-- BALANCE --
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
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
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 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.