The habit of a lifetime.

Posted Sat Jun 09, 2007, 08:20 AM by Tracy

The other day Sifu says to me:

Your feet are pointing out.


Your feet are pointing out. They’re not straight.

I adjust my feet so they point straight ahead instead of at 30° angles. I think.

Your right foot is still pointing out.

I look down. Well, if Sifu says so, I guess it is. I adjust my right foot a little inward.

Now you’re straight.

Funny, I thought I was straight all along « double entendré alert! »

I’ve always stood with my feet pointing slightly outward. My friends used to say I was “out-toed.”

Everybody stands like that. It’s the big muscles of your legs pulling. Stand with your feet straight. It’s better for your knees and ankles.

Now Sifu has my attention. I tore major ligaments in my right knee years ago and I’m pretty sure I had some minor damage to the left knee not too long ago, though I didn’t see the doctor. Most recently I ripped up my right ankle and I’m still hobbling a bit.

Now I am constantly looking down at my feet and adjusting. It feels weird, like they’re pointing in, when they’re actually pointing straight. It puts a little pressure on the knees and ankles, forcing them to actually do some work. It means breaking the habit of a lifetime.

It’s everybody’s habit of a lifetime.


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About Mo Duk Pai

Mo Duk Pai kung fu is a modern American eclectic system of martial arts, combining hard- and soft-style techniques Mo Duk Pai, which translates to “Martial Ethical Way”, was founded by Professor Frederick D. King. For more information, to see photos or inquire about training, visit the Mo Duk Pai web site, which I also maintain. I have been training since 1996 and currently hold the rank of brown-black sash.


Sifu (pr. see-foo [Cantonese] or shur-foo [Mandarin]) is a Chinese term for Teacher. It also carries the connotation of Father (teacher-father), referring to a tradition of teaching martial arts within the family, as well as being a title of respect. In America the title sifu is given to both men and women. In Mo Duk Pai the title is awarded to 2nd degree black belts at their teacher’s discretion.


Qigong (pr. chee-gung) is the practice of Chinese exercises incorporating movement and posture, breathing and visualization. Qigong exercises focus on maintaining health by energizing and balancing one’s qi, or energy.