protecting knees in san ti

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    I have restarted my standing
    previously I was twisting too much and I think i was injuring my knee.

    I had gotten to about ten minutes each side
    but because I was turning so much to keep everything (three tips) aligned I believe my hips and knees were over extending.

    should I make the alignment of the knee over the toe on the rear leg
    be the paramount alignment
    and subject the other alignments to the hierarchy of the knee toe alignment.?



    I’m sure Sifu Frantzis and the Energy arts team are busy trying to put everything in order for us, so I figured I’d try to contribute to the discussion until they are able to give a proper response.

    In the first video, Pi Chuan and Santi, Bruce says ”Thou shalt not kill your knees.” The way I see it at the moment, is keep a higher stance to begin with. I find that in my own personal training, due to a previous background in karate, I tend to try to keep a wider, lower stance, which ends up straining my knee quite a bit. So, in an effort to empty out my karate cup, and fill it with Hsing I, I’ve started re-learning my stances, just like you are. I find that when I focus on transferring the weight through the knee to the foot, a higher stance with my knee right in line with my toes, rather than over them, helps with this transfer. Over time, gradually sink further as your knees are conditioned from standing.

    Every time I practice Santi, I go into the stance, and then I kind of mentally go through checking my form. Am I relaxed? Am I sinking? Am I back weighted? How much pressure is on my knee? Is my waist turned proper? etc etc. I feel like this is helpful for starting out. I hope to get to the point where I am able to take a proper stance without too much adjusting.

    Anyway, anything I suggest is just my basic understanding from a beginner standpoint, and from watching Sifu Frantzis’ videos, so I would love it if someone more experienced in this art would correct me if I’m wrong.




    Hi Steven,

    I’ve had some knee pain issues in the past, and so this has been a big focus for me in returning to standing practice.

    The primary things I’ve learned that helped are:

    1. Don’t over-analyse your alignments… this got me so involved in the mind game that I wasn’t paying attention to what was actually going on internally (which meant that I stood a lot with blockages at my knees, creating a chronic problem over time).

    2. Do focus on the feelings in your feet. I know I’m “doing it right” when I can feel the undersides of my feet very palpably, pushing against the ground – the same feeling as if you’re pushing on something heavy with your hands. Just as putting tension in your elbows doesn’t help with the goal of pushing, tension in your knee joints also blocks the energy flow. I find you can easily feel if I’m tensing around my knees or not… and to release that feeling, I focus on the feeling of letting all the weight be “pushed” against the ground under my feet.

    3. Since I had developed chronic tension around my knee joints, it was difficult to “just practice the right way” for a while. I learned some basic yoga stretches that deliberately create space behind the knee joint; this definitely helped, although I find I need these less and less now. The most beneficial two stretches I found were:
    a. Forward bend from the waist, allowing your hands to fall towards the floor. Very importantly, you want to find a way in your leg muscles to “pull the knee cap up your leg”. You can see the knee cap lift up vertically when you do it right, and you will find you need to concentrate on holding it up (otherwise it will go back down fairly quickly).
    b. “Downward facing dog” (google/youtube it – it’s a very common pose).

    Of all the above, for me #2 was the really crucial realisation. I think Bruce calls this “opening the energy gates” (a book that I’ve ordered, but not read). Intuitively, I feel I understand the concept pretty well from this experience, as whenever I feel the tension in my knees now, I think to myself “open and drop the energy” and I feel a pronounced shift down to my feet.

    Best of luck with your practice!



    thanks a lot

    I found another trick to getting my knees right

    Stand 100% back weighted you can no gradually move to any weight distribution you like.

    this forces your knee into perfect alignment.


    Hello. One of the things i do is make these micro shifts in weight. in all directions until you find that the tension in your knees / leg / hips / foot / … is gone.

    As an example: left and right. you shift your weight left until you know it’s not right then you gradually shift back to the right until you you get to the spot where your weight is balanced. I would then rock to the right a bit more, and then back until that sweet spot is very clear.
    Next might be to correct your left knee. you bow your knee out ward away from your centre line until you feel the tension in your knee, then you gradually straighten it out until the tension goes. Then you rock to the right and left again until you get a very clear idea where that sweet spot is where there is no tension.

    I find that doing this rocking helps overcome any habits you have for standing improperly. Remember the ideal state is NO tension. It’s like your legs are filled with chi and thats what is holding you up.

    Hope that helps, and adds another useful perspective!

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