Monday, December 17, 2007

Warrior Fitness -- Posture, 2

When I trained in Shito Ryu karate, I had to learn about 12 different highly stylized stances. They had the appearance of formal poses, and we drilled them at just about every training session. The funny thing is, though, that even the advanced students did not assume those stances when they were sparring.

Bill Henry, my jujitsu instructor, took a more utilitarian view toward stances. For general sparring, he liked a half-back stance because it provided a stable platform for punching & kicking, yet it allowed mobility as well. In our grappling, throwing and joint-locking, our footwork was natural and not posed.

Good posture and a natural stance provide the best platform from which to mount either defensive or offensive maneuvers. That's because good posture gives you good balance and naturally free movement. Power, speed & fluidity of motion are all originate from posture and natural movement.

Martial arts schools would better prepare their students for self defense if they would teach and drill their students in good posture rather than in the stylized poses that they call stances. This raises the question of what constitutes good, natural posture. The short answer is that it is the body position that cooperates with the structural design of the human body. And that's a topic for another post.

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