Stability is a critical component of martial application. Without stability, your ability to apply force, or withstand an opponent’s force, is severely compromised.
Stability is a function of strength and balance. And the easiest way to improve your balance is to adjust your posture.
I learned this postural adjustment tip from a Russian martial artist in Portland. I like it because it is simple, effective, and requires very little skill to implement. If you are a student of Chinese or Japanese martial arts, there’s a good chance you’ve never heard this tip before.
Without further ado, here is the tip:
Point your hips and waist in the same direction as the toes of your weight-bearing leg.
No matter what style of martial arts you practice, your weight distribution is uneven most of the time. Sometimes, your “full” leg supports 100% of your body weight; other times, it supports 51%. Regardless of the exact distribution, you almost always have a weight-bearing leg.
Moreover, the toes of your two feet are usually pointing in different directions. For practical applications, the angle described by your toes is typically between 30 and 120 degrees.
In other words, this tip is applicable to nearly every stance and posture you use.
Try It Yourself
To test the effectiveness of this adjustment, try the following experiment:
- Assume a posture. Any posture with a weight-bearing leg and feet at different angles will work.
- Rotate your hips and waist to point in the direction of your “empty” (non-weight-bearing) leg.
- Ask your practice partner to push you from all four directions. They should not push you with all their strength, just enough to affect your balance. Try to maintain your position, without moving your body.
- Rotate your hips and waist to point in the direction of your full leg.
- Ask your partner to push you again, using the same amount of force as last time.
What were the results of this experiment?
Do you have any other simple and practical stability tips to share?
Great post and points! I’ve always stressed the knee/toe alignment, but never really focused on the hip aspect! One of my yang buddies was telling me a similar thing a while back, but it never really stuck in then either. I generally just tried to “sit” into my stance and in doing so, the hips generally aligned with the weight bearing leg.
This is and excelent tip and provides dramatic improvement in stability and and balance of the stance. While I cannot speak for other martial arts, we use these techiques in Tae Kwon Do stances. With the emphasis on Tae Kwon Do being primarly on leg and kicking techniques, this is a given for our training, in essence its where we live our foundation our ‘home.’ In practicing our forms (Poomse, Patterns), we emphasise these proper stances even more. Holding and exagerating stances that in normal sparring or practice we pass through for only second enhances our technique. One more example of the bennefits of such training.
This aint news, brother
good technique and while it may not be “news” it is good advice and absolutely something to consider in practice – thx