Tai Chi Ground Path with Fingers

Here is another skill you will develop with the new The Root of Internal Power DVD.

Tai Chi Ground Path

Ground Path training is essential work for rooting and peng jings. Ground Path refers to the idea that there is a properly aligned internal structural integrity from every external part of the body connected through the body down into the ground. The connection from the point of contact down through your body to the point where the foot connects to the ground is the focus of Ground Path work.

Basically if a person pushes on your shoulder, chest, back, head, etc the incoming force gets routed through your body and down into the ground. If the pusher quickly releases and lets go then you should not be uprooted, unstable or moving in the direction that they were pushing from or anywhere else. After they release you are still in the position you were in when they began pushing you because ideally their force has passed through the pathway and is not otherwise affecting the inside of you.

When you start learning this practice you will probably need to use a lot of skeletal structural stability but over time you can stay extremely relaxed and still route incoming force down through your body and into the ground. Learning this practice can help you to learn and understand Sung (relaxing) without collapsing and will put you on your way to learning Peng.

Please do not mistake ground path work for rooting or Peng. Ground path connections are valuable tools to assist rooting and peng but the ground path work by itself is NOT rooting or peng. Rooting involves allowing force to go deep into the ground and manipulating the energy way beyond the limit of the physical body. Proper Peng uses ground path and also utilizes a number of other principles. I will be writing an article on Peng that will be posted soon.

Ground Path work has to be worked on and built over time. First you work on it slowly with assistance from the person who is pushing and then you work on doing it with less assistance and from increasingly difficult positions and faster and faster. This is one of the practices being shown in our new video on Building Internal Strength through Internal Push Hands training.

Once the pathways have been developed then you can begin other practices as listed above and over time you can move Chi through the pathways. There are other types of pathwork but the Ground Path is one of the first to develop and practice for Tai Chi partly because it is one of the easiest to develop simply by virtue of the fact that you are assisted in your development by gravity. For most beginners, it is much easier to let energy drop through your body into the ground and maintain your position than it is to disperse force in any other direction.