Are you sure you’re doing your tai chi moves as best as possible? Proper twine steps will load a tremendous amount of energy into your kua. You can use that energy for effortless and speedy change of direction, invigorating and powerful tai chi kicks, or just absorb it into your body to enhance your qi. But do it wrong and all that energy from the twine stance gets jammed in your knee joints – where it doesn’t belong. Remember too, that if your twine stance feels cumbersome and “too rooted” (yes there is such a thing!), then you may need to make that stance narrower. Tip: Just pull the back, empty leg in at the end of the twine step/stance. I guarantee you that you will notice a better difference! Taijiquan is not a cookie cutter practice – it’s OK to go narrower or wider than your teacher. Just maintain structural tai chi principles. 🙂
Here’s a free online tai chi video lesson that goes over the intricacies of this tai chi footwork:
Excellent explanation of the twine step. The “tip” should help a lot of people.
How does this step differ from the bagua step?
In some ways, it is similar. But it all depends on usage and your particular lineage of bagua. You’d have to talk with your teacher about that, as each style and applications are all so different.