Friday, March 18, 2016

Taking a stance on stances.

For those of you who may not have met me in person, I am what I like to call "wee," and what most people call, "short." I am barely over 5' tall, and honestly don't have much of a reach when it comes to punching.

Occasionally this can be an issue.. primarily when I'm fighting someone significantly taller than I am. Because I'm smaller, often my kicking range is similar to a "normal" person's punching range. As a result I've developed a stance that helps me to keep people at bay by allowing me to more easily kick and keep people the hell away from my face and torso.

My Current Stance

For the record, I'm the one on the right.

Now, those of you that have studied "traditional" martial arts will probably recognize the stance pretty quickly... it's a kind of modified "cat" or "tiger" stance. The beauty of the cat stance is that it allows you to leave your front leg free to kick and distance people, but with a slight shifting of your weight, you are now free to use the back leg and/or strike with the hands. If I'm fighting someone significantly larger than me, I will almost immediately fall back into this stance without thinking about it.

HOWEVER... it's not a great boxing stance. In this instance, my MMA instructor wanted all of us to spar so he could see where we are currently. Let's just say, I didn't land a lot of hits. 

What I'm Working On

Now, your boxing stance is a different matter all together. Hands are up at the face, shoulders are more squared towards your opponent, feet are hip distance apart (and facing the same direction), and—most significantly for me—weight is forward, making your head almost even with your lead foot.

For someone wee—like myself—this poses a problem. I don't have reach, so I am naturally reluctant to lean forward and give someone a nice target to punch. If you're quick, you can use the duck/bob method to keep yourself from getting hit while staying in range--but if not... you might want to start practicing your blocks.

Why is this important?

Well, you need to know what works for you well before you are in a situation where you are going to have to fight. If you are someone who is small, it's good to know HOW to box, and the principles of fighting. I spend a lot of time in JKD working on my blocks and legwork--but not as much on my strikes as I could have. Thus, I'm now working on my strikes by taking MMA and Escrima. It's not to say we don't kick... in fact we do a LOT of Thai kicks. But I know I need to work more on my boxing because eventually, I may have to fight someone who knows how to box, and as good as my kicks may be, if I get one good hit to the head, it's all done.

If you don't believe that knowing other styles (and how they fight) is important--ask an MMA fighter who does real matches. Getting too comfortable with one method of fighting will eventually lead to disaster because there are so many different ways someone can fight, and after a while you just get TOO comfortable in your ability to win. 

Remember: the thing about stances is that you can always change them if you need to.