I very often refer to it. There are quite a number of Posts here that tie back to it and allude to to. But I was just looking and there is no clear Post on exactly what it is. There may have been a reason for that in the past but here I will describe and discuss the Knee Rule so that it is clear what’s being referred to.
When I ask people if they know the Knee Rule, they first look at me funny and hold back on an answer; then when I tell them about “not letting the knee go forward of the foot” they always say, “Oh, yeah, I know that rule.” And they do. They have heard that before… somewhere. But all you have to do is look around and you will see that knowing and doing are two different things.
I too had heard about the Knee Rule before meeting my tai chi master. When we did meet and he asked me to show him my Form, he then said, to the affect, that there is only one sports injury associated with tai chi, and it’s “tai chi knee”. Tai chi knee is what happens when you do tai chi without diligently following the Knee Rule. I had been doing tai chi off and on for 8 years wrong – wrong in many ways but, for today’s purposes, the point is that I was breaking the Knee Rule without every giving it any thought. (Four years in the service, a gym rat for over 25 years, and a Chiropractor – with all the training and experience that that implies – and I was still breaking the Knee Rule all the time. That is one of my main points about the entire bending and lifting conversation: everywhere you look you see people who should know better but don’t – clear up to the State experts on the subject, and the sources of training (University level) for the Safety people whose job it is to know all about it!)
And that’s just what you see when you look around and see people getting up and down off the floor (the kneeling position or half-kneeling position).
So the Knee Rule is: The knee has to stay over the front of the foot and can not leave that spot when it is loaded. And that means when there is weight on it. Period. End of story. No exceptions.
Think getting in and out of the car/truck. Think stairs. Think, especially, getting up and down off the floor – that’s when it is most common (auto mechanics, Les Schwab guys, Boeing workers climbing around in the interior of the plane, etc., etc., etc.)
Here is why it’s so important: When you are breaking the Knee Rule – the first 20 to 30 years – you won’t suffer much at all and may not feel any consequences (there are some exceptions to this – I had an accountant once that in one move to get off the ground and change a DVD player ripped her cartilage loose and knew that she had trouble). But what’s happening when you break the Knee Rule is that you are destroying the cartilage between the upper and lower leg bones. When it’s gone, you will know all about it… and it will be too late. The orthopedists will get to sell you new parts, with all the accompanying “procedures” and drugs that go along with.
Below are some photos. It wasn’t easy finding just what I wanted but in each photo below you see the Knee Rule being followed. There is a lot more that could be said about these photos in terms of what else is going on in addition to the Knee Rule… that can be the subject of future Posts:-)