Horse Stance 'Ma-Bu'「馬歩」
HORSE STANCE TRAINING : THE FOUNDATION
Almost every major traditional wushu system starts with horse stance training and most students grit and grimace as they try to hold the stance low and for hours on end. Many practitioners consider such training as "external". However, horse stance training in the Baji/pigua system is much more complex. Many traditional martial arts practitioners in the past did not clearly differentiate training into external and internal and when properly explained, the Baji horse stance training could be interpreted as "internal" as much as it is "external".
It is critically important that horse stance training be carefully done, since it is representative of many of the structural postures found throughout the initial training phases of the system. Contrary to popular belief that northern systems employ wide, deep stances, Baji employs a relatively deep horse stance but only about a fist beyond shoulder width. And also contrary to popular belief, the depth of the stance is not "as deep as you can go". The proper depth varies from individual to individual, and is primarily determined by body structure in the following manner.
- Start in upright position, very relaxed, with proper foot alignment, and the legs a little beyond shoulder width apart.
- Sink, bending the knees to where the thigh/kua area, or Sciatic Nerve; knee to ankle area, and the length of the space extending from the back hip area to the ground behind the heels, form an equilateral triangle.
- Simultaneously raise and extend your arms up and outward to the point where the elbows are pointed towards the ground and a light hollowed fist is held in front (this should resemble the grip on a car's steering wheel without using force). You must be relaxed!
- The feet point straight forward with the knees tilting slightly inward so that the Kua area is rounded.
- The back is relatively straight. Alignment of the spine and progression depends on the individual.
Bajiquan Horse Stance
BAJIQUAN STYLE HORSE STANCE TRAINING
Should you be unable to sink to the proper depth, then you must practice slowly, and stay relaxed, until it becomes possible. This could take as little as one month or as long as two years: bodies and training schedules vary! It is also critical that the upper body remain relaxed while breathing is slow, deep, and continuous. Note that a hollow, relaxed, rounded fist is maintained. Rather than timing yourself by a clock, it is much more effective to count and focus on deep breathing. Again contrary to popular opinion, if done properly, you seldom hold this posture beyond ten minutes and indeed, a properly held Baji horse stance would be celebrated at the two minute mark.
The myth that one must hold this posture for months on end until one has earned the right of passage into the system is quite exaggerated. In the Baji system one can almost immediately begin to work on a variation of movements employing this basic horse stance. This would also include some of the most basic fighting applications of the system.
In addition, We now incorporate several new layers to the Mabu.
- Grinding and emphasis of the body's weight distribution on the balls of the feet.
- Grinding and emphasis of the body's weight distribution on the heels of the feet.
- Controlled Tightening of the lower body, through to the toes to simulate a grabbing sensation throughout the entire body.
- Controlled Tightening of the upper torso, Through the back, shoulders, arm and chest. To simulate a conditioning sensation through out the body.
- Incorporating full Qigong / Nanjin breathing techniques, From expanded lung capacity and the Dan Tian.
- Weights, Tools and Muscle Training. Incorporation of tools and modern science to accelerate training, Examples include; Weighted gear, hand / wrist weights, resistance bands, bags of sand to glass vases / bottles filled with water.
- The mentality of improvement, evolution and variety continues with all postures from now on.
- Strength and Conditioning to the whole body.
- Can be performed multiple ways to emphasize particular areas; Calfs, feet, shins, kua, back, dantian, abdomen, even arms & shoulders with weights.
- Breathing exercises done in conjunction.
- Meditation and development of discipline.
- Reflection of spirit to develop character, apathy or empathy,
- Proper form and development of muscle, tendon, bone density.
- Self chiropractic uses as the posture will have a yoga like effect on most of the body, especially the neck, spine, knees, and leg area.
- Requires very little space to perform.
- Takedown defense.
- Wrestling basic principle.
- Low kick defense.
- Knee strike defense.
- Shoving, pushing, grappling defense.
- Potential Downward knee strike, knee-on-belly.