One of the most important and difficult things to get in martial arts is balance / rooting. An excellent exercise is to train to balance ourselves on car tires, let’s see how to do it.
What we need:
- We need 2 or 3 used tires but not excessively damaged (no cuts, etc.)
- We have to choose tires suitable for our weight (eg. over 100 Kg a common wheel may not be enough)
- Let’s clean the wheel we decide to use and place it on the ground (horizontally)
- Let’s jump on the tire with both feet trying to position us on its diameter
- Let’s distribute the weight so as not to bend the tire and at the same time so as not to lift it
- To start we can use arms to help us balancing enough to stand up
- The requirement to proceed is to be able to keep the balance at least from an erect standing position
- Let’s volunteer fall, in such a way as to understand what dynamics we must be prepared to face in case of error (we will surely fall a lot)
- Exercise on the move is not recommended for those who do not have a decent basis of space intelligence and dynamic balancing
- The most immediate risk is a distortion due to an unexpected fall (let’s evaluate wisely our abilities before starting this practice)
The basic exercise:
- Let’s simply “walk” circularly on the circumference of the wheel distributing weight, without falling
- We must maintain balanced our center of gravity and use coordinated movements of legs and arms to move around
- When we realize that we have achieved a certain level of familiarity, we can start to move our arms by sketching parries / attacks / etc.
- With time we will be able to transform our clumsy and unbalanced movements into real combat sequences
- Our overall vision will also benefit from this training because, slowly, we will no longer need to look actively where to put our feet
- As we use our arms, we have to try to always be in motion and connect the fighting actions to our mobility
- The typical duration of the exercise is 10 minutes
- The same exercise can also be performed with 2-3 wheels attached to each other (in this case it is forbidden to place a single foot on two tires simultaneously)
- Another possibility is stacking up to a maximum of 2-3 wheels one over the other (this is a rather dangerous variant, absolutely unsuitable for anyone who is no longer stable on a single wheel)
- For those who have reached a good level, we can add to the punch sequences, lifts of our legs and then real kicks (this is a considerable increase in difficulty)
- For experienced practitioners, a hit / dodge moving target (eg. a speedball hanging from an elastic string) can be added to punches and kicks
- Another difficulty increase is adding, to all the rest, bending to the ground and jumping without falling off the tires (always integrating motion and defensive / offensive actions, very hard)
- The ultimate tires training for rooting can be also performed with partners that try to unbalance us (extremely dangerous and useless if we do not have learned the theory behind this skill, more about this later)
The first few times we will easily experience some pain in the inner part of the thighs, nothing worrisome, let’s allow our body to recover before going back on the wheels training.
In future articles we will discuss deeper the concept of rooting.
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.