, or less off balanced than your opponent.


Balance Explained



In "Essential Balance" we are talking about offbalancing. Somewhere in every move, there should be an attempt to off balance.

In rooting, we're looking at the Yin side of the equation.

The Immediate Objective

1. Identify all characteristics of your physical motion which adversely impact your balance.

2. Create habits which are clean, your movement has no imbalance, and there is no place for your opponent to enter or attack.

At first you will remove the large imperfections.

Later you will cultivate the subtle.


Coincident to excising the imperfections in your movement, you practice relaxing. Again, not relaxing like falling asleep...relaxing like you're belted in and ready to zoom across the galaxy. Think completely empty, completely aware, wide awake, tuned in, nothing gets by your gaze, even though your eyes are still, all of your senses are registering, you feel your astral body melting into the ground, then you feel your physical roots adhering to the earth below.


Remember, with clean technique, an ounce should be able to move 1000 pounds. If "A" is balanced and weighs 1 ounce, and "B" is imbalanced, and weighs 1000 pounds, the addition of "A" to "B" will send "B" to the ground.

From this point, your goal is to become "A", with the exception you weigh a bit more than 1 ounce. That's an inherent advantage. You can put elements of your weight where they will do the most good.


Here’s What It Looks Like
(Stealing the Center Revisited)



Becoming "A" alludes to getting rooted. Getting rooted doesn't mean anything tangible in its own right. Saying someone is rooted, is like saying someone is an enlightened person. You can see they're on to something important, but you don't know exactly what it is, or how in tarnation they got there.

That's because it's a "Yin" science. Yin is about emptiness. Lau Tzu professed emptiness is what gave shape and function to the cup. He leaves it to you to determine how to put the emptiness in.

In the case of rooting, just like a potter, you will identify the non-essential and begin to remove it. The non-essential in you is anything which weakens or impairs your balance. At the end of the day, that's what arts like Tai Chi and Ai Ki Do are all about.

Removing the non-essential!

In the martial arts, everything you do should conceptually start here.

Now go back to whatever it is that you do. Slow it down, try doing it like you're doing Tai Chi. If you don't know Tai Chi, then pretend. You won't be far off the mark. Sink your awareness, relax completely, listen, melt into the ground. Don't move unless your breathing is even. If there is any ratcheting of your movement, or stutter in your breath, you will not have balance. As you contemplate moving, be still, listen again. Can you hear the wind? Can you hear the birds? Underneath it all, can you hear the cosmic engine whispering "OM?”  No? Then stay where you're at, try listening harder. Think about exploring meditation as an adjunct to this new path of awareness. Are you ready to move now? Before you pick up your leg, ask yourself if you know with certainty that you can lift the leg and maintain perfect balance. Don't move or continue until you are confident that you can! If you cannot move with perfect balance, than be still. That is the essence of this new path. You are learning how to exist as a centered and rooted being. Be serious about it. Don't compromise. You can explore new paths, or latch onto different teachers, but ultimately everything you need to know is right here, and can be perfected within the context of movement you have already studied.

This path will take time, generally a minimum of five years, sometimes much longer. In the end, you will be satisfied the journey was worth the effort, as everything you do will have its "Yang", and its "Yin", and your Qi will flow freely in their midst.

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