Speaking of knees—which I was in last week’s post—here’s another little experiment you can try in the privacy of your computer room.
Stand up and, without bending forward, place your palms on your back below your waist.
Now, if your knees are locked, let them go. If they’re not locked, lock them. Play with this a little and see what you can feel your back doing.
My taiji teacher Joe Pau regularly lectures us about locking our knees. He has us put our palms on our backs to feel what happens when we lock our knees, which is that we lock our backs, too—the muscles tighten.
What’s more, says Joe, when your knees are locked, you’re vulnerable. Whether you’re being rushed by a too-friendly dog or a taiji assassin, you can’t do anything to save yourself so long as your knees remain locked.
Plus, locked knees impede the flow of blood and lymph and doubtless qi. You’ve probably all seen the pictures of soldiers who’ve passed out and keeled over backwards from standing at attention with their knees locked for too long.
I don’t think I lock my knees very often, but I know many of you do—and, folks, you gotta cut it out.
Marie, a woman who comes to my qigong group at church, told me that she learned she habitually locked her knees during a taiji class she took years ago.
She trained herself to stop—and the backaches that had plagued her went away and have not returned.
Lock your house if you will, or your bicycle or your car, but do not, do not, do not lock your knees.