How were you taught to move in stances?

_Simon_

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Been pondering this a bit... yeah in every style I've ever done we aim to keep the head level whilst moving through stances (or moreso when moving in and to the same stance).

While the directive is usually to keep the head level, I don't really think that's the reason for it, which is circular. I sort of feel it's to reinforce and keep your connection with the ground. If you come up and down there can be a tendency to lose that connectivity, which is something you really need to keep when moving. Not only for balance reasons but for if you need to change direction rapidly in your advance too, or even if you are suddenly hit with impact you need to keep your equilibrium.

Another thing may be also to maintain "potential" throughout your legs. If you come and straighten out you lose that potential and readiness. You can maintain that bend and keep that potential energy like a spring ready to uncoil rapidly.

Just some thoughts!
 

Kung Fu Wang

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When you do a floor sweep, you will need to change the head level.

my-floor-sweep.gif
 

JowGaWolf

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Weakness in head movement. The head moves the body doesn't. He should have been tearing that body up. Lots of openings. Attack the body and the head will stop moving.

TMA Martial arts theory on head movement is to not move the head but the feet. Which in turn moves the head. Stepping off the center line not only moves the body but it moves the head. Moving the head only doesn't move the body out of position.

My head moves forward, back, left, right, and down all without me moving my head. My feet move my body which in turns moves my head
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Weakness in head movement. The head moves the body doesn't. He should have been tearing that body up. Lots of openings. Attack the body and the head will stop moving.
I think using that video is a bit misguiding. Ali was showboating. At the points where his body was targeted, he responded appropriately.
It probably would have helped dokes out a bit, but I don't think that was the 'answer' to Ali.
 

JowGaWolf

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I think using that video is a bit misguiding. Ali was showboating. At the points where his body was targeted, he responded appropriately.
It probably would have helped dokes out a bit, but I don't think that was the 'answer' to Ali.
Showboating has nothing to do with it. It's the same no matter what. If you are moving your head then your body is still in the same place

If you move your body then your head will move by default. Move the body to move the head.. If you move your head the body will stay in the same place

Most of the people that I spar with don't use head movement for long. They learn really quick that all of the head movement in the world can save them from a punch or kick to the body.
 

JowGaWolf

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The moment that your opponent dodges your head punch by moving his head, the moment that you sweep his leg. It always works.
I'm not a big on attacking the head, there are much easier things to attack on a person than the head.
 

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Bringing this back to forms, I did go back and try out a few different ways of doing forms. I tried out five ways. The one I'm most used to is in bold.
  1. Head level, straight step (HS)
  2. Head level, C step (HC)
  3. Natural head bob, straight step (NS)
  4. Natural head bob, C step (NC)
  5. Sine wave (SW)
NS is what I am most familiar with from Taekwondo. For others, I'm not sure if the choice is done on purpose, or if it's simply a detail they weren't aware of. Looking at some videos of the Palgwe forms, I notice some that do NS and some that do HS. The Taegeuk forms have such shallow stances that it's impossible to tell whether they're trying to keep their head level or not.

Personally, I feel this is the style that aesthetically works best if you have deep stances and a lot of kicks. Since forms put the "art" in "martial arts", this is the style I would choose for Taekwondo. It just looks better to me if all of your steps appear similar, than if you have some steps that are deep, and then your head just bobs up there for a kick.

NC is a bit of a weird one. Aside from Sine Wave, it's the tallest of the steps, because not only are you straightening the legs, but bringing your feet together makes you taller as well. I can see this being the best at teaching proper stance width, which is something I've found a lot of beginners struggle with. Beyond that niche use, I don't personally like this. I feel like HC is better training with a C step, and NS looks better. Plus, you can do that c-step drill in other ways to teach the proper stance, which can then be applied to the forms.

SW is a very weird one. I don't think anyone outside of ITF-style TKD does this. It's basically a spring onto the ball of the feet at the apex of the step. I have a lot of opinions in every direction. On the one hand, I agree with the principle that you generate power by pushing off of the ground or by letting gravity bring your strikes into place. However, I think the way sine wave is done in the forms is more of a momentary disconnect from the power of the ground, instead of a push off. And you don't get high enough to generate much potential energy to bring down into the strike.

Forms aren't just about practical application, though. They're also there to look good (as I mentioned above) and for conditioning (which I'll focus on in the next session. I actually do like the bounce as a way to train calf muscles, which is important for the type of kicking we do in Taekwondo. But aesthetically...it's just weird. This is an opinion (some may like it), but I think it's a general consensus from the non-ITF TKD community that ITF forms are an odd duck.

Last, we have the HS and HC. I don't have as much experience with these, except for playing around with them the last couple of days. I can see both having their merits. I feel the c-step is a bit more aesthetic in this version, because it doesn't accentuate the head bob. However, if the goal is to disguise movement, then the straight step is better. Both keep a more constant stress on your leg. But, is that a better workout than changing levels? It's kind of like the difference between a wall sit and a squat, or between a plank and a sit-up.

Like I said, I think all of these have some merit. I think what's more important is that the person teaching knows why that particular style of step was chosen, more than which one was chosen. I also don't see any reason you can't mix it up periodically. Either as a student or instructor to mix up the training (so long as the one you do on the test or at the tournament is the "correct" one), or as master creating a new in-house form using a different style.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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I'm not a big on attacking the head, there are much easier things to attack on a person than the head.
Old Chinese saying said, "If you don't hit your opponent's head, you may have to fight him from sun raise until sun set". Sometime just 20 lb force on the nose can finish a fight.
 

JowGaWolf

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I think that's his point. You have them focus on the head, but that's not where you're 'attacking'. Just a feint to get the sweep.
I mean for me, I literally don't spend a lot of time trying to attack the head.
Old Chinese saying said, "If you don't hit your opponent's head, you may have to fight him from sun raise until sun set". Sometime just 20 lb force on the nose can finish a fight.
I guarantee it won't be that long. He'll either be limping due to the abuse that his legs took or he'll have a new set of bruised ribs all while he's trying to protect his head. My MMA sparring partner is good with head defense but every match I've been able to land solid kicks to the ribs. I'll put it this way I've kicked him so mech there that he tries to catch my kicking leg. If his hands are going for my legs the nothing is protecting his head. I only do front kick and side kick and it still gives him trouble.
 

JowGaWolf

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Old Chinese saying said, "If you don't hit your opponent's head, you may have to fight him from sun raise until sun set". Sometime just 20 lb force on the nose can finish a fight.
My sparring partner used to kick my thighs but my lower stance puts my thighs away from his kick and closer to my knee height. When I leg check his kick, the kick lands on my knee consistently. I can still front kick and side kick his thighs because he has a taller stance. Start low end high.

Make those legs hurt to kill your opponent's mobility and to make them forget about protecting their head.
 

wab25

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Old Chinese saying said, "If you don't hit your opponent's head, you may have to fight him from sun raise until sun set". Sometime just 20 lb force on the nose can finish a fight.

Tell these guys to get back up and fight...
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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You guys just unlocked a memory for me. For most of highschool/college summers, I trained at a kickboxing & kempo school until it closed down (before that I trained at a purely kempo school). I think I started when I was 15, and was pretty confident in myself, but my original school only did light sparring, with the very occasional medium sparring. This school, the two main instructors would randomly suggest doing heavy sparring. I think I'd been there a month or two the first time the main instructor and I sparred heavy.

At that point, I'd learned very much to keep my guard high to avoid head shots-probably too high. I spent the entire first round getting pummeled with body shots, by the time the second round came I could barely fight.
 

wolfeyes2323

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For kihon (basic exercises) yes I was taught to stay level. Practically speaking it has to do with telegraphing movement , the Number one "TELL" that someone is about to move forward or kick is a slight rise in their body, which is very easily detected. So in Kihon lets get rid of bad habits. Once we have disciplined fundamental movement, we can learn to augment our movements for increased power generation, moving weight forward and backward during techniques, purposely rising and/or dropping in techniques etc. As always Beginners want to work on intermediate technique, intermediates want to work on advance technique, advance work on basics . We should NOT work on adding into basic technique (intermediate/advanced) until we have good kihon , once advanced we must practice kihon to keep bad habits from creeping back in. Either way , Kihon are Kihon they are good body mechanics and vanilla, they are the platform from which we work.
 

Darren

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In my organization we like many other places ive seen spent a lot of time cumulatively walking up and down the mat in the various stances.

For us we were taught that our head should remain level as we move through our stances. So if were walking in zenkutsu dachi, your front leg remains bent until the rear foot comes level with it at which point the (previously) front straightens to push you forward.

Just curious if this is how everyone else learned to do these exercises.
Was taught you head should not bob up and down when switching.
 

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