Marleen from South Africa:
“This is probably a question you have been asked many times, but I hope you will have time to explain it again. Why do so many Tai Chi students land up with sore knees?”
Thank you for your question, Marleen. There are as many reasons for knees to go bad in the practice of Tai Chi as there are practitioners with bad knees.
Some of the more common reasons are a tilting the front knee inwards in the postures instead of keeping it vertical. Another is letting the back knee hang too low, too soon.
Some people have weak knees and they should consult a physician and use a knee brace.
These problems can be addressed in several ways. First, consult a physician and see if you have any structural problem that may need surgery.
If not, then you can do one or more of several things. You might try a knee brace. You also should definitely take higher stances. if your teacher wants to correct you lower, you need to stop him/her and tell him/her of your problem. Do not take correction blindly, but always in the context in which it is given, including if you think you will hurt your self taking the corrections.
While pain is not a good thing, it has been said that pain in a muscle is good and pain in a joint is not. So even those advocating pain, know that you are weakening a joint when you hurt it, even if it is possible that you are strengthening a muscle when you hurt it.
Please be careful in your practice and try not to hurt anything, or anyone.
In Tai Chi,