My taiji instructor, back in the late ’90s, said that one should always put one’s foot down heel to toe when doing the form. The reason is that there might be something sharp on the ground, or the surface might be uneven. Thus, he said, test the surface. The heel goes down first in order to make contact, and give you a place to shift your weight. Then bring the central part of your foot down, so that more contact occurs. Yet don’t commit the ball of the foot, or the toes, to the ground until you’ve found that there’s nothing sharp on the surface you’re stepping onto, and that it has enough strength to support your weight.
I practiced this today. Nothing particular to report about it, other than that a) gravity works, and b) there aren’t any tacks on my floor. That said, there’s a place where the floorboards have separated slightly from one another, leaving a gap, that’s about four feet long. Near the old fireplace, those two boards are still together, and they’re still matched up over by the side door. It’s that tricky middle section where the boards are warped that you have to be careful during a turn.
We must be cautious. Floors are tricky.