I keep coming back to horse stance, and there’s a reason for it. Everything in tai chi and qi gong depends upon a good horse stance. The feet need to be spread apart adequately, and then you need to sink down so that your knees are bent enough, BUT that your kneecaps should be no farther out than the tip of your big toe — when you look down, you should be able to see the tips of your toes. Astonishing how much depends on that.
What depends on it?
Well, maybe not everything. Yet the position of the feet and knees in horse stance shifts everything else. If the feet are correctly placed, then the legs get a workout at the same time the upper body is twisting and punching and blocking. When the lower body exercises come along later in the qi gong forms, they’ve already had a workout— supporting one’s body mass. Which makes those toe-touches and squats more effective.
if the legs are positioned correctly and performing horse stance properly, a lot of other things like twists from the waist and hips become easier, too. There’s a solid foundation from which to twist. The whole movement is empowered because the lower body is rock solid, while the upper body is flexible. When doing kicks this morning, I thought, How does one make the upper body rigid, while making the lower body flexible? it would take sky hooks, I think, but maybe it’s just a matter of practicing some of the foot shifts more expertly. Worthy of further thought.