Thursday, January 19, 2012

More stance: how deep and wide and why?

In karate the main objective is Todome (finishing blow technique), to achieve Todome means that the whole body has to cooperate to one line of energy and deliver the total energy in the shortest instant. The use of external force is crucial since without external force the body center of mass cannot increase energy.

Therefore, stance is most fundamental to karate technique, it allows us to maximize ground reaction force, and optimal interaction between momentum, gravity and ground reaction forces.

A stance should be functional and allow us to maximize ground reaction, unfortunately, because of competition, many participants tend to focus on esthetics rather than function.

Other reason for those stances is that a lot of our training is against the air without feedback and one can feel strong even when it is not.

Training against air is beneficial but we must also have feedback to confirm that we are effective and not just looking good.

Below are some guidelines to proper stance:
In a good basic stance the center of gravity should be as low and the stance as wide as possible in the following conditions:

  • You can keep the sacrum vertical to floor, which means keeping the posture, pelvis alignment and connection between legs and body center. If connection between legs and body center is lost, and energy cannot transfer from legs to torso, the stance loses its purpose.
  • The stance is as deep and wide as possible without losing the range of motion of body dynamics. The stance should support hips action and not limit it.
  • Stance as wide and deep without lost of elasticity, and connection between the legs, the inner thighs should be drawing to each other.
  • If interaction between the legs is lost, energy cannot be transferred from legs to torso and potential energy is lost.

Why should we practice in deepest stance?
In the basics we practice through biggest range of motion for the following reasons:

  • Conditioning the body through the full range (likewise you will do squats in the gym to the full range, you wouldn’t do baby squats, you want to strengthen muscles and keep their function to full range).
  • Easy to teach the nervous system proper patterns and coordination through big action.
  • The big include the small but not vice versa, which means that if we can coordinate, connect the kinetic chain and produce force in big action, we eventually will be able to do so in any range within that big range, but if we practice small movement, our nervous system will not know how to coordinate in bigger ranges.
  • Train the body to be resilient to injuries, most injuries in sports happen at end ranges and not mid ranges.

P.S in some Chinese martial arts they practice for years in small ranges (Different view).

Saturday, January 7, 2012

More stance considerations

Distinguish between weight and pressure:

In all stances (except one leg stance) the weight is in the center, and the pressure is to one leg or another, (not as some books say that 70% of the weight is on one leg and 30% the other) depending on the stance and technique direction.

This allows for interaction between both legs and the body center, to create potential energy or for kime.

In front stance the pressure (generally) is toward the front foot, using the breath to create pressure from back foot through body center toward front foot.

In back stance use the breath to create pressure from front foot through body center to back foot.

Stance form is meaningless without the right interaction of both feet, body center and breath.

Take back stance for example, the form, position of back stance is useless unless there is interaction between both legs, and the front foot make pressure to back leg, to create coiled spring in the stance.

Pressure is applied differently depending on necessity.

This pressure is applied differently at the moment of kime than when moving around with opponent. In case of kime it is maximum pressure and in the kamae it is soft pressure to keep potential energy.

Either foot can receive pressure at any moment so one can move at any instant to any necessary direction.

Wheel of energy.

The stronger the pressure applied to front foot in front stance, the stronger the reaction to back leg and more potential energy.

The same is true to back stance or any stance.

This principle is true at the moment of kime or in Kamae stance when moving with opponent.

So at each kime there isreaction to back leg which means there is potential energy and no gap between techniques.

Front stance is the only stance in karate that the back leg, supporting leg, is pushing and directed to technique direction.

All other stances are indirect, in back stance one presses back and twist the muscles around the back leg thighbone back to create energy forward, so is sochin or kiba dachi.