Skip to main content
Wuji Posture Featured Image

Wuji Posture

Emblem for the Earth Method of Internal Martial Art Practice

Key Points to a Functional Wuji Posture

Stand up, put your hands at your sides and examine yourself. Is one toe pointing out or one shoulder higher than the other? Does one palm face the front and the other face your side? Your standing posture reflects the disfunction years of inattentiveness has caused. It is time to pay attention to your standing posture, know how your body is functioning today, and take responsibility to create a new milestone for yourself and your ability to stand on your own two feet.

Functional Wuji Posture

The best way I have found to assume a functional Wuji Posture is to stand with my heels together and feet pointing out so that there is a 90-degree angle between them. Once you have this position, turn on your little toes, causing the heels to separate from each other and come to rest under your hips. You should have your feet under your hips; they should be hip width apart. The big toe of each foot should point forward or slightly in.

Spacing the feet in Wuji Posture
Spacing the feet in Wuji Posture.

Your knees should point straight ahead and not rounded in or out. You may find that you need to apply tension along the inside or outside of your thighs to keep the knees pointing forward. As your leg strength improves, you will not need to do this.

The weight should fall along the entire foot and balance between both feet. You can create the correct feeling in your feet by grabbing the floor with your toes. Do not curl your toes under, just hug the floor as though you are trying not to slip. This will create a slight arch in the foot that distributes the weight along the functional parts.

Checking Wuji Posture foot placement.
Check Foot Placement in Wuji Posture.

Since you have been looking at your toes, you need to straighten your torso. You can do this by pulling your tail bone in and up, as if you were clenching something between your buttocks. Check the lower back for an excessive curve by running your hand along the lower spine. It should be mostly flat, however, a lower back arch is normal, and you should not trust any instruction that tries to eliminate it.

Next, you need to pull your head up by pretending you have a string attached to the crown of your skull and someone is pulling up on the string. You can pull your hair up from this point just to reinforce the image. The effect should be that the chin tucks in slightly, and there is a flat line from the shoulder blades to the top of your head. If have pulled your shoulders back correctly, they will be under your ears.

Finally, tighten the posture by really pulling back on the shoulder blades and clenching the buttocks and pushing the hands firmly against the thighs, then relax and stand naturally in this posture.

Tighten Wuji Posture before relaxing.
Standing upright in Wuji Posture.

If your job has you on your feet all day, you are more aware of your posture than you may think. Standing in this posture will reinforce your attention and bring your functional alignments into your awareness.

There is very little that can go wrong by standing in Wuji Posture. Some side effects that you may feel include stiff shoulders and neck (indicating that you need to reinforce your Wuji Posture practice with upper body exercise) tingling in the legs and feet (indicating that you need to walk more) and stiffness in the lower back (indicating that your back is probably holding you up and not your legs). When you feel uncomfortable, walk about for a couple of minutes, then return to Wuji Posture.

The legends say that the old masters would stand in Wuji Posture for hours on end. I recommend standing in Wuji Posture for one to ten minutes, with three to five minutes being ideal. You can mark this time with a clock or by setting a timer, but I prefer to time my practice with my breathing. When you start practice your breaths will be shorter, but as your practice improves, you will regulate your breathing and your breaths will grow longer. In my practice, I determined that I was breathing between 12 and 15 times per minute when I was exercising. I just took the larger number and called that one minute. I figured that as I did a better job of regulating my breathing, my standing practice would naturally become longer. Using your breathing as a guide, stand in Wuji Posture for 15 to 45 breaths.

Leave a Reply

More from the Earth Component

Hurdlers Stretch featured image

Hurdler’s Stretch

This is one of my favorite stretches. Start on your hands and knees as in the Bridge, but put the left foot in front of the right knee, with the heel touching the knee.
Hip Lift featured image.

Hip Lift

When I learned my left leg was one centimeter shorter than my right, the physical therapist recommended this exercise as one way to reengage the hip joint. In mindfulness martial arts, it reminds us that power is generated from the feet and transferred to to the torso, before it can be expressed …
The River Steps Featured Image

The River Steps

The River Steps (a.k.a. Ladder Stepping) provide a method to study the transition of your weight between the insubstantial and substantial legs.