One thing I’m extremely anal over, is a decent proper stance. A physical stance is very important fundamentals for any martial arts, or any physical endeavour. In skiing, even though i hadn’t done any in my life, will have its own specific way of standing. Same goes for riding a bike, rappelling. In my domain, the least a beginner needs to do is to study the stance.
One evening, I barked at a rather elderly white belt as he didn’t have a good stance, rather he didn’t have a stance. Now he sees me, when i partner him, he will, in a rather automatic and comical fashion jerked his hands up, stance ready. Well, he gets the point, for now.
The point of it is the state of readiness, a good stance, well practice, ends a fight even before it begins. Steven told me this story about his Tae Kwon Do friend, who got into a rather heated argument with a fella, and it is escalating to a point of physical argument. The taunting comes to a tipping point, and his friend did a Tae Kwon Do stance. The belligerent did a double take, blurted out ‘Seow ah!’ (loosely means, You crazy or what???) turned and left the argument.
For Aikido, our stance is rather ambiguous, there is no raised fist, no parallel stance, no overt form of aggression. There is still hope for a peaceful non-violent end. If you execute a Karate stance, chances are you’ll add that minute spark to the already flammable situation, well then again it might diffuse it too. The point is, we need to ensure our stance is proper, and show readiness to handle whatever that might be happening next.
A proper stance is also like a runway, if you have been training really long and hard, your runway will be long and wide, smooth for all sorts of take-off, rough or not. A big cargo plane with a novice pilot will still make a safe landing on your runway. Have a good well prepared runway, let the plane in and land safely.
Study every aspect of movement with your stance, notice how your shoulders roll, your hips drop, right down to the how your toes grip the floor. Study all this well, and you’ll know your immediate environment, your stance brings to your awareness your blind spot. You cannot be surprised if you have a good stance. And a good stance allows you to have a 360 awareness, surely we don’t have eyes behind our head, because we don;t need them, out perceptual awareness, when harnessed can be many times more powerful than sight alone. and a good stance is the first, baby, nano steps towards cultivating that awareness.