Balance, stance and structure are all important concepts in the martial arts. When you take your attacker’s balance, shift them out of their stance and compromise their structure, you can more easily throw them, take them to the ground, draw them into locks/submissions, etc. Conversely, by maintaining strong stance and structure, you apply locks, throws, strikes, etc with greater efficiency making them easier to apply with less effort.
One way we like to emphasize these concepts in our classes is by playing balance breaking games in stances like horse stance and forward stance. These help students understand the give and take of balance stance and structure and its relevance to the martial arts. Watch the video below to see how we play these games.
You can add other elements to this to make it more interesting. You can give punishments to the losers or “prizes” to the winners, by way of push-ups, stomach crunches, burpees or jumping jacks. I usually like to punish ties in this way to try to make students work harder for their points, but I like to mix things up a bit to keep people on their toes. A good variation when people have a bit more experience is to do it with eyes closed, you just have to make sure the students play safely without any explosive movements.
Do you have any games you like to play to teach students how to maintain good stance and structure or to take the balance of their opponents? Please share them in the comments.