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Thread: Neutral Bow

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    Default Neutral Bow

    I have gone through several threads regarding the neutral bow. I had a question as far as the line of the feet. If I picture the line running from 12 to 6, and have the toe/heel relationship I feel very narrow when I turn and transition into a forward bow. Is it improper to "thicken the line" so to speak for the toe/heel?

    If I do so, am I putting myself into a biomechanical disadvantage for something else later on I might not realize now?

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    bujuts is offline
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    Default Re: Neutral Bow

    I'm an engineer, so naturally I question a measurement system as much as I question the thing being measured. So, when you're forming this knee-heel line, we should first consider how we get to it:

    1) Rotating on the ball of the rear foot? Inside of the ball of the foot, or middle?
    2) Rotating on the heel of the rear foot?
    3) Rotating the front foot on the ball?
    4) Rotating the front foot on the heel? or
    5) Keeping the front foot on the 45 degree angle?

    Notice that all these generate different depths when you go to measure the depth of the neutral bow.

    I was teaching a (beginning) student of mine and noticed his neutral bow was always too deep. But everytime he went to check it, sure enough he had the proper line (we go center of the knee to center of the heel, shorter than most). It wasn't until I watched him make the measurement did I realize my mistake in teaching - I wasn't specific on he should make the measurement. He was rotating the front foot forward on the heel, whereas rotating on the ball to bring the heel in makes it a little closer. Anyway, regardless of what specific parameters you're taught, I thought it important to address the means of measuring. Call me a nerd

    There depth of the neutral bow affects many things, only one of which is the forward bow, as you mention. Go deeper, as you suggest, and your forward bow may "feel" stronger, but you may lose mobility. Obviously, too deep of stances are wholly unnatural to the design of the human body in its need for efficient movement. So, natural functionality should be a consideration - natural bend in the knees (height parameter), and natural width (the toe heel line has clasically been used as the starting reference point to get the feet approximately under the hips). Ask you instructor, very very specifically, down to 1/4" detail if you can.

    Great topic.

    Steven Brown

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    Default Re: Neutral Bow

    I might have used the wrong description. I am still trying to understand the width vs. depth part of the stance equation.

    Let me try and diagram the part I am talking about..

    _____/
    /

    The "/" represents the front foot and rear foot. and the line is the imaginary line between the toe/heel. I am not concerned so much (as of right now) with how "long" the line is inbetween the feet on the diagram. It is more a question of for lack of a better way to explain it, walking a tightrope or walking a beam with that toe/heel line. If someone wants to give me the definitions I am looking for that would be great. I'm illiterate when it comes to Kenpo terminology.

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    Default Re: Neutral Bow

    Quote Originally Posted by punisher73 View Post
    I might have used the wrong description. I am still trying to understand the width vs. depth part of the stance equation.

    Let me try and diagram the part I am talking about..

    _____/
    /

    The "/" represents the front foot and rear foot. and the line is the imaginary line between the toe/heel. I am not concerned so much (as of right now) with how "long" the line is inbetween the feet on the diagram. It is more a question of for lack of a better way to explain it, walking a tightrope or walking a beam with that toe/heel line. If someone wants to give me the definitions I am looking for that would be great. I'm illiterate when it comes to Kenpo terminology.
    I think you mean:

    Bad guy ______\ 6:00
    ............\


    but I see what your getting at. You're asking about the width of that line going from 12:00 to 6:00. This is basically the width of the stance, and though "toe-heel line" is a good start for beginners (so their feet are roughly in the right spot), its not dental floss. I describe it as a 4x4 post to my students, and the fist (palm to 6:00) makes a pretty good measuring stick. As a test, straddle the line as though it were dental floss and have someone push on you, pay particular attention to how the force puts you on your heels. Then, separate it by a fist's width and try it again.

    This width is important not only for stability in the neutral bow, but mobility from it. Your engagement into a twist stance, forward bow, cat stance, closed kneel, etc. will be predicated on all three dimensions of the neutral bow. You may engage into, through, and from these stances differently than I, so I'll stop the discussion there. But, suffice it to say the parameters of the neutral bow affect everything you do.

    Note in particular the alignment of the body when engaging to other stances, in context the specific width measurement you're taught. Pay attention to which part of the foot is the pivot point (inside of the ball of the foot, center of the ball, or edge), to the positioning of the foot, ankle, knee, and hips. Try your movements against resistance (slowly) and observe what flexor muscles are at play. Lots of stuff in there, its the bread and butter of kenpo, you ask me.

    Great discussion. Look forward to more input.

    Steven Brown

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    Default Re: Neutral Bow

    Thanks alot, that is the input I was looking for. I checked and I was doing the "fist width" and that seemed to feel the best from what I was trying.

    I agree that stance and change into forward bow seems to be in almost all of the things I see so far and wanted to build that foundation right from the start.

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    Default Re: Neutral Bow

    Quote Originally Posted by punisher73 View Post
    I have gone through several threads regarding the neutral bow. I had a question as far as the line of the feet. If I picture the line running from 12 to 6, and have the toe/heel relationship I feel very narrow when I turn and transition into a forward bow. Is it improper to "thicken the line" so to speak for the toe/heel?
    They are different and their purposes are different.

    The purpose of going into a forward bow it to lengthen your line, usually for attack purposes. Paying attention to the inches is not near as important as getting the punch through the target to the necessary depth of penetration.

    Dr. John M. La Tourrette

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    Default Re: Neutral Bow

    Quote Originally Posted by punisher73 View Post
    I have gone through several threads regarding the neutral bow. I had a question as far as the line of the feet. If I picture the line running from 12 to 6, and have the toe/heel relationship I feel very narrow when I turn and transition into a forward bow. Is it improper to "thicken the line" so to speak for the toe/heel?

    If I do so, am I putting myself into a biomechanical disadvantage for something else later on I might not realize now?
    IMO, the 12/6 line isn't what you'd use for a NB or FB for that matter. Seems like the 11/5 line would work better.

    Mike

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    Default Re: Neutral Bow

    Quote Originally Posted by MJS View Post
    IMO, the 12/6 line isn't what you'd use for a NB or FB for that matter. Seems like the 11/5 line would work better.

    Mike
    Yep,

    Depending of course on where your opponent or opponents are on the clock, and how long you want to wait. I consider a NB a waiting stance and NOT a movement stance so we therefore do it out of range of anyone.

    Of course it can be easily and quickly turned into an "speed accelerator" stance by doing a couple of real simple things.

    Dr. John M. La Tourrette

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