What is standing stamina?
In our Kung Fu, with “standing stamina” we refer to the capability to maintain static positions: it is the complementary opposite of what we call “dynamic equilibrium” (read The concept of Dynamic Equilibrium).
To possess a good standing stamina skill means to be able to:
- Remain in a specific position without effort (martial stances)
- Maintain a perfect balance (no vibrations, etc.)
- Resisting to an eventual opposing action (eg. an opponent pushing us)
A note by Master Kongling – Standing stamina is a core practice of Shaolin’s workout (read also Secret Shaolin training tools). In this article, we will deepen the martial aspect but even the benefits related to Qi Gong, health and wellness are endless (read ).
What is it for?
Even if a good dynamic equilibrium is more important than a trained standing stamina, in combat terms, there are a lot of moments where it is fundamental to possess it:
- While controlling an opponent
- While executing a Chin Na technique (read A free home study Chin Na course for beginners)
- While resisting to an attempted throw (read The 3 phases of a throw)
- While pushing (or resisting to a push)
- While transferring the power of the muscle chain (read Use the body power: the muscle chain)
These are all examples of extremely common situations where, in a fight, we could widely benefit from an overwhelming standing stamina capability.
How does it work in combat?
In our school, the application of a good level of standing stamina is not the result of a single factor (eg. muscle strength) but the mixture of body structure, technique, instinct and tactics.
Both in relation to us, both in relation to our opponents, we have to tactically focus on:
- The distribution of relaxation and tension
- The distribution of the weights
- The direction of the strengths
- The elimination / creation of imbalances
- The correction / exploitation of all the small secondary forces that push in the various directions
- The muscle chains in action
- The correction / exploitation of the skeletal alignments (read also Advanced training with the skeleton dummy)
- The positioning of the centers of gravity (read also How to improve balance: tricks and exercises)
- The partial / temporary interactions with the scenario’s elements (walls, trees, people, the ground, etc.)
A note by Master Kongling – As always, in combat, the best result in terms of performances is gained only optimizing the relationship between energies consumed and goal achieved: this simply means that the more we implement methods that allow us to prevail without wasting muscular action, the better we are working.
How to basically train standing stamina
If on one side, its advanced application is not so easy, its training is very simple but it requires a lot of mental strength. To remain still is a more “meditative” practice and patience is strictly required (read Patience).
Let’s see the best exercises’ sequence:
- Train the basic Kung Fu’s stances passing from one to the other cyclically (at normal speed, read )
- Train each Kung Fu stance remaining still but moving our center of gravity up and down, to the right and to the left, forward and backward
- Train each Kung Fu stance remaining perfectly still and balanced (for a minimum of 1 minute)
- Step 1 and 2 at high speed (performing explosive movements)
- Step 1 and 2 at slow motion (more and more slowly)
- Train each Kung Fu stance remaining perfectly still and balanced wearing and / or holding increasing weights (from 1 minute, gradually, to 1 hour, read for example The weighted vest)
- Step 6 with a partner trying to push us away (gradually with a higher and higher power)
A note by Master Kongling – I remember that Grandmaster Jwing Ming (read Yang Jwing Ming: real master) explained that a form of Tai Chi (Taiji), which normally lasts one minute, slowing it down to the maximum, could last up to 1 hour. Performing a form with a constant and precise flow at such a reduced speed is a really great physical, technical and mental workout.
- Even if it should be obvious (and as it happens for all the other Kung Fu’skills, read All the skills of 6 Dragons Kung Fu), even possessing the highest possible level of standing stamina, there is always a limit to what we can resist to (in terms of pushes, etc.)
- Standing stamina teaches patience and patience is one of the best mental skills for a real warrior; it is also a first step toward meditation (read A meditation mini-guide: how to start)
In the next article of this series, we will deepen the tactical aspects related to standing stamina.
In-depth video courses
- Basic 6 Dragons Kung Fu Exercises – The right exercises to build the right martial skills
- Training for balance / rooting: feet on tires – A good exercise for standing stamina (and not only)
- Mobility and balance through the upper limbs – How to implement the arms for balance
Reply in the comments and share your experience:
- How long can you hold on in Ma Bu stance?
Author: Master KonglingFounder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.
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