Although there are not really ‘ secrets ‘ in Taiji anymore, there are things that are extremely important, that are not well known or properly emphasized. Generally speaking, students are not shown ‘ leg methods ‘ until they are higher level, if ever. The correct ( and stealth like ) use of the leg is one of the signature characteristics of Chen Taijiquan, that gives the practitioner major advantages over their opponents. The use of the leg as a lever, gives the ability tear out the opponentswith minimal effort, and when properly coordinated with the actions of the rest of the body, creates ‘ revolution ‘ of the body, where the entire body moves through space like a powerful wheel, squeezing out whatever is in it’s path. This combined with ‘ ‘ creates unstoppable power.
The basic method is called Chan Chu ( Shovel Out ). It is no accident that a shovel is referred to because the leg acts as a shovel. A shovel is a lever. You stick the spaded end into the ground, use the long lever arm to break the a chunk of dirt loose from the surrounding earth, then you can easily lift it up once you have optimized the correct position. Master Chen detailed this for us in New York recently. It is very important, when you step the leg is like the shovel. It is straight and used like a stick. It is powered by the body going straight down, and the body mustn’t go forward. You are not allowed to fall into your step or you lose all power. The toes must be pulled up and pointing back at your own nose. The back of the knee must be stretched open, and over time must ‘ feel like the back of the knee becomes the front ‘. The heel must contact the ground solidly before the lever can be employed. The front must feel as if it is pulling the back up. All these points are critical in developing a type of power that other people will not have.
Video: Shovel Out
This video details aspects of correct stepping in taiji, internal switching training, maintaining stabilization of dantien area, the leg as lever, and how it relates body ‘movement’. In addition there are very good details on ‘ linking and delinking ‘, being non reactive , finding and using ‘ the dot ‘, relationships between multiple centers, the microcosm and macrocosm, the fine line between solid and empty and the extreme agility this creates, and creating compression and bouncing power.