We all need it, and we all do it, every day.  Some may say that they have no balance, or poor balance, but if they are still walking around on two feet, they must have some sense of balance.

Like any other physical/mental skill, balance can be improved by simple practice.  In our Fearless Falling class, you are asked to balance on one foot, with the other just off the mat.  It may seem to be a simple task, but the softness of the main floor mat actually makes it rather difficult.

For homework, try balancing all your weight on one foot.  Be sure to keep your supporting knee BENT.  This is very important, because if your supporting leg is locked out straight, you have no way to adjust your position.  It takes some extra strength and effort to keep the supporting knee always bent a little, but the pay-off in body control is great.

With your supporting leg bent, and the foot of the "empty" leg floating about an inch off the ground in front of you, try to lightly swing your lifted, empty, leg around from the front to behind your supporting leg.  Your foot will trace out a "C" shape.  Do at least five "C's", then shift your weight to the other leg and repeat the exercise on the other side.  We have done this in class, on a soft mat.  At home, on a hard floor, this "C" movement should be easier.

The next exercise is a training stance from Shuai Chiao Kungfu called, "Black Dragon Playing in the Waves."  If you can balance on one leg, you can try this training posture.  

NOTE: Be careful!  When you first try this pose, you may want to hold on to a kitchen chair or other solid support with your hands, as you lean forward to the front.  As you get a feel for the balance position, you will be able to lift your hands off the support.  

Black Dragon Black Dragon Playing in the Waves

With all your weight on one leg, slowly lift your other, empty, leg to the rear.  At the same time, tilt your upper body forward by bending at the waist.  Just tilt forward as far as you comfortably can.  You do not have to assume the ideal horizontal "flying" position shown above to get any benefit from the stance exercise.  Hold the Black Dragon position for a count of five, then return to upright position, and repeat the exercise on the other leg.