In the beginning of what we call the Shaolin art of Quanfa there were nine exercises. These nine exercises were the original muscle and tendon changing exercises. At first these were basic static exercises and as time went on they grew into 12 postures and then 18 postures and from that point through a process of expansion and variation we have the received art which has changed and modified countless times over the years.
One of the original and most important postures (stances) is known as the balance stance also known as the Crane stance for its resemblance of a Crane. Here the arms are extended outward for help in balance. This is a variation as the initial posture was practiced by wrapping both arms around the knee and chin area of the leg and pulling the thigh tight into the upper torso.
There are many variations as to what to do with the hands in this posture including practicing basic blocks and punches and also more advanced maneuvers while remaining in the balance stance, but the clear and most important purpose is to develop balance on one leg. The better your balance on a single leg, the better your stability and ultimately your power and accuracy with using your various kicking styles.
- First it is most important to develop a good foot-hold so begin by holding the posture for a count of 10 and then 15 and then 30 seconds and so forth. An additional way to do this is to count your breaths; 5 breaths, 10 breaths and so forth until you reach 49 breaths. The is the limit-goal in the Muscle-Tendon changing exercise.
- Be sure not to avert your gaze or move your eyes side to side, this will effect your balance and make balance more difficult.
- After using the arms outstretched for balance change the formation and wrap your hands around the raised leg and pull it toward your body and continue the above exercises.
- Once you can do this easily then practice changing your orientation from north to south, west to east with a single elegant movement and without losing balance. Foot placement when turning is important to consider.
- Finally the exercise can be practice by leaping in the manner of dodging left and right and perfect your balance and stability during this phase of your training. As comfort level increases kicks may then be added