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Horse Posture

Emblem for the Earth Method of Internal Martial Art Practice

Practicing Horse Posture against a Wall

Traditional internal martial art teaching includes a low and wide stance known as Ma Bu, or Horse Stance. This stance develops leg strength, or rootedness. In the Earth Dragon Canon method, we abandon wide and deep stances for proper alignment and function. This does not mean we can abandon leg strength.

We need a posture that can engage our leg muscles functionally without dedicating hours to just standing around. My version of the Horse Posture is like the Bear Posture, but against a wall and standing up.

Find a sturdy wall and stand with your heels, buttocks, back, and head against it.

Preparation for Horse Posture.
Preparation for Horse Posture.

Step out from the wall about two-foot-lengths.

Stepping out for Horse Posture.
Stepping out for Horse Posture.

Slide your back down the wall until your thighs are flat. There should be two 90-degree angles, one from the knees to the thighs, and the other from the thighs to your hips and back. Your feet are flat on the floor with the toes pointing straight ahead. Do not push back into the wall more than you need to keep you upright. Lay your hands on your thighs with the palms facing up and relax the shoulders.

Horse Posture against the Wall
Horse Posture against the Wall

I practice barefoot. You may want to wear some shoes with a good grip to prevent your feet from sliding.

Hold this position for up to three minutes or 45 breaths. It is a challenge. When finished, slide back up the wall and get your feet under you before you stand up. As tempting as it will be, do not run for the nearest chair to sit. Walk around for a few minutes, paying attention to how your legs feel now that you have reengaged the thighs.

The old masters were trying to encourage the same result with low and deep Ma Bu stances. Standing in any of the postures presented here for an extended time would reengage the leg muscles. This version of the Horse Posture is a shortcut that accomplishes the same thing.

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