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 Do you have a root?

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Posts : 9
Join date : 2008-02-25
Location : USA

PostSubject: Do you have a root?   Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:52 pm

A short article on rooting.Hope you like it.

Do you have a root?

A lot of people
who begin taking up a martial art for the first time, such as Wing
Chun, tend to be overly eager. Many just want to learn the "good
stuff" and jump right into advanced training. Beginer martial artists try to
short cuts by spending as little time as possible on the
basics, bypassing the "hard, boring, and mundane" aspects of training
developing a strong root.
What they fail to realize is that a strong root is
essential to building a good foundation in preparation for advanced
training. Simply put, without a strong root you have no gung fu.

What does a strong root really mean? Without a solid root, one's
techniques will simply not work against someone with a developed root, and
ones attack and defense will lack the necessary force to deal with their

opponent's attack. A person who has failed to develop a strong root is like a
house of cards, apply modest pressure and it totally collapses .Also a
person devoid of a root has no real structure and can be controlled easily

by one who is rooted. Without structure, this type of person must rely
solely on brute force or sectional power to generate force (such as the power
of only the hand or foot.) Although this type of power can be great, it is

unconnected from the whole body and
lacks the power which comes from one's

When issuing force from the root, however, whole body power is used.
This power originates from one's root and is connected from the ground-up and
transmitted through one's structure. Not just the portion of the hand or leg
is used, but the whole connected body. This power is unbroken like the chain
on a bicycle. When released; the force feels like being hit by a tidal wave
or a sudden shock wave. This type of power is what gives the smaller person
the ability to generate a tremendous amount of power compared to someone who

relays solely on his arms or legs. In the old days of the great masters, you
often heard about a persons of a small stature who were able to defeat

foes with their ability to deliver power beyond the normal. I'm sure
such great masters from the past, must have spent a lot of time on
their foundations and had tremendous root in order to accomplish these
great feats.

Besides basic horse and stance training another very useful way to
develop a strong and stable root is from regular Chi Sao practice.
(The practice of Chi Sao is unique to the Wing Chun system.) By

regular practice, one feels what it is like to have their root and
structure tested continuously. This is very useful in root
training. The constant forward pressure from ones opponent during Chi
Sao is a great way to test the root. One must learn to channel this
pressure from the structure into the ground,and issue power from the
ground though ones structure. If your root is weak one will simply
fall over or lose balance. This is the basic and most invaluable skill
one should develop in order to advance to higher levels of training in
Chi Sao. I

In my opinion, one should not concentrate to much on fancy or
complicated techniques in the beginning. The focus should be on
learning how to root. Fancy hand techniques or combinations may seem
impressive to the beginner, but without a solid root all those

techniques go out the window. Without a firm foundation, one will not
be able to issue any stopping power to one's opponent, or have the
ability to use his structure. One will simply have to rely on external
factors like speed and brute force to overcome their opponent.

In conclusion, without a root, hands have no meaning and are neutralized and nullified.

Without root, there is no gung fu.

Sifu Michael Mc Ilwrath
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