Advantage running: the science of running using the art of Chi
by Gordon de Souza
to run might seem easy. And running pain free for the newbie or the
veteran can be a miracle of sorts.
we were born to run free, we don’t. Our ‘seated’ lifestyle glued to
the TV and computer screens have kept us far from our roots. But for those
who have inadvertently or suddenly found out the pure joys of running and
the space and freedom it brings, well, congratulations!
is it as easy as putting on a pair of shoes and run as far as you want?
Yes itis…and no, if you’re considering the physical state you’re in
if you’re a beginner.
not run proper right from the beginning? Why not use Chi running®?
I first saw Taiji Quan coach Master Rennie Chong at his training centre in
Toa Payoh sports hall with his uniform line of people moving in unison and
most importantly in slow motion, I could not relate running to Tai Chi.
The hall was very cold. The students looked very relaxed. Hey, paying a
hundred bucks a month, moving that slow in a cool environment as a
recreational sport cannot possibly give anyone a good workout.
waited until Master Chong went through some of the Taiji Quan moves before
I went to the 68-year-old man who was sweating to his arms; strange for a
man moving so slow.
we spoke on chi-running and how Taiji Quan relates to the laws of physics,
physiology and martial arts, like centre of gravity, core muscle groups,
and explosive punches, I was still wondering why this man was still
pouring out sweat. He immediately answered my question.
let’s find your chi,” he said.
was taken aback. How did he know I had a chi? Anyway, what’s a chi?
leg in front and leverage with your right behind. Find your centre in your
upper chest. Put out your hand and bend your elbow. Focus on your centre
and hold me back,” said Master Chong.
pushed me hard, I concentrated and stood my ground like a rock. My
positioning made it easy to hold him off without any muscular effort. But
within seconds beads of sweat started to form on my brow. I could feel the
heat building up inside my body. As he released the pressure. I felt as if
my arm had just been through a weight training routine, but overall
really all about science and physics. It’s about understanding how
physics is working on the body and capitalising on it” said Master
the weight of this discovery, I found a source of where the power of Taiji
Quan assimilated with running techniques to produce optimal and
Dreyer author of the book Chi Running: A Revolutionary Approach to
Effortless, Injury-free Running is the kind of guy who does what he
writes. An ultra marathoner Dreyer’s work on Chi running® is based on
his study of Tai Chi with Master Zhu Xilin and internationally renowned
Master George Xu.
programme teaches people bio-mechanically correct running form that’s in
line with the laws of physician relation with the ancient principles of
movement found in Tai Chi.Chi Running® technique is based on the same
principles and orientation as Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi: working with
core muscles; integrating mind and body; and focusing on overall and long
term performance and well-being.
a nutshell, Chi Running® is about levelling the pelvis, because that is
how we engage the deep muscles of the abdomen and create a strong core,
around which everything else can flow freely. A functional core is
the centre of Chi Running®. It allows your body to be supported by its
structure rather than muscles. Add to this a lean, which allows you to use
gravity to draw you forward. With gravity doing the work, one does
not need to use hamstrings to pull one forward. An engaged core
takes pressure off your lower back, keeps your hips from rocking side to
side, and keeps your upper body properly aligned with your lower body.
Running® – Getting Started
we begin we must understand we are using the philosophy of the most
ancient form of martial art, dating back 2,500 years. We must also
understand we are not dealing with verbal mumbo-jumbo but pure physics
that claim to improve running technique and impede injury.
Cotton and Steel: Gather your centre
the main principles of Tai Chi, it means concentration of the chi energy
to your body, while your hands and legs are as soft as cotton, holding no
tension. According to Tai Chi your centre or dantian is located just below
your navel and in front of your spine. It may sound like an irony, but the
less you use your legs and more into the dantian, you will find fluidity
in your gait, which gets you moving with less fuel and more efficiently.
running is physics and not magic at work. Strict obedience to the laws of
physical science and human physiology in the sense of muscle growth and
physical conditioning is a must. Chi running is a very exciting way of
running well but it must be paced to suit your physical state. Most
The Pyramid : The Small Is Supported By The Large
about it. When we run, we pump our legs using the calves, which is the
smaller when compared to the quads. After 2 hours it, we can see shin
splints as a common result. In Chi Running you will concentrate using your
pso as muscles, hips and down to your quads. That’s like using your core
and your strongest muscles doing the work, instead of ignoring the natural
law of physics by having the small supporting the large.
Balance In Motion: Equal Balance And Complementary Balance
principles of yin/yang represent a huge part in Chi running. Just as in
the symbol for yin/yang, where one side gets larger and the other gives
in, as in muscular expansion and contraction, chi running is about
Chi running as in Tai Chi, balance happens in 6directions: left to right,
up to down, and front and back. So when you run forward Chi running style,
we need to look at the complementing move to the rear. Another area of
imbalance that can be address is how we alienate the rest of our bodies
and engage only our legs to propel us forward. An interesting parallel
would be that of a cheetah running, where every fibre of muscle is fired
in unison, from the neck through its tail.
the principles of Chi running is the cornerstone that leads to the
learning about the pillars of Chi running form which is posture, lean and
relaxed lower legs. These are also the pillars of injury prevention as how
you hold your bod yand how your foot land is very important in reducing or
stopping the source of pain.
I watched Master Chong’s students move to the 37-step Yang Style Taiji
Quan, Professor Hang from the National University of Singapore’s
Electrical Engineering Department, came up to me, also dripping in sweat
in the cold hall. An avid sportsman, and now mostly a golfer, Prof. Hang
spoke of how the paradox of relaxed muscles being more efficient and how
many of the sporting greats like Tiger Woods have found the sublime
techniques of using core muscles and finding their own chi in their own
I watched the good professor rejoin the band of Tai Chi students, many of
who have been there easily 4 years, I realised that Master Rennie Chong
and Professor Hang never did show me any of the running techniques.
an indication that they were not specialist in the actual Chi Running
techniques, which leads on the question – Being a nation that respects
the pragmatism of western science as well as eastern alternative medicine
and philosophy, would
Advantage running: the science of running using the art of Chi © 2008 Gordon de Souza