What is a root (part 2)

  • Sinking one's center of gravity.

Sinking one's center of gravity is often referred to a having a root. It can be done by actually taking a lower stance or by internally sinking, which is a process of relaxing while keeping one's alignment. This is not very hard to train. In some Asian countries, like Japan for instance, this ability is just considered normal. In English speaking countries we often hold up our chests which can make us a bit top heavy.

It is easy for even well trained martial artists to lose their root when they become upset (excessive anger will usually do it.) Trances associated with anger or jealousy usually involve forcefully exhaling from the chest through the mouth. This is called qi overflowing.

  • Aligning the basic structure of one's body so that if outside force is applied it will transfer to one of the feet.

This type of root is not internal. However many internal martial artists put great emphasis on perfecting it. It is part of basic Northern Shaolin. The student will hold a stance and the instructor will push on, or forward slap, the point at the end of an extended arm to make sure it transfers directly to a foot.