Basic Fighter Principles – Balance

Sensei Post in Training notes

Why do we fight? This is an age old question that I will not attempt to answer here! Combat training or sparring does have numerous benefits beyond learning to fight. Since most students are not interested in fighting I thought it prudent to enumerate the reasons we as Martial Artists engage in combat training. There are many practical benefits of combat training as they contribute greatly to our strength, flexibility, balance and cardio-endurance or fitness. From a psychological view point combat training builds courage, confidence, self-discipline, and camaraderie.
There are basic principles that the hand-to-hand fighter must know and apply to successfully defeat an opponent. The following is what I hope will be the first in a series of such training notes and methods, but bare in mind these are only notes and should be used as guidelines to increase your understanding of hand-to-hand combat techniques and issues. As we progress from unskilled to seasoned fighter this information becomes intuitive and second nature. In this series we will cover 6 basic principles, this being the first.
Topic: Balance
Physical Balance – Balance refers to the ability to maintain equilibrium and to remain in a stable, upright position. A hand-to-hand fighter must maintain his balance both to defend himself and to launch an effective attack. Without balance, the fighter has no stability with which to defend himself, nor does he have a base of power for an attack. The fighter must understand two aspects of balance in a struggle:

    1 – How to move his body to keep or regain his own balance. A fighter develops balance through experience, but usually he keeps his feet about shoulder-width apart and his knees flexed. He lowers his center of gravity to increase stability. I always tell my students that the person who can maintain the lowest stance often gains the advantage.

    2 – How to exploit weaknesses in his opponent’s balance. Experience also gives the hand-to-hand fighter a sense of how to move his body in a fight to maintain his balance while exposing the enemy’s weak points.

Mental Balance – The successful fighter must also maintain a mental balance. He must not allow fear or anger to overcome his ability to concentrate or to react instinctively in hand-to-hand combat. Combat training is as intensely mentally challenging as it is physical. The more expereinced you become the more situational awareness you gain allowing you to better defend yourself and exploit your opponents weaknesses.

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