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
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.
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
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
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
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 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.
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