The stepping methods (Bu Fa) of every style of taijiquan involves the raising, lowering shifting, opening and closing actions. Sadly when you see many individuals performing the Li Style Taijiquan to many simply rock their bodyweight from one leg to the other without even lifting the foot off the ground, others lift the foot, but from the hip joint, keeping the leg straight without bending the at the knee joint. Many have become very lazy in their stepping methods which means that they have stopped themselves from improving their leg strength, which in-turn will benefit their ability to maintain a better sense of balance.
It is important that each individual who performs the Li Style Taijiquan Square Yard Form try’s to lift the foot off the ground with the hip and knee joint kept relaxed and bent. How high the individual lifts their foot off the ground is entirely up to themselves, but there must be daylight between the ground and foot and obviously it must be kept as a natural action as possible. The lifting of the foot means that the individual as to place all of their bodyweight onto their supporting leg and th3 slower that they lift the foot off the ground the more the supporting leg works harder in maintaining the balance. Again before the individual lifts the foot off the ground they must make sure to “Shift” the bodyweight onto the supporting leg, this allows the joints in the non-weighted leg to become “Open” making it easier for the whole leg to be lifted.
Once the individual lowers the foot back onto the ground to take a step in any direction. Again it must be performed as slowly as possible, so that the supporting leg is beginning to work really hard. Once the the foot as been “Lowered” back onto the ground the individual then can immediately “Shift” the bodyweight onto that leg “Closing” the joints of the hips, knees and ankles as the bodyweight is placed onto the leg. A big problem with many individuals who practice the Li Style (Lishi) Taijiquan Square Yard Form is that they use to many “Double Weighted Postures” (Shuang Zhong Shi) which makes them become very lazy in their footwork, which will effect their ability to develop strong, fit legs muscles that can support their bodyweight to greatly improve their balance, blood, lymp and Qi circulation throughout the entire body.