Alignment with Flat Feet

Home Forums Archive The Five Keys to Taoist Energy Arts Week 2 Alignment with Flat Feet

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    Hi Paul,

    I have very very flat feet – no arch at all. This has been true all my life. As a result, if I point my feet forward, my knees turn in at about 30 degrees. If I align my knees straight ahead, my feet point outward at about at 30-40 degree angle. I assume from what you have said to the other gentleman in this forum, that the proper approach would be to allow my feet to point outwards for now, since any attempt keep both knees and feet aligned properly induces strain. But here is where I am a bit unclear -should I let the feet point outward completely, or engage them at least a bit toward the “norm”, which might cause a small amount of tension, but which could also be ultimately more helpful? In other words, no strain or some strain?

    Thanks in advance,

    Rob Mayer


    Rob, Thank you for your clearly written question. The more
    precise the question, the more precise I can be with my answer!

    You mention that you’ve had flat fleet for your whole life. Therefore,
    to deal with this issue, you must progress very slowly and incrementally,
    otherwise you could cause yourself severe problems.

    Your assumption is correct, you begin with your knees
    forward and your feet pointing outwards at whatever angle is natural for you.
    Then, you bring your feet in very slightly, which will cause some tension as
    aligning your legs and pointing your feet forward will engage the bound tissues
    in your legs. Although some degree of tension is necessary to a) work towards
    the ideal and b) access and release those bound tissues, you want to keep it to
    a minimum and proceed slowly, over time.

    In each practice session, after you’ve made the adjustments
    to your legs (engaging some degree of tension), then you would stand and sink
    your qi all the way down into the ground. Later, you will want to dissolve,
    which can help clear the tension from your body once and for all.

    Of course, using your corrective sandals with built-in arch
    support would be appropriate in your situation. Without them, your legs will likely
    destabilise. The use of corrective footwear is appropriate for those
    who have more acute or long-term issues.

    If you’re interested in the full correction of your leg
    alignments, you will require more than this course alone. I would recommend working with the highest level instructor you can find who can offer hands-on
    corrections and potentially some bodywork sessions to support your progress. I
    would be glad to see you in Europe to help you with either one or both of these
    options. Or, if you’re in the US, it would be worth your time and effort to
    seek out Bill Ryan, whom I’m absolutely confident could get you on the road.

    Good luck!



    Thank you for the explanation. For now, I think I will focus on making the small changes, and perhaps down the road I will consider engaging a senior instructor.

    My question, as it turns out, has kind of a followup. Now that I am paying more attention to how my feet are aligned, I am a bit confused on one small issue in regard to the kwa squat. I was under the impression that in the standing position we are supposed to have our weight evenly distributed from the front to the back of our feet, heel to ball of the foot. But in your video, you emphasize ending up on the balls of our feet. Is that a temporary compensation, to be followed by a subtle sinking back into a balanced, ball and heel, position? Or have I had it wrong all these years and the proper standing position is truly more more grounded toward the ball of the foot?




    Yes, you are correct that, in the standing position, your weight is evenly distributed between the front and back of your feet. The kwa squat, however, is a different animal. When you close your kwa, your weight will naturally go to your heels. When you open your kwa, your weight goes all the way to the ball of your feet to prevent you from bringing your knees back and disconnecting your kwa. When you actively open your kwa, the weight goes to the ball of the feet. When you stand in your passive open, your weight will run through the centre of the arch of your feet.


    Hi Paul,

    1. My son (11yo) has completely collapsed arches;

    2. His knees track directly over the center of his feet even though both feet and knees splay outward (his normal, resting position);

    3. If I ask him to make both feet parallel, the knees, although under strain, still track with his feet;

    4. Whether in the resting or parallel positions, his dang completely closes like a vice (no daylight at all);

    5. I believe the issue is in the hips, but, IDK for certain nor the remedy.

    My questions are have you seen this before and, what solutions come to mind?



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