The Disciple's Workshop - Lesson 3 - Square Horse With Resistance
The horse stance is the most fundamental of all stances. It is used in virtually every martial art. It links all arts. We'll probably never know if this is due to common ancestry or if it simply evolved separately. Regardless, it is a common thread.
One would be wise to not overlook the subtleties of the horse stance. Many other principles are built upon it. And truly you are only as good as your basics. This is where the basics start.
More than once I've seen seasoned veterans of martial arts grok the workings of the horse stance even after decades of study. Martial arts can be like that. It's very easy not to see the essence. To pass it by unnoticed. Searching for the secrets when they had already been placed in plain sight.
There are really two fundamental horse stances. More once you bring in the workings of the other beasts. But for the bear, there is the square horse and the heel-toe horse. For our purposes, we will start with the square horse. The square horse is not a fighting stance and is rarely used even in a transitory way in fighting. It is, for the most part, an exercise and a basis for other exercises. It is also a teaching device. However developing it will build the foundation for the heel-toe horse, also called the fighting horse.
As an aside, the horse is not one of our beasts. We only call this stance a horse because it looks like you are riding a horse. Some call it the horse riding stance. Having a background in horse riding I can say that it also feels the same as proper form in riding a horse and has several commonalities with riding.
What is important in the development of the horse stance is the static tension. The knees push outward but the muscles around the ankle push inward. This creates tension between the two as well as stability. The ankles should not roll outward. Instead, the balls of the feet and big toes should push down into the ground to flatten the pressure into the ground. All toes grab as if they were claws. It should feel as if you are grabbing the ground and attempting to rip it apart.
This static tension can instantly be released into a weapon.
It is important to practice this stance as wide as you can go with the knees pushed out until they are directly over the ankles. And yes you are right, I haven't seen anyone actually do that in the video, only approach it. So it is something to strive for.
About the Disciple's Workshop
"There is no magic in magic, the magic is in the details" ~Walt Disney
The magic is in the details. Without the magic, martial arts is not nearly as useful. Lack of skill can only be covered up with brute force. Making the art useless for those without size and strength.
With the magic, the arts work for anyone. It becomes an equalizer.
With great skill, the magic actually appears to be magic. As Arthur C, Clark said:
"Technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic"
This is body technology sufficiently advanced.
Modern-day martial arts teachers rarely have the opportunity to teach the magic. Such is the economics of martial arts skills.
So we are putting it out there for those who want it.
You can't buy it with a credit card, although many try and some sell a cheap substitute.
You CAN make it yours by carefully paying attention.
If you want to own it you can. It just takes an inquisitive mind, discipline, and humility. The rest is free.
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