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
position, you will be able to lift your hands off the support.
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
Tilt forward as you shift all your weight to the front, bent
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
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
over an object, the sudden lurch forward sets off the normal startle
response - a stiffening and freezing of the body position. If
have done the Black Dragon stance often enough it is easier to
relax and step forward into a
The Layback Balance Exercise
exercise is more difficult and is a complement to the Black Dragon
movement above. It is more stressful on the rear support leg,
you should try the position very lightly, with just a small amount of
backward tilt, at first.
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
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
which can lead to a hard fall with the head whipping back and hitting
the ground. Ideally, you instead clamp your chin down and
and if you are still falling backwards, just sit down and roll back in a tucked