Working on Disadvantages

Being small and light is a disadvantage when facing a bigger opponent. Knowing this is important because you then know that you must work doubly hard to maximize those things that give you an advantage while minimizing the impact of the factors that work against you.

When you are small you would want to wage guerilla combat. Be mobile, get in, get out. And what if you can’t do that? What if your opponent is as fast, as mobile? This is when you turn to the study of strategy, the examination of refined biomechanics – the so-called internal approach.

For most students they can get away with not paying too much attention in the early days of their training to stance work as long as they have some strength to resist. However, the smaller student can’t. The smaller student will be at a disadvantage as long as he or she does not learn to be unified, to be rooted.

Stance work is a killer, takes a lot of patience, be able to endure muscle ache while working out the details of how to get things right. There’s rooting and there’s sinking to work on. Sinking is the easy part, sit lower and that’s all you have to do. But to root without apparent sitting lower is much harder.

Rooting is a process, at least that’s how I have evolved and simplified the learning. I think its important to learn as fast as possible, kinda like insurance. I mean you don’t buy an accident insurance that takes effect only 5 years down the road. What’s the point?

Easiest way to learn something is to first know the why. Well, that’s easy. You must root otherwise you go flying when you come into contact with someone stronger, heavier, more solid. Then to return the favor you need to sink. For this you have apparent outward sinking and you have mental internal sinking. Beginners do outward sinking cause its easy to pick up. Do the stance drill for a few months to make it a habit and process mastered. Piece of cake.

But outward rooting as a process is still not an easy practice. Its easy to learn though. Follow the step-by-step instruction. Understand the role of the arch. Know the importance of the kua to keep things together. Throw in a dash of the waist twist and voila! you have power and stability. Simple?

It would be simple down the road. For the moment its always get some things right, then something goes out of whack. Fix it, hold it, then move, then out again. And repeat the correction. This is the real challenge, to have the persistence to keep at it until everything falls into place naturally and effortlessly.

Along the way when the outer process becomes more refined is when one transitions to the internal. Not to forget adding in tons of mental and physical relaxation in accordance to the 4 keywords listed by Grandmaster Wei Shuren which leads to the achievement of the bell body.

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