Sunday, June 14, 2009

Keys for Developing the Inguinal Crease, aka Kua, with Wujifa Side to Side Practice

Wujifa "Side to Side" practices are a basic element to understanding the Kua (inguinal creases), and in that regard, many say elegant in their simplicity. There have been many good questions, some asking for help, and others for more information about these recent Youtube videos that we've posted.

Those videos show people at different levels of proficiency, from newer people, to those who have practiced Wujifa for a while now. On that note, we post the following, about this simple yet enlightening skill set and the Wujifa practice called "Side to Side."

"Keys for Developing the Inguinal Crease, aka Kua, with Wujifa Side to Side Practice"

The first question you may find yourself asking is what would be the advantage of doing a side to side practice, like in the recent Wujifa “Side to Side” short video? Because it will help you develop the crucial region of the body known as the Inguinal Crease, or kua, which is key. This area needs to move correctly during grounded full body movement. If not you could find yourself spending years trying to understand this with more complicated practices or discover that you’re not making as much progress as you’d like with so many things to focus on.

What if you never heard of… practical or useful practices, for example, like that of the Wujifa system of side to side? Could you imagine practicing for years and years or spending hours upon hours with those possibilities trying to discover more useful keys toward full body movement?

Over time, people have come up with so many different methods to working with the hips or kua, such as Yoga, massage, physical manipulation, and a multitude of qigongs and internal martial arts. It’s funny how, over the years, so many people are not developing the internal or full body movements that they were so actively working toward discovering. It’s unfortunate that some people, even after years of practicing these other methods, still seem confused about these things and the type of movement they are looking for.

YouTube link to this video: for those who have iPhones or enjoy YouTube formats.

The process of side to side allows a very specific focus to guide people in making progress towards understanding the inguinal creases which is so very helpful in deeper discoveries of full-body movement and practice.

First, it is necessary to keep the principles learned in Zhan Zhuang (Standing Practice). Keep the back aligned and maintain body structure while sliding weight from one leg to the other. When done properly, it will feel heavy just like in stance. If things seem too heavy, feel free to move to a higher position to be more comfortable. At first when one begins this kind of practice, you start simply by noticing that one inguinal crease is closing as the other opens. Then, as your skill becomes more refined, shifting to one side, you might notice the kua is closing on a 45 degree angle, yet opening or stretching vertically. At the same time, as the opposite kua is opening it is also actually closing and stretching horizontally, when looked at from a slightly deeper level. As is often the case In Wujifa, doing the exercise is necessary to understanding.

At a deeper level of complexity, there are multiple openings and closings happening at the same time, on different vectors throughout the length of each kua. In fact, through the entire length of the inguinal crease, there are any number of vectors we could notice both in opening or closing in the exact same physical crease on different planes at any point in time. One simple example was the vertical or horizontal axis. As one learns more they discover intention plays a big role throughout this simple extension of our Zhan Zhuang (or as we call it Wujifa Standing practice) and side to side.

As one first starts they may notice that one Kua or inguinal crease simply opens and closes. As another level of understanding develops, depending on which vector you look at, the Kua or inguinal crease is both open or closed as I touched on earlier.

Growth has a process and there are many levels. What was once understood as one way develops and changes. Then as you continue training or practicing this gongfu you understand more deeply how alive the movement is and that vectors in a open or closed Kua are more like a "twining" which is felt in more than just the hip area (you can see the parts of the video where the one of the practitioners is twisting his hands together during movement to illustrate this feeling).

Stand up right now. Find your grounding in Zhan Zhuang (Read: The Concept of "Sit Down" in Wujifa Standing , or check back as we will be posting many more helpful articles on these topics), and try sliding gently from side to side if you can. Just relax and notice these basic openings and closings happening in your kua (don’t push it). Over the next weeks and months of practice you can start to notice and develop more key insights to these deeper levels of understanding of development through doing this practice. Along with this understanding, the fascia of your inguinal crease will also develop as your awareness grows in making these new connections.

What if you were to make this part of your daily practice? Can you picture how you would benefit with this seemingly simple yet deep practice as you develop your kua, and move towards a more grounded full body movement? If you do the exercise, you will be able to enjoy the progress you will make in the coming weeks and months. As you continue practicing and learning, check back here. Our goal is to share hopefully useful Wujifa practices that make what might seem more complicated easier to understand. The key is in the doing. Remember to check back often and we will post more keys to internal movement and more videos. Also, ask questions and comment. Feel free to contact us!

As with any exercise, make sure you are in good enough physical health before attempting this. Ask a doctor if in doubt.

Also check out: More on Zhan Zhang and Movement
Also check out: Basic Tips for Zhan Zhang and the pelvis
Also check out: The Kua More Methods For Developing The Inguinal Crease


  1. Brilliant post and video! I do a similar exercise as part of my warmup routine. Not identical, but close enough to incorporate many of your ideas. I can also see this helping out no end with my silk reeling and Taiji in general, so thanks a lot!

  2. Yeah, the video turned out nice. After practicing this for 6 years, i see what you mean by the aliveness in the movements, the twining, the opening and closing. It seems so simple to the uninitiated, heh. But the depth is limitless. And the levels of understanding seem to be limitless. Practicing this seems like a new experience every day.

  3. This practice rocks! I am adding it back into my daily training. It has limitless ramifications for full body movement, the discovery of peng, and internal power as well.

    Sometimes the simplist looking practices are the deepest. This is one such practice.

  4. Thank you for this enlightening practice! I am studying Taiji, and my teacher has us do an almost identical practice to "side to side". You're explanation of the practice is very helpful.

  5. Thanks Alex ... feel free if you have any other questions and I'll try to answer it quickly here or on twitter @wujifa

  6. aerospace_ged@hotmail.comDecember 4, 2009 at 8:34 AM

    Wow, Gottta say, this is an amazing resource when learning Zhan Zhuang and Wuji. Cheers guys!!

  7. This is very nice. I study Huang style TaiJi, a derivative of Chen Man Ching's Yang style, and we have an exercise called First Loosening which is similar. I learned a lot from this video, thanks for sharing your learnings with us.

  8. A great explaination of developing the awareness of the Inguinal Crease, aka Kua. Something that has eluded me for quite sometime, since the inclass explaination seemed so vague. Keep up this great work and post

  9. Thanks so much for sharing this! I’m learning Chen Taiji and I tried this out as I’m looking for something to open up my kua. My buttocks really feel a strain when I keep my knees in position.

    Can you elaborate a bit more on how to actually move side to side?

    What I’m doing at the moment is pushing off the ground with one foot.