Taekwondo stances - reaching a new understanding.
So I arrive to train at our new club in Australia and I notice the other students' taekwondo stances.
I think I'm so clever...
'Those stances are way too long. How old fashioned is this?
These guys are going to have to change and get up to date!'
But of course when in Rome...
...do what the Romans do.
And I do.
I knuckle down.
And train hard.
My legs take a bit of persuading that long stances are a good idea.
But I stick with it... and I find I'm enjoying the challenge of learning traditional patterns.
Then 18 months later we do an exercise to test our stances- and I finally understand.
I'm paired up with Neil and Michael- both well over 6ft and both nearly 200 pounds (90kg).
Master Jason's instructions are clear
'OK Deb get into a front stance and hold it solid'
'Now Neil you lean on her shoulders with all your weight'
At this point every muscle in my body is straining to take the pressure.
I can't exactly speak so I kind of grunt a bit to indicate that I'm still alive.
'OK Michael now you lean all your weight on Neil'
Tell me your're joking Master Jason!...
I start to feel the strain.
I can't do it.
My hips start to rise up as I start to lose control.
I'm going to fall over...
'Drop your hips Deb' yells Jason
Despite protests from my legs I force myself to sink lower...
... and find I can hold on! Just!
Finally the guys release the pressure. And I'm still standing.
Your strength comes from the the ground explains Jason.
The lower you are to the ground- the stronger your stance is.
Of course it does.
And so now I understand the power of long taekwondo stances.
They're about having a solid base for strong techniques.
And WTF taekwondo stances are short... because it's more about speed than strength.
Maybe next time I won't take such a strong stance on something until I know more about it. ;-)