The 3 most important qualities of Tai Chi Root.

2 - 3 times your body height and at least as wide as your body is the starting place for root in Tai Chi. Make this a priority if you haven't gotten this far yet.

1 Depth

In my last post, I mentioned that to be effective, your root has to be at least 6 to 20 feet down into the ground.

In the beginning 20 feet may seem really deep. For many people, dropping a root of 20 feet would be quite a challenge, but in reality, this is only a good starting point.

You can develop a 50, 500, 1,000 feet or deeper and you should continually work on developing a deeper root.

However root depth alone isn’t enough.

2 Thickness

The thickness of your root is also very important.

First make sure your root is as wide as your body. This is your starting point. Then work on expanding your root and building as much width as you can.

A good goal to aim for is the ability to stand in a room full of people and drop your root below them and then expand it to the width of the room. This will make it difficult for anyone in the room to root below you. You can see the effects of this in some of the videos of Ma Yeuh Liang pushing hands.

3 Responsiveness

People who first begin learning to drop root can, with a bit of practice, get to where they can have a solid root when nobody is pushing them. But the moment they are touched by an opponent, their root pops right back up to the surface.

Training your body and mind to keep your root down when an opponent is trying to bring it up is one of the early exercises for learning to manipulate root. Then begin learning to move it anywhere, learn to hide it, to dissolve it and much more.

Learning to manipulate your root is critical Tai Chi skill and if you cannot manipulate your own root you will never be able to manipulate someone else’s root.

Other Martial Uses for Root

Dropping root also builds energy for the practitioner. Some people are afraid that when they drop root, they are losing energy.

In reality, just the opposite is taking place.

Dropping root builds your own energy. If you know how to drop your root, you can have a reservoir of energy available to you.

Once you can drop root to at least 20 feet at a thickness as wide as your body, you can learn to bring that energy up into your body. This creates a situation where your body can feel very solid like iron to an opponent.

If someone runs into you or hits you, it feels like hitting a wall. To you, It will feel like other people have no substance at all.

This also works on the offensive side as well. When you strike someone, it can feel to them like you are hitting them with a crowbar. Even if you don’t hit them very hard. This leads to some of the Dim Mak or death touch applications of Tai Chi.

So how do you build these qualities & skills?

There are many different games and exercises we use to build root and the internal skill to manipulate not only our own root but somebody else’s root as well.

I’ll talk about some other rooting exercises in upcoming posts.

But the fastest most efficient method I’ve found for building root and the internal skill to use it is our internal push hands method. So click here to learn the basic method for free and until next time practice practice practice.

Your legs will be sore tomorrow but the rewards are well worth the effort.

Photo by: Steve Garry


  1. Thomas C Brecht says

    I ordered one of your books about a year ago. It has been very helpful in increasing my understanding of Chi. The wall squat exercise has been very helpful. I am 63 years old and understandably more interested in the health benefits of Qui Gong and Tai Chi as opposed to the martial arts aspects other than some simple self protection techniques. I am certainly enjoying the emails your are sending me. I hope that at some time in the future to attend one of your Seminars. I live in northern Alabama and your Center is in driving distance. Please put me on the list to alert me of your Seminars.

    Keep up the good work,
    Tom Brecht

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