How were you taught to move in stances?

punisher73

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I think the original purpose was to train beginners to move in ONE direction and to get all of their force/power in a linear path for a more powerful strike. For example, going from zenkutsu dachi to zenkutsu dachi (bow/arrow stance). If you are going up and down your energy is not going all in the same direction. It also taught the beginner how to control their own center of gravity in moving.

Later, you can take those principles and apply it to what you want to create with your movement/energy. For example, I may want to "throw" my body in a controlled explosion to gain extra power or reach. I may want to drop my bodyweight into a strike downward to add power.

BUT, I do think that as with many "-do" arts, the performance and appearance became more important than the function.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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There has to be a wait and see stance though, otherwise youd be constantly moving around宇hat would look odd! What sort of wait and see stance do you use?
Honestly, it depends on what I'm doing.

If I'm doing striking or mixed sparring, I'm typically in what I would call a 'fighting stance', but it's pretty fluid. I am constantly moving around (though not particularly quickly), because the way I fight involves a lot of circling I'll go in and out of the stance. It'll also get wider/shorter depending on how the person I'm sparring is fighting.

Back when I fenced, yeah I kept the same stance 90% of the time.

When I'm pure grappling, I don't focus too much on stances so much as trying to get a good grip. I probably should, but I'm not all that good at grappling.

When I do kali/other weapons fighting, the only time you will not see me moving is if I'm actively trying to bait someone. Outside of that, I can't think of a reason I would not be moving around.

On a tangent, you ever see old footage of high grade practitioners fighting, the dont bounce around as you often see in competitions. Isnt the energy used in bouncing around counter the energy saving strategy of keeping ones head level when transitioning between stances? Instead, in Wado Ryu at least, they use this creeping footwork with the toes being contracted and flexed alternately and rotation about the ankles to alter their distance.
Contrary to the above, I actually never liked the bouncing around. In fencing particularly, people did it a lot. It served to use up their energy a bit, and they'd get in patterns with it so I could target the bounce as a good chance to start my attack, knowing where they'd be.

That's actually another possibility for the focus on keeping your head level-an attempt at some point to get people to stop all the dang bouncing!
 

wab25

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In Shotokan, we did the prescribed walking in stance exercises. I find them very helpful and very instructive.

By keeping the head level, and a bit lower than your full height... you learn to articulate your hips in order to walk without rising. When doing the walk at a slow and constant speed, you learn to pull yourself forward with the front foot, while pushing with the back foot. This also forces you to pay attention to where your center of gravity is and how exactly you are moving it.

The low stance, allows you to step longer steps... cover more ground with fewer steps. This does not mean that you always have to take long steps... but it does teach you how to take longer steps, when you need to. When you are sparring, and the other guy has the distance figured out.... its nice to be able to add 6 to 8 inches of your own reach suddenly...

The low stance work is about coordinating your body. You learn to move it as a unit, how to control your center, how to create power by moving your center, how to control that power, how to articulate your hips, how to cover more ground on fewer steps. If you are looking for flexibility or strength... there are better options.
 
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GojuTommy

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Lower your garage door to about waist height. Try to use this move to move your body under and through the garage door. You will find a lot of good benefit from this training.
I really doubt it, and whatever training I do get I can likely get more effectively from another method.
 
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GojuTommy

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There has to be a wait and see stance though, otherwise youd be constantly moving around宇hat would look odd! What sort of wait and see stance do you use?

On a tangent, you ever see old footage of high grade practitioners fighting, the dont bounce around as you often see in competitions. Isnt the energy used in bouncing around counter the energy saving strategy of keeping ones head level when transitioning between stances? Instead, in Wado Ryu at least, they use this creeping footwork with the toes being contracted and flexed alternately and rotation about the ankles to alter their distance.
If you have decent cardio bouncing or some constant small movement really doesnt make much of a difference.
Ive used both bouncy styles and a more rooted styles sparring, never really noticed a difference in energy use.

If you have bad cardio and youre not bouncing youll probably be winded before the first round is over regardless.

Talking about energy in any manner just generally seems to be a red flag to me.
Using energy only has any real meaning when used in the context of calories/body fuel. In which case it should be noted running and walking both use the same number of calories for the same distance.(which shocked me when I found out) either way 1 mile is roughly 100 calories.
So are you really wasting that much energy with a bouncier style of fighting? Probably not. A 5 round 3 minutes per round championship fight probably burns less than 800 calories for example.
 
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GojuTommy

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In Shotokan, we did the prescribed walking in stance exercises. I find them very helpful and very instructive.

By keeping the head level, and a bit lower than your full height... you learn to articulate your hips in order to walk without rising. When doing the walk at a slow and constant speed, you learn to pull yourself forward with the front foot, while pushing with the back foot. This also forces you to pay attention to where your center of gravity is and how exactly you are moving it.

The low stance, allows you to step longer steps... cover more ground with fewer steps. This does not mean that you always have to take long steps... but it does teach you how to take longer steps, when you need to. When you are sparring, and the other guy has the distance figured out.... its nice to be able to add 6 to 8 inches of your own reach suddenly...

The low stance work is about coordinating your body. You learn to move it as a unit, how to control your center, how to create power by moving your center, how to control that power, how to articulate your hips, how to cover more ground on fewer steps. If you are looking for flexibility or strength... there are better options.
Can cover the same distance with my head bobbing up, and if my head remains on the same level when moving I make it much easier for my opponent to punch me in the face. Theres a reason why modern combat sports focus on head movement so much, and walking in a stance like zenkutsu dachi with a bobbing head actually creates a lot of head movement.

As for imparting forces, lifting your heel and pushing off the balls of your rear foot will impart plenty of force as well as extending the range of your punch.
 

wab25

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Can cover the same distance with my head bobbing up, and if my head remains on the same level when moving I make it much easier for my opponent to punch me in the face. Theres a reason why modern combat sports focus on head movement so much, and walking in a stance like zenkutsu dachi with a bobbing head actually creates a lot of head movement.
Maybe you should leave your organization then, and focus on a style that does not train this way... maybe one that trains bobbing you head up and down with each step.

If you do bob your head up and down on each step, it get predictable, which is just as easy to hit as a head staying in one place. Bobbing your head down on each step, also telegraphs you step... making it easier to counter. If you allow grappling and clinches... when someone grabs you and pulls your head down... are you forced to out muscle the guy, to step forward? This type of training helps to learn how to efficiently move their body forward, correcting their posture, without having to over power the other guy, from a weak stance.

I never said that you should not include head movement when fighting. What I was pointing out was things that I have learned and gained through doing the exercise, as described. If you get all those things another way... like I said, ditch this school and go to one that works better for you. But, just because you do not personally get something from this type of training, does not mean the no one else does.

As for imparting forces, lifting your heel and pushing off the balls of your rear foot will impart plenty of force as well as extending the range of your punch.
You are correct, if you lift your back heel, and bend the knee, you can push off with a lot of power. I am one of those really weird people though... I was born with two legs. I have found that if I use the one in front to pull, in combination with the one behind pushing, I get more power... using the muscles of two legs is stronger than using the muscles of just one leg.... who would have thought that??? But, again, if you are happy with using just the one.... go for it.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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I really doubt it, and whatever training I do get I can likely get more effectively from another method.
You can use a rope to duck under the same way. The garage door is a better teacher though because it smacks the back of your head if you dont get under it. No need to doubt it, try it, its free.
 
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GojuTommy

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Maybe you should leave your organization then, and focus on a style that does not train this way... maybe one that trains bobbing you head up and down with each step.

If you do bob your head up and down on each step, it get predictable, which is just as easy to hit as a head staying in one place. Bobbing your head down on each step, also telegraphs you step... making it easier to counter. If you allow grappling and clinches... when someone grabs you and pulls your head down... are you forced to out muscle the guy, to step forward? This type of training helps to learn how to efficiently move their body forward, correcting their posture, without having to over power the other guy, from a weak stance.

I never said that you should not include head movement when fighting. What I was pointing out was things that I have learned and gained through doing the exercise, as described. If you get all those things another way... like I said, ditch this school and go to one that works better for you. But, just because you do not personally get something from this type of training, does not mean the no one else does.


You are correct, if you lift your back heel, and bend the knee, you can push off with a lot of power. I am one of those really weird people though... I was born with two legs. I have found that if I use the one in front to pull, in combination with the one behind pushing, I get more power... using the muscles of two legs is stronger than using the muscles of just one leg.... who would have thought that??? But, again, if you are happy with using just the one.... go for it.
I have already left them. Thanks for the advice though
No, head movement even if its exactly the same every time is not as easy to hit as no head movement coming straight in.
 

wab25

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No, head movement even if its exactly the same every time is not as easy to hit as no head movement coming straight in.
That has not been my experience. When people move their head the same way, every time... I find it just as easy to hit them as it is to hit people with no head movement.

That said... head movement was not the point of this exercise. Not all exercises have to be about head movement. Boxers do sit ups... I have yet to see one effectively use a sit up in a fight. They jump rope and use the speed bag as well... but never seen those show up in the ring.

Interestingly... when I did go to a boxing gym, to box... we started out doing footwork exercises. We all lined up and the coach would have us all step forward, backward, left, right... as he called, keeping out hands up. When I was a beginner, he was not teaching bobbing and weaving in that exercise... but was teaching foundational movement.

When I trained MMA, we would also do footwork exercises, though the stance was a little lower and the feet wider apart. MMA has to worry about take downs and kicks, as well as punches. So it makes sense that they move a bit different than an art the only works with punches. But again, we did foot work drills that worked only on the foundational movement. We did other drills that worked in other things.

The idea is that different exercises build up different things. When people look at TMA, they complain that certain drills or exercises do not show up, exactly as practiced, in a fight... even though the things trained by those drills and exercises do. The same people look at MMA, boxing and wrestling... and completely ignore that fact that these arts also have many exercises and drills that do not show up in a fight... however, the things trained by those exercises and drills do.

Just because I prefer one way to train... does not mean I have to object to and argue against the way someone else or some other art trains. That kind of training just is not for me, but if others get something out of it, great. In actuality, I like to try all kinds of different ways to train. I usually find, that if I humble myself, put time and energy into training and really evaluate what the training is doing to me... that there is value in most ways of training. Sure, I find many times when people miss the boat, and don't see what a certain thing is teaching... or maybe I just see things a little differently, maybe I am the one missing the boat... But I find it worthwhile, to try different ways of training and love to try different arts. Even when I don't stick with an art... I usually find that I learn new things, that I can study in my own art and in the exercises and drills that work for me.
 
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GojuTommy

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That has not been my experience. When people move their head the same way, every time... I find it just as easy to hit them as it is to hit people with no head movement.

That said... head movement was not the point of this exercise. Not all exercises have to be about head movement. Boxers do sit ups... I have yet to see one effectively use a sit up in a fight. They jump rope and use the speed bag as well... but never seen those show up in the ring.

Interestingly... when I did go to a boxing gym, to box... we started out doing footwork exercises. We all lined up and the coach would have us all step forward, backward, left, right... as he called, keeping out hands up. When I was a beginner, he was not teaching bobbing and weaving in that exercise... but was teaching foundational movement.

When I trained MMA, we would also do footwork exercises, though the stance was a little lower and the feet wider apart. MMA has to worry about take downs and kicks, as well as punches. So it makes sense that they move a bit different than an art the only works with punches. But again, we did foot work drills that worked only on the foundational movement. We did other drills that worked in other things.

The idea is that different exercises build up different things. When people look at TMA, they complain that certain drills or exercises do not show up, exactly as practiced, in a fight... even though the things trained by those drills and exercises do. The same people look at MMA, boxing and wrestling... and completely ignore that fact that these arts also have many exercises and drills that do not show up in a fight... however, the things trained by those exercises and drills do.

Just because I prefer one way to train... does not mean I have to object to and argue against the way someone else or some other art trains. That kind of training just is not for me, but if others get something out of it, great. In actuality, I like to try all kinds of different ways to train. I usually find, that if I humble myself, put time and energy into training and really evaluate what the training is doing to me... that there is value in most ways of training. Sure, I find many times when people miss the boat, and don't see what a certain thing is teaching... or maybe I just see things a little differently, maybe I am the one missing the boat... But I find it worthwhile, to try different ways of training and love to try different arts. Even when I don't stick with an art... I usually find that I learn new things, that I can study in my own art and in the exercises and drills that work for me.
And how extensive exactly is that experience?
 

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In my experience with Taekwondo, I think there's three ways for your head to move, and two ways for your feet to move.

Head:
  • The controlled, flat movement that most are describing here: keep your head the same level throughout the form
  • A natural head bob, which is less of a design choice and more of a design omission (i.e. it's not important the level of the head during movement). I personally think this makes a little more sense if you're going to include a lot of kicking, where you're not going to have the standing leg bent to the same level as a form.
  • An exaggerated head bob specifically done by ITF Taekwondoists known as "sine wave", in which (to my understanding) the theory is that you transfer more energy when pushing off of the ground or when gravity helps, so springing up with each step is to help deliver power.
Feet:
  • Step forward straight from where the foot was
  • Bring the feet together, and then step out (half-moon shape)
I personally think that none of the above really matters. Out of the 6 combinations you could have, all 6 can work. There are pros and cons to each. However, what does matter is consistency in applying them. If your school does the flat movement straight forward, then you should emphasize doing that every time.
 

JowGaWolf

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While I teach CMA, I do also teach my students to pick a working altitude and stay there meaning, head stays level while moving the stance.
This is training and not application. I think some people get confused by which is which.
 

JowGaWolf

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This is a thing I never really questioned so Im curious what explanations everyone was given, as Im seeing major pitfalls in that method of movement.
It's training and not application. technically speaking people should train at least in 2 levels. 3 at the most.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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Movement and flexibility require strength. Incorporate stretching into your movement ... This is training and not application. I think some people get confused by which is which.
Agree with you 100% there.

To be able to touch your hand on your foot while you are in a low striking tiger stance may not have any combat value. But this kind of flexibility can not be obtained by stretching only.

One day when you are 80, if you can still do this, your body flexibility is amazing.

 

JowGaWolf

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You can use a rope to duck under the same way. The garage door is a better teacher though because it smacks the back of your head if you dont get under it. No need to doubt it, try it, its free.
Ha ha. It will scrape the mess out of your back too if you don't clear it before you rise up. I did that as a kid trying to get under it before it closes
 
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