The Perfect Stance

“The only constant is change.” -Heraclitus

Early in my training life, I had this notion that I could perfect my stance and essentially become immovable.  I thought that I needed to train my body alignment so that I could redirect any incoming force through my structure into the ground.  While there was some merit to that line of thinking, it was nonetheless flawed.  The “perfect” stance is an unachievable goal.

Training a strong static stance teaches body alignments to direct incoming force through your structure to the ground.  It also develops the understanding of alignments needed to generate power from the feet up.  However, the human body is not a sphere; there is no stance that is aligned to receive force in all directions.  Just considering the human body’s anatomical structure alone, we see that change in stance is necessary to adapt to different forces.

A static stance can be well-rooted and withstand large forces, but even the perfectly aligned stance has its limits.  A large tree with deep roots cannot be moved by mere mortals; yet, mother nature can easily uproot the immovable tree.  The human structure has physical limits.  There is no stance capable of withstanding infinite force.  If the incoming force is too strong, the stance must flow and change to avoid the force.  If you’re getting charged by a 250lb linebacker, rooting the force just isn’t a terribly good idea for the vast majority of people, even assuming an aligned stance.

Many have tried to stand up to Terry Tate… and many have been run over.

These days, my approach to stance training has changed.  I still do some static stance training to feel body alignments and connections.  But I no longer train in the context of perfecting that static stance.  I spend more time training the ability to perceive and maintain body connections so that my stance can readily change.  After the basic body alignments are understood, perfection of the static stance does little to improve upright stability against dynamic force.  Ultimately, the ability of the stance to adapt makes a stance able to withstand ever changing external forces.