Tall people, short people

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Tall people, short people

Postby Monsoon » Mon Dec 31, 2012 5:08 pm

Something that has been bothering me a little regarding stance depth and foot positioning is the need for modification by people of widely differing heights and stride lengths.

I first noticed this with the 'taming the tiger' stance. As a man 6ft 2 in stature, if I sink onto my rear leg such that the thigh is parallel to the ground I find two things occurring. 1) that my body is still mostly the height of my lower leg above the floor, and 2) that if I stretch the forward leg out until it is straight and then rise into a bow stance that my stance is now very long and very deep.

Firstly, I realise that for this stance it is not necessary to crouch down so that the butt scrapes the floor - to do this would be to move the thigh below the supporting knee and I am not sure this is desirable. Secondly, for a tall person there is a far greater difference between 'shoulder width' and the foot positions of a deep stance than there is for much shorter people.

Is it acceptable to adopt both higher stances and deeper stances within the same form? What I mean is, taking a higher stance in say single whip (dan bian) and then, when sinking into snake creeps down (she shen xia shi) allowing the forward leg to extend or slide forward to facilitate a lower position in the crouch.

It makes me wonder if in fact taijiquan is more suited as an art for compact people. I realise that some of the great masters were giants of men, in more ways that one, but the question still begs.

I await you wisdom on this matter.

Monsoon
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Re: Tall people, short people

Postby yeniseri » Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:18 pm

It should not make any difference since the shape of each posture is based on your health status, fitness level and degree of understanding.
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Re: Tall people, short people

Postby Monsoon » Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:58 pm

:D I realise that, but sometimes, just when you think you are beginning to understand something you start asking yourself all sorts of questions. Well, at least I do, and this was one of them.

I suppose the root question though concerns how the attentive student will eventually modify what they are taught to suit there own physical attributes. However, the divergence from the teachings of their sifu should only be within the realms of theory and principle and not just due to convenience in my opinion.

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Re: Tall people, short people

Postby Josh Young » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:38 pm

I am six foot one and have worked plenty with others who are taller and shorter than I.

In the methods I choose to employ the body sets measue to stance through its own configuration. This allows set measure of uniform height for the form with only a bit of rising and sinking in the usual places, such as the golden needle and snake creeps postures... etc. Even as one advances in skill and internalizes the movements, one should still practice form work using the proper posture depth to obtain maximum benefits in addition to practicing a tighter more compact way as well.

There are different advantages to height aspects, I don't think the art is intended for shorter or taller people, but some specific physical attributes are known to confer advantgage, one of these is large hands, another is broadness, another is a stocky build. YSH and YBH were tall and thin if I am not mistaken.

In some training methods being too deep or too high is measured by a mobility aspect that is checked individually with weight changes and footwork. This can vary a lot in people due to body variation. It is one of those things hard to learn from a book or video or internet post.
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