Playing with stances

This week, our Bando minute updates will focus on the three basic combative stances: the N stance, the L stance, and the H stance. Each of these has a Low, Middle, and High expression of the stance. A good stance establishes a balance between stability and mobility; depending on the context you may want a stance that’s more weighted to one or the other.

Today, I’d like to share a fun exercise that I learned to work simple transitions between stances. The first step is to mark a diamond shape on the floor. You can use chalk, some tape just to mark the corners, or whatever you need to do to visualize the four points of the diamond. To help with notation, imagine the four corners labeled “north”, “south”, “east”, and “west”.

The objective of this exercise is to see how many stances you can do, moving one foot at a time. For example, on the left-most diamond below, the right foot is on the “north” point and the left foot is on the west point, forming a middle N stance. If you cross-step the left foot to the east point, you can then turn the feet, ending up with another middle N stance.

The middle diamond illustrates moving the right foot back to the south diamond and then turning, forming an L stance. And the right most diamond shows a two-step transition starting with a right middle N stance. From there, you can move the right foot to the “east” point forming an H stance. Then left foot can travel to the north point, creating another N stance.

Play with this on your own. How many different stances can you create on this diamond?

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