As I learn more about the human body and what it means to have good posture in both health and martial arts, I have discovered this general theme. It’s a good theme I think, and I think it has many implications outside of either of these categories. It is balance, or neutrality.
First, I want to state what I am NOT talking about. There are many times in life when we need to “clear the center” or take a side, form an opinion, or make a stand as it were. By talking about the importance of neutrality I am NOT saying that we should LIVE in neutral, but only that we should start there. Life is a dynamic experience and the only way to live it is dynamically. We were designed by our Maker to move! But like in so many other aspects of life, if we start wrong, we generally end wrong.
In Xing Yi we occasionally talk about this concept called Wu Ji which means “no poles” in Chinese. This idea of having no extremes has many connotations but one of them I would like to talk about today is posture.
There are many subtle details about posture and I do not intend to discuss them all, but instead, just a general theme… a rule of thumb if you will.
Any time you build a proper posture you have to start at the ground and build up. Your feet are your foundation, and the first neutrality I want to talk about is the feet. More specifically the ankle. Have you ever seen, or maybe you are one, someone who stands with the feet rolled out, or even in? It shouldn’t take much convincing to show that this isn’t a strong or even healthy posture for a person to stand in for any length of time. You have two extremes here, rolled out and rolled in. Either one can lead to muscular imbalance and when the legs are out of balance, the whole body adjusts with it. You should be balanced, or in neutral, neither one pole or the other. This neutral position gives you the freedom to move in any way that life demands, and beginning from that posture strengthens the musculature unilaterally to promote a healthy body from the ground up.
You are less likely to sprain your ankle, and you are far more able to root through feet that are not balanced poorly from bad posture. And we all know, that without a good root you cannot apply power properly.