We Start With A Stance…

One of the most essential elements to the practice and application of Ving Tsun Kuen is its  traditional stance known as Yi Ji Kim Yeung Ma, or  “Two Adduction/Goat Gripping Stance”. The skeletal alignment along with the supportive muscular network that’s involved,  provide a higher degree of stability, balance, control, and explosiveness. Our aim is always to begin and finish in the same fashion – within the realm of our own control.

When we begin to perform the establishment of Yi Ji Kim Yeung Ma we can start with our feet standing within our shoulder width. The spine is meant to be set into a neutral condition by having drawn the base of the occipital bone (back of skull) upwards which will naturally draw and tuck the chin slightly down and inwards. This will have activated the spinal erector muscles through the neck and down into the thoracic musculature for bracing and stabilization. The mind’s attention can then be placed upon the sacrum and coccyx (tailbone). We visualize the act of drawing the coccyx forward until the activation of the lower lumbar and abdomen muscles along with the glutes, hamstrings, calves and Achilles tendons begin to feel a “drawing up” and forward into a kind of stretched tension. This will all naturally “soften” the area of the quads surrounding the knee joint to allow for the start of a triangulated position.As always, the alignment of our spine ought to remain in the middle of our heels during the entirety of this procedure.

Now that we have established this recruited state, we will begin to add a minor dynamic process by pivoting our feet outwards through the heels to an approximated 30 degree angle before planting through the balls of our feet momentarily to complete a final pivot with an internal angle of 15 degrees. This ought to have placed our Yi Ji Kim Yeung Ma in position with the large toe of each foot pointing inward and forward, helping to create the formation resembling an equilateral triangle. The distance now set between the heels should act as a constant indicator for approximating the most economical placement of our baseline. This remains true even with the addition of forward, backward, and lateral stepping. The triangulated arrangement in the stance provides not only a structure from which we can remain standing stably but also contributes to the production and recycling of energy and power.

The flexible and adaptive nature of the body allows for these concepts to manifest with more accuracy to their meaning and purpose through solo, partnered, and tool based drills(ie.Wooden Dummy, Long Pole, etc). Several main concepts that help to coordinate with the stance are referred to as Lik Chung Dei Hei (“Power Comes From Ground”), Lat Sau Jik Jeung (“..when free of obstruction, attack instinctively”), and Je Lik (stealing/borrowing power).

This newly applied condition we have now set upon the body can start to be appreciated and understood to reflect the concept of Yi Ji Kim Yeung Ma more completely.  The body and the concepts are not mutually exclusive. The concepts are a collection of experiences that reflect the body’s combative potential. This is true for all corresponding concepts/maxims throughout the system.

We will begin to explore the nature and purpose of Mai Jaang (Sunken/Buried Elbow) in the next entry. Until then, be sure to explore and experiment with your Yi Ji Kim Yeung Ma.

Happy training!

– Sifu Brandon Schlueter-Cat