The Wing Chun Stance: Power in Stability
by: C.Seamus Hermoso
Wouldn’t it surprise you to see a 130 pound man overpower a 250 pound bulky muscled wrestler/bodybuilder? Or a thin, petite girl beat up some basketball jocks 4-6 inches taller and 50 pounds heavier than her? Seems absurd? It does happen.
Where did all that power come from you ask? Hard to imagine something small carrying a heavy load huh?
Well think of a 10 pound car jack lifting up a 1500-1800 kilogram car. Easier to grasp right?
The power of the car jack comes from its solid foundation and grip on the earth. It is gravity, or the earth’s own power at it’s disposal. That same concept is the concept of the Wing Chun stance, called the horse.
Toes pointing inward, knees slightly bent, thighs together, buttocks tucked in, torso straight, yet relaxed.
To some it may look dorky or not as badass like the Karate, Taekwondo or boxing stance. But the horse was designed not to look pretty or intimidating but to give the right stability and allow your firm hold of the ground at your feet. Once the horse is turned into the fighting stance, it provides you with the force to perform covers, traps and of course, to strike with power.
In our class we always try to stay on the basic horse during exercises, particularly when doing the Siu Lim Tau first form. This instills the proper weight balance so that when the basic horse is turned into the fighting stance, we maintain that stability. Almost all movements of Wing Chun rely on the horse, as Sifu Yuri often says, if you haven’t perfected your horse, the other movements would suffer. Everything starts at stability.
I am always being reminded to “sit” on my horse, meaning to stay closer to the ground. The horse takes some time getting used to, you will definitely ache after your first day of being on the horse for 2-3 hours.
Stability means you cannot be pushed or pulled as easily, hence you cannot fall down. Stability means you are aware that you are grounded, hence you are balanced, rooted and prepared for whatever external force that comes your way.
As with life, it is in stability that we draw our power. We cannot learn new things if your basic knowledge isn’t stable. You cannot ascend the corporate ladder if you are not stable with your own career and performance. You cannot play full court basketball if you’re not stable in your dribbling and ball handling. You cannot move on to marriage if your relationship hasn’t maintained stability.
I am now working on perfecting my Wing Chun horse at the same time it parallels my attempts in life to have a sense of stability, career wise and relationship wise. I am being reminded by Sifu to “sit” on my horse, at the same time I remind myself to stay grounded and be humble in life.
After all, as what Wing Chun teaches, if you perfect that stability, be aware that you are rooted and grounded, then everything else will just flow with power.