How to stand for maximum results.

(photo: rosiehardy)

The proper stance is your platform and structure for optimal performance; there are 10 basic stances that provide a physiological means of responding to a variety of situations we may have to face.

In the Martial Science, we use a set of ten stances to teach an overall concept of good fighting positions. One of these is called the combat stance. It simulates the position you form when confronted by an assailant.

Many stances were developed from the movements and attitude of animals, such as the cat and horse stance. This is especially true in the Chinese martial arts. This is also how we first began to develop many of our strikes and kicks, by emulating animals.

Maybe you have heard of snake, monkey, dragon, crane, or tiger strikes, stances, or movements. But what exactly is the purpose of a stance?

A proper, balanced stance is required to perform well in any physical sport – tennis, baseball, football, etc. You would never see a tennis player on the court in a casual stance, his racket propped on his shoulder, his head down, standing on one foot. No matter how in shape this player might be, he could never reach the ball from such a stance. Instead, he will stand facing his opponent, racket balanced and ready for a back or forehand serve, his feet planted, ready to move left or right.

It is just as important to know the best stance to take during a situation which requires self-protection. If you want to be mobile and quick, it is important to get into a “fighting” stance where you will be light on your feet and emulate the moves of our tennis player or a boxer. If you want to have stability, then it is wise to use the “power” stance. The situation will determine the exact stance.

In my seminars I teach that simplicity is the key to complexity. I do this by sharing my philosophy that to get to Complex City you can follow a short cut through Simple City. This means that if you take any complex technique (such as a fast paced choreographed fight scene) and break it down into very small parts, you will discover that these individual parts are not complex at all. Think of dancing and how it is a combination or series of very simple steps. This is what achieving combined excellence is focused on.

Many students find stances boring and repetitious or perhaps even too basic. It is true that they are basic, and this is why they are so important. Basics supply us with the foundation on which to stand. Stances, like states of mind, are often overlooked as minor principles. Yet it is the utilization of these simple principles that allows us to perform complex procedures instantly, without having to give it a lot of thought.

States of mind are very normal. At any given time you are in a specific state of mind, which is why we can easily take our state of mind for granted, as well as how we might allow external situations or circumstances to control how we feel or react in that moment.

Every Stance is an Attitude

If you want to have or trigger a specific feeling or attitude, you change your stance. Remember, stances are nothing more than a physiological change linked to a specific state of mind. Change your physiology and you change your attitude along with it. Thus, we can use stances to determine our states. What state of mind do you want?

We all know that when someone is depressed, they change their physiology to match their emotional outlook. The body copies the mind. The same rule applies when someone is happy and enthusiastic. Have you ever seen a joyous, motivated person with his head down, shoulders slumped, uttering a barely audible, “I can do it”? It is totally incongruent and nearly impossible to succeed in this way. Our mind and body are linked; if you change one, you will change the other. This is how we use our stances. If we want a feeling of power, then we stand in a power stance. It is much faster to change your physiology than to meditate over your emotions, especially in a combat situation. Can you imagine asking your opponent to wait a minute while you mentally prepare for the situation? With a stance, you don’t have to think about it. It is an automatic reaction. And when you change your stance, your emotional state – your mind-set – changes accordingly.

In the Martial Science, the stances are very important. Different postures are associated with different mind-sets or feelings. The same is true in our life. Using the recipe theory, anything we create simply takes a few ingredients. For example, to bake ourselves the energized state, we throw in a little rapid breathing, straight postures, high heads, quick movements, and exuberant thoughts. Or simply drop into a stance that contains these elements. Once we know this technique, we can begin to build our physiological arsenal. By having ten different stances, each with a given attitude and purpose, you will have enough postures to adapt to almost any situation.

Stances used in the Martial Science:

  • Horse
  • Cat
  • Defensive
  • Fighting
  • Power
  • Classical
  • Bow
  • Reacting
  • Blade
  • Combat

Winjitsu Work Out

If you are a Martial Art student and you have learned these stances, now is a good time to do a quick review. As you perform the stances, think about how your mental attitude changes with each stance and reflects its purpose.

If you are not a student, or are perhaps just beginning, research these stances to see how they look and anticipate what you will be learning. Think about how you think your attitude will change with these stances and what they will mean for your abilities to meet challenges.

About the Author RICK TEW

I will do the splits for you too. I provide edutainment events that help you to be a Ninja in what you do. I offer Martial Arts Therapy Retreats on Samui Island in Thailand. My unique Winjitsu Mind-Body system of coaching inspires you to BE more fulfilled and to DO more to KickStart your ideas.

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