Sihing Ayron Johnson guest posts his tips on correctly doing one of our fundamental stances in IAW WingChun.
I sometimes call the Jing San Ma (Frontal Body Stance) the “mother stance” from which the other stances are derived. The subtle adjustments you need to stabilize it seem easy, but the key is to find the feeling. Sihing Ayron details the main things you should consider to stand strong.
Enjoy the read, then train well!
— Sifu Paul Wang
The Basics of WingChun Stance
by Sihing Ayron Johnson
Academy Leader of the Academy of WingChun Atlanta
The Jing San Ma (Frontal Body Stance) is the stance that we first learn in WingChun starting from the beginning form, Siu Nim Tau (Small Intention). The stance looks simple, but its most basic function — proper alignment of the legs, hips, and torso for stability, tension, and power generation — is used in all of the other stances and footwork. However, the stance may look awkward and can be difficult for most people to understand.
Here we will explain the basic concepts of the stance and their function:
Stand natural with your feet about shoulder width apart. Lower your body slightly then raise up by pushing off of the ground with your legs. You do this naturally anyway when you are pushing something. Don’t lock your legs. Keep a slight bend in the knees so that you have some play to push or ground yourself if pulled forward.
At the same time, rotate the heels slightly outward to connect the legs to the hip joint. You don’t have to overturn the feet too far or squeeze in the knees, which would be uncomfortable. Not rotating the heels makes it easier for you to get pushed back without compensating by leaning forward.
Now, push your chest slightly up and forward from about the solar plexus. This creates tension in the upper body and keeps proper alignment. Pushing too much or letting the chest collapse in is bad posture. Once the chest is pushed forward, your body will try to relax the lower back and stick out the butt. So, you must keep tension in the hips and engage your core a little to maintain the stance. Pushing the hips too far forward or letting your butt stick out is also bad posture. The former leads to lower back and hip pain and the later makes it easier to get pushed back.
Why is alignment important? Because leaning forward or backward makes it easier for you to lose balance. Also good posture reduces back pain. You can try the same posture in your daily life when you are standing or sitting if you have back issues.
Why is tension important? Just like the arms, your body’s alignment creates a frame. Tension keeps both from collapsing when something pushes you. The holistic frame involves the legs, body, and arm as one piece. Please do not tense your muscles too much to a point that you are straining them. Tense just enough to maintain the frame.
If all of this information is too abstract, you can learn each concept by just getting into the stance and pushing against a partner’s arms. For example, try pushing with your toes turned out then see the difference versus the proper positioning.
Hopefully this information will help you understand the concepts of the Jing San Ma basic stance a little better so that you can apply good posture in your life.