Today Health Direction

"Opening at the Kua" exercises

As I progress in my Tai Chi studies, I am now looking into the "kua", the hips, as in "opening at the kua". I am interested in anything anyone would have to share on the subject, especially in regards to exercises one can use to train to better open at the kua. Of course, there is the horse stance, but I would like to learn about other training methods specific to the kua.


B K Frantzis's Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body covers this. :)


One of my teachers says that single whip is good for this and it frees the spine allowing energy to rise, the toe in stance of Bagwa probably serves the same purpose.


Thank you very much Darren.
I've looked it up on and it does look like what I'm exactly looking for.


Hi all,
The 'kua' refers to the hip joint and the connective tissues surrounding it. Basically, the hip can store and release an incredible amount of power - simply, because it has so many tendons/sinuses and muscle tissues surrounding it, more than any other joint - therefore it is a vital place for the taijiquan practitioner to develop.
There are many ways of doing this. One is to imagine you are on a tram line - feet spread apart in the hoarse riding stance. Start to take steps along the imaginary tram line, keeping the feet the same distance apart. But instead of just taking normal steps, compresses into one hip by turning the torso into the hip which you want to compress - in the case of putting you left foot forward first, you would compress into the left hip by opening up the right kua and turningthe torso into the left hip - keeping the back straight at all times, unless training in certain Yang styles. Repeat this process on the opposite side (i.e. right leg) and do this while clawing the ground with the feet and pulling up with the tendons on the back insides of the knees, this should - after a few months of practice - increase you lower body power/strength, and most immortally you can increase the explosive power in your kua. By increasing the functionality of the kua you can enable a more pure transfer of energy from you hips/abdomen to your fists (or any part of your you are attacking with) and therefore creating a harder strike - as in taijiquan, all power is generated for the hips and abdomen and sent to the outer region of the body: i.e. fora strike of some sort.
Other ways of increasing the power in the kua is by doing anything which involves the opening and closing of the hip joints - certain hip stretches, kicks (especially sickle kicks) and Bagwa exercises, can all help to develop hip functionality - NOTE make sure that when performing such exercises, youshould ensure sufficient intent is placed onthe area that you wish to develop – if done ‘half-assed’ then minimal advancement will be attained.
Hip development is essential for creating a better internal and external structure (as all power originates form this area, it dictates so many aspects of taijiquan) and therefore creating a better alignment of joints – the 'three harmonies' – thus creating a better stance and a more economical transfer for of energy throughout the body i.e. Chi.
Cheers all, Pete.


Hi Pete,
Thanks for that, it was very good to read, loved your typo too,
Intersting when you think that the longest living human (possibly) was a Qigong master living to the unbelieveble age of 240+ (can't be right)


Intersting when you think that the longest living human (possibly) was a Qigong master living to the unbelieveble age of 240+ (can't be right)
Hi all,
Yeah funny typo, quite incidental how it is highly relevant to Taijiquan. And I think the person your thinking of is the 'so called' first patriarch of Taijiquan, Chen sang feng. He was a Taoist monk who learnt shoalin kungfu for ten years and then learnt qigong for ten,from a Taoist master a then combined the movements' of shoalin kungfu and the energy working techniques of qigong to create Taijiquan. However, there is much controversy surrounding the identity of the person who created the art of Taijiquan. For example, the Chen family claim that it wastheirancestor Chen Wangting, a Ming Dynasty Officer, who formed the art. There are numerous other persons who have claimed to of created the art as well, but the most famous arethe two mentioned. However, the actually age of the Chang sang fang was around 140, there have been many misprints in the west about his age - possible confusion when translating? Legend says that he didn't die but attained such a high level of the ultimate reality of things (tao) that he turned into a pure spirit and flew away! Whether this is true of not, is still reflects some of the highest aims of Taijiquan practice, not that such feats are possible in ones short life.
Oh, and btw the explanation about the movements to open and strengthen the kua was slightly wrong - the directions will make complete sense if you take a step in to horse riding stance first then twist/turn into the right leg, form here my explanation will make more sense. May I say again that when this happens energy is generated in the righthipwhich, when used by the movement of the waist turning, will assist the left leg in being placed forward font of you. This compressing energy is what you should feel in the kua every time you take a step in Taijiquan, this, as I explained, is an important principle of Taijiquan. After a while of correctly practising you should start to feel immensely rooted and strong in the legs. One point to consider is that although you may be tensing the tendons, and synonymously the muscles close to these tendons, you should not let the physical tension pass to the upper half of the body,as this is contradictoryto taijquan principles– the feet should claw the ground like the roots of a tree, the legs should be stable like the trunk of a tree, and the hands should be free to move like the branches of a tree, while this analogy goes some way to illustrate my point, it should be noted that this is a basic principles of Taijiquan - adhering to the innate Yin Yang principles of the art[/b]. The upper half of the body (the torso, hands and head) should be pliable, yet not floppy, but strong with Peng isalways present, conversely, the lower half of the body (the hips, legs and feet) should be firm and stable with power and poise (i.e. correct alignment ect). Follow this point carefully, because if not headed it can impair you upper body movements when trying to perform lower body exercises like developing the kua. The upper body movement, most noticeable in the arms, will look mechanic and jittery.
Cheers all, Pete

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