Somehow the first thing that seems to disappear when a style goes full-contact is traditional stances.
Yes- I also know the story where Bruce Lee punched the martial arts master and told him that he does not pull or push. Some of you may have seen that as a master's blessing to let go of an odious part of your training.
Well- fact is: MMA has taught us that punching and kicking only gets you so far. (I am still not a fan of MMA, but you can learn a great deal from watching MMA fights.) Further I trust that many will agree with me that the adversary that is probably going to test your self defence skills is not necessarily going to be in your weight class. Further- not all attackers punch, kick or swing a weapon at you. Many will push, grab and maybe even pick you up.
In my post on footwork I have already touched on the subject on how stances help us move faster in a fight. What else do stances do for us?
1. First of all- proper stance gives techniques power. They enable us to hit harder and to push and pull our opponents- even if they are heavier than us.
2. Then they also reduce the amount of targets available.
3. They provide secure footing- whether it be on a slippery surface or an uneven one.
4. Lastly (or last I can think of now) they assist the proper channelling of qi into techniques.
Okay- I admit that not all these benefits (if any) are obvious benefits of using traditional stances, but that is because stance training to me goes beyond knowing the Japanese/ Chinese/ Korean name of the stance and making sure your toes point the right way.
You have to practice the stance with the job it has to do in mind. Whether it be moving forward, sideways or back, punching, throwing, escaping a hold or something that I cannot think of you have to be sure that you will get the job done.
Many of you already practice a martial art and have been taught the proper way to perform these stances. I do not feel the need to elaborate thereon here. If anyone reading this blog is not studying any martial arts yet, but is nevertheless curious about the difference a stance can make they can message Marthinus Boshoff on Facebook or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
O! I remembered one more benefit! Stance training strengthens the legs!