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The Turtle

Emblem for the Earth Method of Internal Martial Art Practice

How to Perform the Posture

Walking heel-to-toe seems natural enough, but that old enemy of sitting too much, can really interfere with your ability to put one foot in front of the other. The Turtle is a supplemental exercise for your taijiquan practice. It focuses on the feet and reminds you that the body generates internal power from the ground up.

Lie flat on your stomach in Wuji Posture alignments with your arms comfortably over your head. Turn your head to the left, so the right cheek and ear are against the floor.

Lift the left foot onto its toes by bending at the ankle. Continue bending at the ankle so you can press against the floor with all the toes of the left foot. Breathe in deeply before continuing.

The Turtle preparation position for the left foot.

Breathe out as you press against the floor with your toes and bend the ankle of the left foot as if you were going to take a natural step. The left knee and hip will rise off the floor as you push. Some toes of the left foot may come off the floor as well. That is fine, but try to complete the push with all the toes in contact with the floor.

The Turtle pushing against the floor with the toes.

Breathe in as you relax from the push and allow the ankle and toes to settle back into the starting posture. The left knee and hip should fall back on the floor.

A back view of the Turtle with the left foot engaged.

Try to keep the right side relaxed as you repeat the entire movement ten times.

When you finish with the left side, repeat the movement on the right side. Turn your head to the right, curl the toes of the right foot under while lifting the foot at the ankle.

Preparation posture for the right Turtle.

Breathe out as you press against the floor with your toes and bend the ankle of the right foot as if you were going to take a natural step. The right knee and hip will rise off the floor as you push. Again, try to complete the push with all the toes in contact with the floor.

The Turtle right posture.

This exercise is like traditional toe lifts done in a standing posture, but you are focusing on one leg. The lift of the hip and knee that occurs during the push, reminds you that the body connects the foot to the torso through the knee and hip.

If this exercise is too strenuous, then traditional toe lifts are fine.

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