I have heard this a dozen ways from a hundred masters. “If your stances are no good, your art is no good.”
Winter is flexing its claws and preparing to dig in to northern Minnesota, USA. While we will train outside because… mudo, training indoors will be much warmer most of the time! Stances are great to practice indoors, with or without a training sword!
Our dojang’s focus for the next three months is going to be on physical conditioning and stances. We’ve had a lot of injuries the past three months, and I want to prevent more. We do that by building our phsyical flexibility and strength. We’re going to be making sure that our stances are technically correct, because not only do good stances look pretty but they move better and result in less stress to your joints. Finally, as our three 1-gups prepare for their chodan tests, the stances are the foundation on which all the other techniques depend.
It’s very difficult to balance in a good crane stance with your knee pointing out and not in. If your knees and toes aren’t aimed in pretty much the same direction for your horse stance or short stances, you’re going to put a lot more stress on the joints. Remember that your leg and core muscles don’t just move your joints around, they are also a protective sheathe for your joints. The stronger your leg muscles are the better off you’re going to be.
My challenge to myself is to work harder on my stances than any of my students, despite my physical limitations. The harder they see me work, the more they will be motivated to work, or the less excuse they’ll have when I tell them how to fix things.
So it’s time to get in your horse stance, twinkle-toes. The real push has just begun!