So, the other day I was watching a video of a martial arts master. He was a Shoalin monk doing kung fu. It was beautiful and powerful.
But I noticed something that I thought was off.
Some of his stances had him on only one foot.
I’ve been teaching for over twenty years that to have a solid stance, both feet need to be on the ground.
I thought either Shaolin monks are doing it wrong…
Or my understanding is incomplete.
Let’s look at this a bit more.
Why would they stand on one foot if that will not secure them to the ground as well as two feet?
Maybe they don’t want to be secured to the ground. Maybe their balance is self contained. Maybe their stance is not relative to the ground, but relative simply to themself.
Bruce Lee talks about becoming like water. Water doesn’t rely on the bank of the river or the bottom of a cup for it’s power. It has it’s power independent of what is near it.
So we should also be independent of our surroundings.
Think about this. Imagine a kung fu master on one foot getting hit (or think of a movie you’ve seen where this happens). Quite probably, he doesn’t fall down. He’ll just move back or to the side and take a different stance, his body being dynamic and fluid. Balanced.
This takes a lot of practice and true mastery of your body. Most of us don’t have this kind of control independent of our surroundings. We need both feet on the ground. But the higher way is to have balance independent of things outside of you.
In our classes, we do cartwheels as part of our warm ups. I get asked regularly why we practice cartwheels to learn martial arts. My answer is that we are learning control of our bodies, which is essential to learning martial arts.
So the next time you practice your stance, focus on true balance. Be fluid, dynamic, and independent of your surroundings.
This is a higher way.