Energy Pathway from Foot to Hand

by Ping Wei on 2015/12/20

Energy pathway.001

In numerous occasions, Master Chen talked about how to train the body as a gear box. In energy alignment, he talked about the hand and foot connection. In push hand, he instructed us not to push. Instead, push the leg and by opening the “kua” so that the energy is transmitted from foot to hand. He talked about “fill the kua”, “push the shoulder down”, “fix the two dots and hit the middle”, “indirect force/power”, etc. The words Master Chen used most in every workshop are “DON’T MOVE.” Master Chen’s teachings are like puzzle pieces in a box. We need to put these puzzles pieces together in order to see the larger picture of Practical Method.

One of Master Chen’s most significant teaching videos to me is “成线那一点-北京2014” (“Dot that makes the line”). The video is in Chinese, posted on Chinese website on March 23, 2015. It’s not new comparing to his English teaching. As a matter of fact, we heard Master Chen talked about this Practical Method principle in English long before he taught that in Chinese. But the Chinese teaching means a lot to me, after all. In that video, there is a particular short section that Master Chen talked about how to fix the knee. In brief, he instructed to find a line from the heel to hip, then find another line directly on the knee extending from knee cap to back of the knee. There’s a cross point when the two lines meet. That’s the dot the knee should aiming at while you want to fix the knee from moving. As in diagram b, c, and d show.

We can do the same analysis to find relationship among knee, kua, and shoulder (c, d, and e). In this case, kua is aiming upward, which fulfills the “fill the kua” requirement. Same as in kua, shoulder, and elbow (d, e, and f), shoulder is aiming downward.

The diagram shows each joint aiming direction. Along the leg, thigh, torso, arm, forearm, the energy pathways form each complete loop, as if all the gears are connected. When we push the foot, the power can reach to our hand.

There are lots of use of the diagram. One immediate benefit is to fix the knee from moving. Before, I always try hard to focus on knee joint only. I can achieve to a certain point to keep the knee from moving. Now, I activate ankle, knee, and kua together to achieve true not moving (真不动).

The above energy pathway is an over simplified diagram. I think it’s our starting point to put Master Chen’s teaching together.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeffrey Chua December 21, 2015 at 10:01 pm

Tks Ping Wei! Great explanation.


James Tam December 23, 2015 at 11:02 am

Ping Wei,
Thank you very much for sharing your valuable knowledge. I have not come across this before. By following your instructions, based on your interpretation of Laoshi’s teachings, I am able to find significantly improvements in maintaining knee stability. However, I am still trying to figure out the lines for c, d, e and for d, e, f. Eg., you can have a line from knee cap to back of the knee. For c, d, e, I normally have been pushing d forward and up. However, where are the two lines that intersect? Thanks in advance.


James Tam December 23, 2015 at 6:19 pm

OK, Ping Wei. Following your instructions, for c, d, e (knee, kua, shoulder), the first line is the one that joins c & e and the second line is a “perpendicular” line from d to this first line. The point to aim for would be the intersection point between these two lines. For d, e, f (hip, shoulder, elbow), the first line is the one that joins d & f ? and the second line is the “perpendicular” line from e to the first line? Point to aim is the intersection point between these two lines? Correct, for both cases (c,d,e and d,e,f)?


edliaw December 23, 2015 at 6:42 pm

From the seminar we had with Ping, the vector that each joint aims with is the altitude of the triangle formed between the joint and the two surrounding joints. So the knee (c) aims perpendicular to the line formed between the ankle (b) and the hip (d). I’m not sure yet if it needs to be precisely this, but the general direction seems good enough for now.


James Tam December 24, 2015 at 9:29 am

Thanks Edliaw!


pingwei December 23, 2015 at 7:08 pm

Hi, James. You are right. A perpendicular line from d to the line of c and e, or from e to the line of d and f, is the shortest one. The dot should be as precise as possible. It will reflect in push hand and you will know.
One important thing to remember is “aiming” toward the dot, not “moving” toward the dot. There is difference. For example, “to fill the kua”, as c, d, and e, seen in the diagram, don’t move the kua up. If you are far away from your opponent, move your step, instead to move your kua toward your opponent. Because by moving the kua, you compromise your structure. After you step in, aiming the kua toward the dot.


James Tam December 24, 2015 at 9:28 am

Thank you Ping Wei for your confirmation and for the useful tip of “aiming” rather than “moving” the kua.


BenjaminB December 23, 2015 at 9:56 pm

Excellent explanation, Ping. Very good information that I will try to work into my practice. Thank you for the article!


Kelvin Ho December 24, 2015 at 9:49 am

This is a very good article. It gives me additional insights into the relationship between triangles and gears on top of my previous article: The diagram is a 2D representation, in actual practice, it is in 3D, e.g. To put d (kua) to the c-e line is to rotate d with the aim at the dot where d meets c-e perpendicularly. The result is an spiral action.


edliaw December 24, 2015 at 1:11 pm

Your article is really insightful! I think it makes sense to me that by aiming, it creates tension that acts as though the structure is rounded instead of angled. It makes me think of a suspension bridge.


kenkoon December 27, 2015 at 12:58 pm

Thanks ! Is there a way to make “成线那一点-北京2014” video available on


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