Recognizing the Kwa: When talking about the Kwa we are generally speaking of the inguinal groove that connects the leg to the torso. Often Tai Chi is an optical illusion. Tai Chi movements can be difficult to “see” for beginners and non-practitioners. For example, in the movement at the beginning of the form when we bring our arms down and sit back, beginning students will often bend their knees forward rather than sitting back and folding at the Kwa. They may tuck their pelvis under or tilt their pelvis forward and often tighten their hip joints. At first they may not see the distinction between what they are doing and what I am doing. Tai Chi is based on Yin and Yang. Yin sinks and Yang rises. The lower body is yin and therefore the hips and lower body should be relaxed and connecting to the earth. Learning to use the Kwa properly also works to pump our fluids and lymph system. This is a very good thing.
Folding is also used when turning to the left and right. Personally I think this is a more difficult concept to understand and convey. In Tai Chi we use the Kwa to turn and not twist. This saves a lot of wear and tear on our knees as there will be no lateral torque on them. The knees are kept in line with the toes, ankles and hips. Learning to fold the Kwa takes practice. As we learn to “recognize” our joints we can begin to put them together to work as a unit. The Kwa is an important concept to understand if you want to develop your Tai Chi practice. Remember to energetically and physically connect both sides of the circle. As the classics say, If there is an up, there is a down. If there is a right, there is a left. So it is with every joint including the Kwa. Happy Training!!!
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