In kung fu, stances are the first basic elements that you learn. You should practice them diligently because stances are the physical foundation from which all techniques are launched. Martial artists, in every style and at every skill level, continue to practice stances throughout their training.
Why Should I Practice Stances?
Practicing stances builds strong leg muscles, improves balance, increases endurance, and develops a stable centre of gravity in a variety of positions. This stability is essential to good technique.
Mastering stances trains the body to automatically assume correct and stable postures as it moves from position to position in the course of a form or a fight. So with well-developed stances, you will feel confident in taking any position you need to as you dodge or deliver an attack.
A traditional kung fu saying is that power originates from the foot, is activated by the legs and guided by the waist, so ultimately stances are the literal foundation of martial arts techniques.
The more you practice, the more you will experience and appreciate the value of a good, strong stance.
How to Practice Kung Fu Stances
When working on kung fu stances, always train both the left and right sides equally. Check your positions constantly to make sure your feet and legs are in the proper position, orientation and aligment, especially in relation to each other.
Also check to make that your back is straight, shoulders are rolled foward, chin is tucked in and your upper body is centred over your lower body. Get to know how each stance feels; practice until you become thoroughly grounded and comfortable in all the stances.