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Thread: Is stance training the worst way to stregthen your legs?

  1. #1
    tricky-fist Guest

    Is stance training the worst way to stregthen your legs?

    I had come specific questions related to stance-training.

    I think it was Knife-fighter that brought up this particular point… a friend of mine reminded me about it a couple of days ago. I know that if you’re going to fight using certain stances, you want to train your body to get used to them, but is static stance training really the most effective way to do that? Why on earth do you really need to hold a horse-stance for half an hour if Knife-fighters point is valid – namely that you’re only training your muscles in that particular position and range. This means you’re neglecting to train your muscles in other ranges - should you drop a bit less lower etc….

    Now, when I used to fence, our lunges were developed through daily foot-work sessions which lasted about an hour. The ability to lunge and recover quickly was developed through repetition at various speeds, intensities, depths and shadowing exercises. We never did any static training.

    Has anyone experimented outside the static confines of stance training, and indeed – as I suspect – found that true stability and strength is found in motion rather than in standing still?

    Am I wrong in thinking that static stance training neglects total conditioning of the legs?


  2. #2
    Robinf Guest
    Static training is good for focus, meditating and building strength in your legs.

    My style of kung fu uses a form called eight basic stances: it's a form that's simply transitions into the eight basic stances. This is very good conditioning in getting into the stance and going from one stance to the next.

    But, a static stance will build up strength in that stance. Combine the two, a pattern of transition and a set of static.

  3. #3
    GinSueDog Guest
    Good post, Boxers and Thai Boxers train the same way, using non-static exercises and drills to develop there strength and footwork.-ED

  4. #4
    Kung Lek Guest
    Static stances teach us the proper form of the stance and how it "grounds".

    Forms teach us how to move and make the stances "grounded" but at the same time transitory if the need arises.

    It is one building block on top of another until the house (you) is complete.

    Static stance training is a big part of fundaments of martial arts. No foundations and the walls will fall.


    Kung Lek

  5. #5
    GinSueDog Guest
    Kung Lek, and Robin,
    But wouldn't it be more effective to focus on training your stances in motion as that will be how you will be using it? Also considering that combat is always in motion and isn't static. I personally just can not see how holding a horse stance for twenty minutes will make me a better fighter, if you say it is to build strength and proper technique, aren't there more effective ways to train those things that make better use of my time and energy? I am interesting in your replies, thisi s in no way a flame, thanks.-ED

  6. #6
    Robinf Guest
    Good question. To learn any technique, like a punch, you must first learn to make and hold a fist. Now, I don't know of anyone who holds a fist for twenty minutes, but you do need to learn to hold the fist. If you only learn to transition into a fist, how hard do you think the fist will be? Or a leopard paw?

    Training static stances is conditioning and technique training. There aren't any short cuts that I know of that will train technique better or faster than simply training the technique. If you only learn to transition and hold a stance for that second before you transition into the next, it will take longer to train that technique of the stance--because the focus of that training is too global: training the transition and the stance. Also, static training trains you to do the technique, the stance, properly. If attention to detail such as this isn't paid, then the technique more than likely will never be what it could be.

    As far as holding the stance for twenty or thirty minutes--that's conditioning/strengthening of both the body and the mind. Stand still for thirty minutes and see where your mind goes. Try holding a stance--does your mind cave in? Will your mind cave in during a fight if it lasts longer than you expect? Will your mind cave in and you'll end up fighting a fight that you really shouldn't be fighting? Kung Fu is AS MUCH about the mind as it is about the body. Kung Fu is also as much metaphorical (for lack of a better word) as it is literal--that holding a stance is conditioning you to hold the stance (literal) and conditioning you keep your mind about you (metaphorical).

    [This message has been edited by Robinf (edited 08-11-2000).]

  7. #7
    Jaguar Wong Guest
    Static stances are used for a sort of muscle memory. You body needs to know how it feels if you want to transition into the stances correctly. Anything beyond a couple of minutes is more conditioning than anything (like Robin said). It also helps to teach the body to drop the center of gravity and keep it there. The real key is to practice the transitions from one stance to the next, maintaining your root, and balance. That way when you hit, your stances may be a little higher than when you train, but the power is still there, because you are able to relax through the transition, as well as the final stance.

    My mental notes are kinda jumbled right now, so I hope I made some sense. Robin already did a much better job of explaining it anyways. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    Jaguar Wong

  8. #8
    Gargoyle again Guest
    Static training is only ONE aspect of many other drills to build conditiong and strength. It is but one piece of the whole puzzle. I would bet that you are doing other things in class besides just horse stances. Is that the only stance you ever train? You must be punching, kicking, sparring, drilling, etc also, right? No? It is 100% horse stances all class long? Well, no wonder that you aren't seeing good results [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    Now, as an experiment, if you put one guy who did only horse stances, nothing but horse stances, as his sole source of training (never even let him throw a punch), and another guy in a normal class that also included horse stances among all of the other training, the second guy would be stronger, faster, better.

    My point to this (I knew I had one [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]) is that if you focus in on any one little thing, such as a stance, forms, sparring, and then try and extrapolate its value across the entire training spectrum, it becomes pointless.

  9. #9
    GinSueDog Guest
    Jaguar Wong,
    Muscle memory? Wouldn't training the stance in motion allow muscle memory to remember the stance in the proper context better?
    I think Tricky-Fist named off a few training methods that I would think would better then static exercises. As it is my only real experience with static stances was in Karate a number of years back. All the styles I have studied since haven't really had any fix stances. The footwork training was based on motion and that was the way it was trained.
    Gargoyle again,
    Hmmm...I don't think your example is valid, now what I am interested in if you train two students the same exact way but, train one using static stances and the other non-static stances which would turn out to be the better fighter?-ED

  10. #10
    Stance training is not meant to be the only tool used. It helps build strength, balance, focus, and root, without risking joint injuries. As strength is built up, movement is added, then more difficult movement, etc. For advanced practitioners, static stance work becomes more of a meditative practice.

  11. #11
    Kung Lek Guest

    "A chain is only as strong as its weakest link".

    Static stances builds muscle as well as stamina and endurance. What it also does is increase the tensile strength of the muscle at the point of connectivity to the bone. This is where the muscles tapers into its smallest mass. to increase the strength in this area, stance training is a practical and effective way to do so.

    Without the strength, the stances will not be rooted and you can be transitory all day long and still not achieve solidity with your stances.

    When i started to learn Kung Fu, for my first year all I was given was static stances and some chi Kung exercises liek Jam Jong (Zhang Zhoung).

    Whta this method did was instill in me the appreciation of the fact that Kung Fu takes time and it also gave me the ability to proceed with form knowledge more aptly without constant correction due to a lack of fundamental conditioning.

    I have seen students time and again who fail to practice stance training and box stepping and it shows in their lack of understanding of form. This is apparent even in students who have been doing Kung Fu for more than two or three years.

    Like I said before, if your foundations are not good then your house will fall.


    Kung Lek

  12. #12
    SifuAbel Guest
    Kung lek, my friend, you have the patience of a saint. I don't know how you do it.

    Doing stance training is one of the BEST and most natural ways to strengthen the leg. The power the legs develop is enourmous. Mobility is increased by a great measure due to the enhanced strength at the joints. You can see it in form work. Those with weak legs cannot move with the grace and dexterity of those with the proper training. You can see it in fighting. Those with good leg foundation kick like mules and have rock solid foundations for their punching. They also can get to any level high or low because they can comfortably move with their legs at 90° angles. It's definately not a bad thing. Of course, those who don't or can't do it will say it's "bad".

    As far as tricky's fencing quote, I will also disagree there. Many fencers I know practice holding the lunge position. It's one of the first things they do. Your school may have been different. Try and test your leg strength to that of your sihings see if there is a big difference. We are talking about leg strength here.

    To say that stance training limits mobility is short sighted.
    For the billionth time, static training is not the only method used to train the legs. Stances are still pictures of bigger bodies of movement. Stances were in effect developed to work together as a flow. But, if your legs are not strong enough to begin with they cannot flow.
    This idea that boxing has no stances is absurd. A stance is how you stand, period. Boxing spends many hours practicing stance work in their own way.

  13. #13
    Jaguar Wong Guest
    Kung Lek gave some very good points, but I'll still throw some more of my crap up here anyways. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    First of all, I'm not trying to say if one is better than the other, because I believe you need both to really benefit from any type of stance training. The muscle memory you would get from sitting in a stance benefits your root, balance, and ability to use the ground to deliver, and absorb power. The muscle memory you get from transition builds your strength to push and keep your root while moving. Your are very vulnerable in transition, so it's important to build your balance, but it's also very important to be able to sink (this doesn't mean you have to have low stances) your weight for a strike, to defend. On average (at my school anyways), the guys that don't practice their static stances (as far as proper alignment, and posture go), and just practice the punches and kicks using transitional movements tend not to hit as hard as the guys that do both the static and transitional training. Sure there are always exceptions, but static training teaches them to sink at the moment of impact so most of the knietic energy will be sent into the target, whereas the other guys tend to use more momentum to strike (which does work), but a lot of the energy is sent back because they're not using the ground. They are not trained to properly drop their center of gravity before striking. Yes they still hit hard, but I don't think they are reaching their full power potential.

    The static stances, when applied, are one frame in the execution of a technique. It just happens to be a key frame in the delivery of power. If you can align your body properly, your punch has more potential to deliver the energy into the target.

    Jaguar Wong

  14. #14
    SifuAbel Guest
    If the last four posts don't get the point across then I don't know what will.

  15. #15
    Jaguar Wong Guest
    LOL [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

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