Self-Defense: Stances, Footwork and Move

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Steve Weber

Special to the Nugget

Whether teaching a formal Aikido class, a Law Enforcement Defensive Tactics class, or an informal self-defense class, I always begin by emphasizing the importance of balance and footwork. Every athletic endeavor requires an understanding of the proper body movement, weight shifting, and coordination necessary to accomplish a particular physical task. The intimate nature (one on one contact) of Martial Arts training makes this understanding essential.

Let us start with stances. Your mere presence at the time of contact with an aggressive threat will often have a profound influence on the outcome. Without correct posture and a stable projection of power, you reduce the opportunity to gain advantage over an adversary. There are countless styles of Martial Arts with their accompanying variations of stances, so I will filter them down to the few most commonly shared stances. These stances include the: Front stance, Back stance, Horse stance, Hanmi stance (L, J, T, and reverse L or J and they can also be extended), and Fighting stances of all types that are comfortable and fitting to the user. Depth (front to back) and body angle (foot placement) are an expression of individual taste. Simply put – do what works best for you. Regardless of choice, all stances should balance upper body weight over the hips equally. Planting your feet in such a way that it takes two moves instead of one to respond to an attack impedes your mobility. Why create such a disadvantage by maintaining a weak posture of your own making? Your adversary, if trained, will certainly attempt to unbalance you anyway he can. Do not unknowingly help him.

For street confrontations, I prefer what I call “a no stance.” By that, I mean, to not present any recognizable Martial stance, while still keeping a balanced, feet shoulder width apart, light on my feet posture. Keep your opponent guessing!

Mr. Weber is the chief instructor at the Aikido Academy of Self-Defense located at 16134 N. Oracle Rd., in Catalina. He has more than 45 years of experience in the Martial Arts and has achieved skills in a variety of disciplines. He also teaches Tai-Chi on Saturday from 9 to 10 a.m.

Please call (520) 825-8500 for information regarding these and other programs. If you wish, check out the website at www.AikidoAcademyOfArizona.com.

Steve Weber (22 Posts)

Mr. Weber is the chief instructor at the Aikido Academy of Self-Defense located at 16134 N. Oracle Rd., in Catalina. He has more than 45 years of experience in the Martial Arts and has achieved skills in a variety of disciplines. He also teaches Tai-Chi on Saturday from 9 to 10 a.m. Please call (520) 825-8500 for information regarding these and other programs. If you wish, check out the website at www.AikidoAcademyOfArizona.com.


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