The Power of Stance Training
By Tony Bujas
Typically in the study of martial arts, styles have stances (postures). When you cultivate your stances you increase your power (energy). Some traditional systems spend a lot of time on this type of training and seemingly in this modern day and age a lot of systems don't. There are many benefits to supplementing your regular training by doing your homework of stance/posture training. For the purposes of this article the main benefit is in increasing your Power. I'll try and keep it simple and hopefully helpful to all.
First you need to commit yourself to the training. Doing it everyday is best, but you can schedule it accordingly, 6 days per week, 5 days a week (rest on weekends), 2 days on 1 day off, 3 times per week, every other day twice a week if that's all you have time for and once a week is really not enough. Enjoy the training! Pick a stance, any stance. Generally the Horse Stance is a good basic one to start out with. After you can do Bow Stance, and Cat Stance, etc. and can even pick postures from your forms. Also pick a goal, let's say 5 minutes (up to you), but start small, be successful and continue to build from there. This is your training so gear it accordingly, push yourself if and when needed but don't rush things, don't hurt yourself. Continued, consistent, regular training is best. The time will pass anyway, how you fill it is up to you - do the training right.
Okay, so, for example, you will start training Horse Stance, 6 days per week. The first week you do 15 seconds a day, no more. If you feel you need to do the second week at 15 seconds per day also, go ahead, but not because you're lazy, but because you need to strengthen your foundation. The next week you add 15 seconds, meaning you're doing 30 seconds of Horse Stance training 6 days per week. Again evaluate if you need a second week of training at this level. Now that you get the idea, keep adding 15 seconds per week until you reach your goal, say 5 minutes (300 seconds). This would take a minimum of 20 weeks; of course you can tailor the training to yourself. Adding more weeks when necessary, increasing the time intervals to reach your goal faster, starting off at 30 seconds or 1 minute, etc. Remember, the time will pass anyway, how you fill it is up to you - do the training right. No need to rush!
Once you reach your goal of 5 minutes, you should maintain it by doing the horse stance at least once a week. The other 5 days you do a new stance. Now though depending on the next stance you pick, you will most likely need to do left side and right side training - example right/left Bow Stance, right/left Cat Stance, right/left Crane Stance, etc. Do each side for the same length of time and build up until you reach your goal. Pick a new stance or a new goal and the cycle continues. Remember to keep your postural alignment as best as you have been taught, keep your tongue at the roof of your mouth, and breathe through your nose naturally. One last push, at the end of your training sessions jump up explosively to a standing position from you stance feels good?
I hope this gives you a basic idea on how to train your stances and postures for Power.
Of course there is Advanced stance training concepts that include visualizations, different breathings, energy circulation, etc. That is beyond the scope of this article, but for more Qigong information, please check out the book: "Qigong Empowerment" by Grandmaster Shou-Yu Liang & Master Wen-Ching Wu".