Everett Chiropractic Center Blog

May 27, 2010

Zhang San Feng

Filed under: Back pain, Body work, Exercise, Tai Chi Chuan, Wellness care — Tags: , , , — doctordilday @ 2:22 pm

“Let me touch on the basics with some emphasis first. You may have heard this over and over again, but it is the TRUTH. Elite athletes, or the formally trained dancer (for example), train the basics REPEATEDLY! This never leaves their repertoire! And nor should it leave yours. Training the basics is a necessity and really there is no magic as to why… There is no way you can link movements together, or move on to more complex movements, if you don’t have a strong foundation and excellent technique… and the ONLY way to improve technique is to practice it on a regular basis. Sounds pretty logical, doesn’t it?”

-Betsy Collie, RKC Team Leader

I took that quote from an article by a kettlebell person, but it applies to everything and we repeat the principle lesson over and over and over in tai chi classes. Almost no matter what the question is – no matter what the student is trying get past or achieve – the answer is to back up and work more on the basics. A classic is for the tai chi student to push to get further and further through the Form and then get to the kick section. At the kick section the level of difficulty goes up quite a bit. If the training up to that point has not prepared the student for standing on one leg while waving the hands and the other leg around and changing body direction and/or orientation, things so south in a hurry.

When we help back pain patients rehabilitate their spines so they can then move on to the workouts they really want to do, it’s the same. We recommend, demonstrate and guide the patient to do the basics. If they do them, given time, their body responds with increased fitness and eventually they can do something more difficult. These things take time though; moreso depending on how unfit and how injured a person is, how much rest, hydration, and quality nutrition they get.

Often, a patient doesn’t want to bother with the boring easy beginner stuff. So they move on the the gym, or the court, or the field and begin to do what they are not yet fit enough to handle: and I get to hear about it when their symptoms return and they come back in for First Aid Relief care.

To be fair, I have repeated this cycle so many times myself that I have complete sympathy. The trick is back up and “sneak up” on that thing that last injured you through small progressions.

One over-riding advantage of a daily tai chi forms practice is that all the basics are worked and the progressions are inherent in the Form itself. There are dozens of ways to do a Form – which means dozens of progressions. Doing the Form can be a workout or a warm up for something much more demanding.

Simple tai chi walking – the basics – will produce profound results and prepare you for moving to the next level. It is very very safe, requires no costume, no gym membership, no special equipment, and it can be done anywhere.

It can be difficult for people to grasp how profound the basic movements are. We forget that all our activities are memorized in the nerve system. The repetitions which create habits structurally change our bodies: ALL the parts of our bodies. Think about that the next time you sit through a movie (posture), get up out of a chair or bend over to tie your shoes (body mechanics).

In fact, the act of thinking about it (mindfulness) is so equally profound in it’s implications… the subject of a future post no doubt:-)

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1 Comment »

  1. […] Tai chi and Zhang San Feng Basic Spine Exercise (LB ROM #1 & #2) Basic Spine Exercises (Dorsal Twist) Basic Spine Exercises (Sphynx) Basic Spine Exercises (Million Dollar Neck Exercise) Basic Spine Exercises (Cat-Camel) w/ link to YouTube demo video Multifidi, Dr. Slosberg, Stuart McGill “It’s all there.” A Story by a Tai Chi teacher, a very interesting story Natural History of Back Pain:: Slosberg Handout on Chiropractic and Exercise (Front Stance photos) Chiropractic, Tai Chi and the “Line” (The Vertical Axis) […]

    Pingback by Index of Chiropractic, Tai Chi and other Wellness Posts « Everett Chiropractic Center Blog — August 13, 2011 @ 8:43 pm


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