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Black Dragon Playing in the Waves

This exercise is a training stance from Shuai Chiao Kungfu.  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
  Begin in a front stance, with about 60% of your weight on the front leg, with the knee bent.
  Lift your arms to shoulder level, and imagine they are being pulled forward.
  Tilt forward as you shift all your weight to the front, bent leg.
  Tilt a bit more, and lift your rear foot just an inch or so off the floor.
  Look forward, not down at your foot, and balance on the front leg.
  If you lose your balance, just bend the front leg a little, and put the rear foot back down.
  Try and hold the position for about 20-30 seconds total for each leg in turn.

 This leaning forward balance position is important for mental as well as physical training.  By leaning forward, "over the cliff" and yet remaining balanced, you train your body and mind to accept this position as relatively non-threatening.  When we trip over an object, the sudden lurch forward sets off the normal startle response - a stiffening and freezing of the body position.  If you have done the Black Dragon stance often enough it is easier to relax and step forward into a recovery stumble.

The Layback Balance Exercise

This exercise is more difficult and is a complement to the Black Dragon movement above.  It is more stressful on the rear support leg, and you should try the position very lightly, with just a small amount of backward tilt, at first.

Layback balance exercise
Start from a back stance, with 60% of your weight on the bent back leg and the front leg straight.
Lift your arms out to the sides slightly, and begin leaning back.
Shift all your weight to the back leg, leaning back a little more.
Clamp your chin down towards your chest, and lift your front toe just an inch or so off the floor.
Balance while looking out to the front, with your body straight, but tilted back.
If you lose your balance, immediately sink a little, and touch the front foot back down.
Try and hold the position for 15-20 seconds total on each leg.

  This exercise prepares you for a sudden slip of the forward foot.  The reflexive response is to stiffen and pull up and back which can lead to a hard fall with the head whipping back and hitting the ground.  Ideally, you instead clamp your chin down and sink, and if you are still falling backwards, just sit down and roll back in a tucked position.