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Thread: Stance Set: WHY so late??

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    Default Stance Set: WHY so late??

    Just a quick question here:
    Why is it, do you think, that "Stance Set I" comes to us several belt levels into the system when stances are of SUCH importance to the practitioner? I don't know about you, but stances are one of the first things that I emphasize in a new students progress.

    I don't think that much of anything in the curriculum that Mr. Parker devised was done haphazardly...
    but I can't figure out why this set, of such an important lesson/element, comes so late in the curriculum.

    ...any ideas?

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    Default Re: Stance Set: WHY so late??

    At our school, Stance Set 1 is on the Orange Belt chart ~ required for promotion to Purple belt. If a student is attending a "normal" class schedule, they will be taught the Stance Set near the end of their first year of training.

    Prior to learning Stance Set 1, the student will have completed Short 1 and Long 1 (Neutral and Forward Bow stances, mostly, right?); the Star Block Set (Block Set 1), and Striking Set 1 (Both of which are executed from a training horse).

    At the same time as the presentation of the Stance Set, the student learns Short Form 2 and the Coordination Set 1. Short Form 2 introduces the Cat Stance, and the Kneel Stance.

    The Student does not get introduced to the Twist Through Stances until Long Form 2. And, the next Set learned in our studio, is again, a Training Horse Set ~ Finger Set 1.

    Our school runs a slightly modified 16 Technique per Belt system. Each belt level also requires a Form and one or two sets. Placing the upper body isolated Sets first does make sense. Most students are going to have challenges co-ordinating the upper and lower body in their earliest days of study; even if they are introduced to the idea in the forms.

    You ask why the study comes so late in the curriculum. I would suggest that we look at the Stance Set 1 (and in our school the accompanying Coordination Set 1) as the culmination of the students first year of study. It is their promotion to the middle belt levels. (Although this argument is equally valid at the end of Purple, I suppose).

    Again, let's take a look at "1" sets in the curriculum (alphabetical order).
    • Blocking Set 1 - upper body movement
    • Coordination Set 1 - lower and upper body movement
    • Finger Set 1 - upper body movement
    • Stance Set 1 - lower body movement
    • Striking Set 1 - upper body movement
    If you try to arrange a logical order for these sets, when dealing with new students, the one change I might make, is to have the Finger Set before the Stance Set. This would put all of the upper body Sets before the lower body Set. (Just as there are no kicks until Long 2). However, the Finger Set teaches us the "inserts" in the system; I suppose because of this 'sneaky application' factor, having it as the last isolated body set does make a little bit of sense.

    From that listing of the "1" sets ... why would you put the Blocking Set, or Striking Set after the Stance Set?

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    Default Re: Stance Set: WHY so late??

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother John View Post
    Just a quick question here:
    Why is it, do you think, that "Stance Set I" comes to us several belt levels into the system when stances are of SUCH importance to the practitioner? I don't know about you, but stances are one of the first things that I emphasize in a new students progress.

    I don't think that much of anything in the curriculum that Mr. Parker devised was done haphazardly...
    but I can't figure out why this set, of such an important lesson/element, comes so late in the curriculum.

    ...any ideas?

    Your Brother
    John
    My "common sense" answer? I think it was because most of us as begginers (myself included) could not walk and chew bubblegum at the same time. lol I really think the curriculum would be better served having Stance Set long before Kicking Set.

    The real answer? Probably have to have someone like Mr. Conatser or Doc Chapel or one of the old timers answer that one.
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    Default Re: Stance Set: WHY so late??

    I'm going to echo Hunter here. As a side example, our system often introduces kicks in a technique in the belt before they are one of the required kicks. Introducing a concept and giving the student a chance to get used to it isn't a bad idea before isolating it and putting them in a position to perfect it for that level.

    The real answer again, as Hunter said, is going to require someone with more decades of kenpo under their belt.
    Be careful what you say, some may take it the wrong way.

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    Default Re: Stance Set: WHY so late??

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother John View Post
    Just a quick question here:
    Why is it, do you think, that "Stance Set I" comes to us several belt levels into the system when stances are of SUCH importance to the practitioner? I don't know about you, but stances are one of the first things that I emphasize in a new students progress.

    I don't think that much of anything in the curriculum that Mr. Parker devised was done haphazardly...
    but I can't figure out why this set, of such an important lesson/element, comes so late in the curriculum.

    ...any ideas?

    Your Brother
    John
    Why practice a whole set of bad stances? Learn them, do them well, then learn a set.
    sean

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    Default Re: Stance Set: WHY so late??

    *shrug* we dont require it, but i learned Stance Set 2 last year (why not, at orange you're already doing the stances, aside from the diamond and concave stances).. at least the first part. all the way to the crossover, right and left side.
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    Default Re: Stance Set: WHY so late??

    Quote Originally Posted by jdinca View Post
    I'm going to echo Hunter here. As a side example, our system often introduces kicks in a technique in the belt before they are one of the required kicks. Introducing a concept and giving the student a chance to get used to it isn't a bad idea before isolating it and putting them in a position to perfect it for that level.
    We do it backwards from this. We teach them to do a decent side-kick before we teach them a technique using the side-kick, for example.

    We don't use the stance set (we're not AK) but if we did I would teach it at the earliest level. Bottom-up.
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    Default Re: Stance Set: WHY so late??

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidCC View Post
    We do it backwards from this. We teach them to do a decent side-kick before we teach them a technique using the side-kick, for example.

    We don't use the stance set (we're not AK) but if we did I would teach it at the earliest level. Bottom-up.
    I can see the benefits of both methods. We don't do stance set, either.
    Be careful what you say, some may take it the wrong way.

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    Default Re: Stance Set: WHY so late??

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother John View Post
    Just a quick question here:
    Why is it, do you think, that "Stance Set I" comes to us several belt levels into the system when stances are of SUCH importance to the practitioner? I don't know about you, but stances are one of the first things that I emphasize in a new students progress.

    I don't think that much of anything in the curriculum that Mr. Parker devised was done haphazardly...
    but I can't figure out why this set, of such an important lesson/element, comes so late in the curriculum.
    ...any ideas?
    The "system" was put together with mutiple contributions from many sources, and evolved and de-evolved over time with business and attracting and maintaining customers being a primary goal. Doesn't mean there isn't some good things there, but the "commercial system" is an "advisory (Big Red) guideline" that instructors were supposed to make sense of. Parker never mandated anything or any order. An instructor with smarts would teach stances first, (duh!) but Parker knew this would be "boring" to a beginner, and might cause them to prematurely drop out. Thus, most of the commercial schools began teaching technique right away to enhance retention. It's not a bad system, but most of its teachers are. keep it in context. "A bored student is a gone student." - Ed Parker
    "Nothing is more dangerous than the conscientiously ignorant, or the sincerely stupid." - Martin Luther King Jr.

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    Default Re: Stance Set: WHY so late??

    My instinctual reply would be since Stance Set 1 is taught around Orange or Purple belt, it coincides with the technique list as to when stances become more sophisticated. It's not because stances aren't previously as important, but Stance Set 1 involves some semi-sophisticated footwork and more abstract stances (twists, etc.) compared to previous curriculum. This is put into the Ideal world of Sets and Forms the same time it's introduced more into your techniques.

    -Brian

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    Default Re: Stance Set: WHY so late??

    I would agree that it does appear a bit late in "the curriculum", whatever that is, in that by orange or purple a student should have a very solid basis of all the stances and transitions already. So to confine them to a set pattern is in my mind counterproductive.

    This assumes, of course, that those transitions and stances are utterly solid. I am of one those that feel that yellow through purple or so should be spent in years, not months, and stance work should be one of few things that should define the core of a student's practice. True, practicing stances and transitions will get boring for those early students lacking the insight to understand their application, so a Stance Set provides a discrete routine for regular performance, check-able on a curriculum worksheet, if the teacher fails to venture beyond "what the technique uses".

    In so far that foot work is obviously to provide mechanical structure, it also establishes direction of the body. After dealing with an initial assault, our attack is predicated on what we need to do (not "what the technique says"), so proactivity is key, in my mind. Once a students' transitions are solid then, I'll start a few drills whereby they transition in directions of their choosing. Neutral bow, twist, thread the knee, concave stance, snapping buckle, twist, neutral bow, rear cross over, concave, kick, neutral bow, forward bow, closed kneel twist, kick, etc... Their arms stay out of the fray, just cover the outer rim, and allow the feet to the activity. It amounts to "walking" kenpo, and can be done within the confines of their own personal physical space. I do this all the time, not just on the mats, and encourage them to do the same.

    Good topic, look forward to more.

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    Default Re: Stance Set: WHY so late??

    Brother John, I've wondered the same thing. When children are in school, they don't learn to formulate sentences before they learn the alphabet.

    I struggle with my stances still and cannot help but to feel that, if I had learned the stance set first, my stances would now look better.

    I can see Doc's point on the marketing necessities but, would it have been so hard to put stance set I and blocking set I in the yellow belt requirements? I wouldn't have thought so.

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    Default Re: Stance Set: WHY so late??

    Quote Originally Posted by SpiralOfOurDiv View Post
    My instinctual reply would be since Stance Set 1 is taught around Orange or Purple belt, it coincides with the technique list as to when stances become more sophisticated. It's not because stances aren't previously as important, but Stance Set 1 involves some semi-sophisticated footwork and more abstract stances (twists, etc.) compared to previous curriculum. This is put into the Ideal world of Sets and Forms the same time it's introduced more into your techniques.

    -Brian
    There may be something too that Brian..
    but I don't think that the majority of Stance Set I is very sophisticated.
    The footwork requirements (Stances & Foot Manuevers) of the first couple of belts goes beyond the info contained in Stance Set I, so I agree w/ Doc & the others here.... doing Stance Set I at this point is a little bit of a step backwards.

    An idea I like, but mind you........I'm HEAVILY BIASED IN THIS........is what my own instructor would do with his classes. He's simply warm the students up by getting them in line and calling out stances and foot manuevers as they went, just to get the motion going and get the blood flowing.... The trick of it is though that they weren't aware that the exact sequence they were doing was 80% of stance set I. So when he went to teach them Stance Set I....it was almost finished before he began. Mr. Taylor placed a lot of emphasis on the importance of GOOD, consistently solid, footwork!!!
    ...and I'm forever greatful, though no where perfect!

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    Default Re: Stance Set: WHY so late??

    When I look at stance set 1, I first think of what is the # 1 purpose of the student joining a self defense program.

    I don't know but I think it may be ( Don't get hit)
    So there is Blocking Set 1.

    Then there is ( I can't just keep blocking, for in time I will get hit)
    So I must create Distance, and learn how to counter.
    Short Form 1, Long Form 1 ( This also reinforces the major factor blocks of Blocking Set 1). This works 4 of the 8 angles of attack.

    Then there is I cant move back during the attack( So I must go forward, block and counter) Short 2,Long 2 ( 8 angles of attack)

    Now the question is how does one drill this concept with just Isolating the lower platform.

    Stance Set 1.

    Just my thoughts
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    Default Re: Stance Set: WHY so late??

    I agree with a lot of the points that are made on this thread. One point I haven't seen spelled out is that USUALLY (there are exceptions) a person doesn't really recognize the importance of stance until a little later in their training.

    When someone starts they want "self-defense" and the upper body things. Then when they start to grasp that they realize how tied in the lower body is to that and start to seek the lower body component.

    So I think maybe it's a combo of stances are boring to newbies and also that newbies will recognize the importance later and will look to the stance set at that time to supplement their training. Also, with other training under their belt they will start to associate the transitions with other movements and see the purpose and importance of why the stance set shows what it does, as opposed to "random" stances and movements that don't have a meaning.

    I can only base this on my experience that even though stances were drilled from the beginning for me, it wasn't until later that I wanted to "get" the stances for myself and really worked on making them my own.
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    Default Re: Stance Set: WHY so late??

    Quote Originally Posted by punisher73 View Post
    So I think maybe it's a combo of stances are boring to newbies and also that newbies will recognize the importance later and will look to the stance set at that time to supplement their training. Also, with other training under their belt they will start to associate the transitions with other movements and see the purpose and importance of why the stance set shows what it does, as opposed to "random" stances and movements that don't have a meaning.
    I'd agree except that, in general, the advanced belt stance don't get any better. once they are immersed in the "quick technique" philosophy, it becomes a race to add more to their "arsenal," rather than perfect the basics that make the arsenal work. Everyone speaks of the importance of basics and stances, few understand them. I have never gone to a school and seen stances and transitions executed correctly. Some have even suggested stances should be 'loose' and you don't really need to get into the stance.

    Day one, I teach our beginning stance set. To suggest you are going to teach someone to move, block, strike, without a solid foundation of stances and expect them to be effective would be ludicrous, yet I see mucho red stripe black belts who do not know how to do the simplest drag-step. Oh well.
    Last edited by Doc; 01-25-2008 at 05:05 PM.
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    Default Re: Stance Set: WHY so late??

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother John View Post
    Stance Set I at this point is a little bit of a step backwards.


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    Default Re: Stance Set: WHY so late??

    During training when are students allowed to open their hands when they move? when in a neutral bow/fighting stance... At my school its when one tests for brown. This idea would apply here too. To be able to coordinate your body/feet and your hands simultaneously... it may sound easy but i would say otherwise.

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    Default Re: Stance Set: WHY so late??

    Quote Originally Posted by SpiralOfOurDiv View Post
    My instinctual reply would be since Stance Set 1 is taught around Orange or Purple belt, it coincides with the technique list as to when stances become more sophisticated. It's not because stances aren't previously as important, but Stance Set 1 involves some semi-sophisticated footwork and more abstract stances (twists, etc.) compared to previous curriculum. This is put into the Ideal world of Sets and Forms the same time it's introduced more into your techniques.

    -Brian
    Stances taught properly are sophisticated from the beginning. To begin teaching techniques that are supposed to be functional, and work on stances later is a recipe for disaster. Stepping and moving in any stance requires a significant level of knowledge to teach properly without sacrificing accrued structural integrity in human anatomy.
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    Default Re: Stance Set: WHY so late??

    Quote Originally Posted by AkdmkZ View Post
    During training when are students allowed to open their hands when they move? when in a neutral bow/fighting stance... At my school its when one tests for brown. This idea would apply here too. To be able to coordinate your body/feet and your hands simultaneously... it may sound easy but i would say otherwise.
    What?
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