The fighting stance
The fighting stance is the basic position from which you can respond to all situations. It should protect you but it must also allow you to take the offensive. It should be thought of as a fortress from which you can safely launch your attack. However, do not think of your stance as your sole method of defense. Remember, mobility is also part of your protection. Using your footwork and head movement to get out of the way of an attack is the best form of defense.
In the basic fighting stance, your body is turned at a 45* angle. Standing square reveals all the targets on the body but having one shoulder completely projected forward will deny you the use of the rear hand and a leg. The chin is tucked in and forehead is slightly forward. Both hands are held high (fists equal to the level of your cheek bone) with the elbows down and in at the rib cage.
Your weight should be equally distributed and you should be slightly up on the balls of your feet (enough that a sheet of paper can be inserted under your heels). Both legs should be bent and spring like. You should be able to shuffle forward and backward and step to either side effortlessly. However, you must also be crouched enough to prevent easy access to your legs and/or sprawl if necessary.
The forward shuffle
The forward shuffle allows you to advance and is the basic step of the aggressive fighter. The rear leg, bent and spring like, allows the front foot to step forward. DO NOT PICK THE FOOT OFF THE GROUND MUCH. As the lead leg steps down, the rear leg slides up. Do not leave your rear foot behind you. Your feet must be shoulder width at all times. Practice the forward shuffle with a jab. The forward shuffle with a jab is one method of closing the distance (i.e. offense).
The backward shuffle
The backward shuffle allows you to move backward. In actual fighting, you should never shuffle backward more than ONCE before launching a counter attack. The backward shuffle has similar mechanics to the forward shuffle but in reverse. The rear leg steps backward and the lead leg slides back to keep the feet shoulder width. At first, practice the rear shuffle with a jab in order to maintain striking distance. Then learn how you can throw a rear leg round kick as the weight is once again planted on the lead leg.
The side step (shuffle to both sides)
The side step allows you to move in either direction (left or right). It is used by the aggressive fighter to keep his opponent in front of him and to cut off the ring. The following description applies to a left side forward stance. To move to the left, the left foot (the lead leg) steps out to the left side and the right foot slides across to keep the stance shoulder width. To move to the right, the right foot (the rear leg) steps out to the right and the left foot slides across to keep the stance shoulder width.
** ESSENTIAL FOOTWORK RULES**
– Always stay on the balls of the feet, never heels down
– Never place both feet on the same line
– Never have your feet together (too narrow a stance)
– Never cross your legs
– Never switch stances without a reason
The jab is a straight punch delivered with the lead hand. The fist is extended forward, keeping the elbow in and turning both the shoulder and hip into the punch. The arm should remain relaxed and you should be careful not to hyper extend the elbow joint. Return your punch by dropping your elbow back to the side of your ribs and returning the fist to a position in front of the face. Retraction is an essential part of every striking technique. Not retracting your strike or not retracting it quickly enough creates an opening, referred to as a “leak” in Chinese martial arts. As a leak in your roof allows water to enter, a leak in your defense allows a strike to enter. The other hand should remain held high to protect the head.
The cross is a straight punch delivered with the rear hand and is considered a power punch. As with the jab, the elbow is kept in during the execution of the cross. The rear shoulder and the rear hip turn into the punch. The weight on the rear foot comes even more forward onto the ball of the foot and the rear leg pushes off (as if launching into a sprint). The cross is usually delivered in combination with the jab but can also be used as a counter, especially against a “lazy” jab or kick. The jab determines where the opponent is, the cross then lands on target, inflicting the damage.
NOW GO TRAIN!