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The correct position of the bow / arrow (gong bu)


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News > 6 Dragons Kung Fu

The correct position of the bow / arrow (gong bu)

What is gong bu?

In Kung Fu there are several versions of the "arrow stance" (gong bu, or deng shan bu or mountain stance or mountain climbing stance), the one that we are going to describe has much in common with those of Tai Chi ones but, to avoid confusion (discussions and overlaps), we only correlate it to 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

The advantages of this stance are various, both in terms of training, both in terms of struggle:

It gives us great stability and balance (rooting, read Kung Fu rooting: the pyramid concept)

It allows us to gradually strengthen our body (standing stamina, especially for lower limbs)

It teaches us patience (with the time, we should be able to hold the stance for more than an hour)

It teaches us to maintain a low posture (useful in various situations of struggle)

It helps our tendons transformation process (read Conditioning check for flexibility)

It is perfect to execute a push movement (as it happens in Tai Chi) and / or to resist to it


How to perform the arrow stance

Now let's see how to take the correct bow / arrow stance in 6 Dragons Kung Fu:

Let's start from a normal standing position (imagining an opponent exactly in front of us)

Maintaining the trunk-head aligned and straight (the blue vertical line in the photo), let's move one foot a step forward (the left leg in the photo)

Let's start with a length of a normal step (as in the photo in light green) to evolve then, with the practice, lowering the stance (in dark green); it is useless to make a low stance if our legs are not trained to manage it dynamically (if we want to reach the best results, let's be gradual or we will become slow)

Whatever the height / length of our position, the calf of the forward leg (in white in the photo) must be perpendicular to the ground and parallel to our gravity line (the blue vertical line, read How to improve balance: tricks and exercises)

To have a simple initial "reference", let's make sure that when we look at the toes of the forward leg, we must see them aligned to the shape of the knee

Both feet must be firmly planted on the ground and the forward loaded with 60% of our weight (80% for a low stance)

The foot of the forward leg must look internally of a minimum of 15° for combat, 45° for rooting to a maximum of 90° for training

The heel of the back foot "pushes" backward following the position (the back foot must be disposed at 45°) and the knee is slightly bent

The waist must rotate on the Y-axis in the outward direction to return to look at our imaginary opponent

In the harder version, the heels should be distant from each other at least 2 times the width of our shoulders (excluding arms, the same opening of ma bu, read The correct position of the rider (ma bu))

In the harder version, we have to position the frontal thigh so that it is as much as possible parallel to the ground (at the beginning it's very hard)

In the harder versions, the frontal knee is bent at 90° (as much as possible)

We have to bend our arms and move them to the hips (or just above)

We have to close our fists and rotate them upwards (the back of the hands look downward, parallel to the ground)

The shoulders are wide open, gently stretched horizontally (but relaxed vertically)

The back, the neck and the head are well straight (they all stay in the blue vertical line of gravity)

We have to imagine that our head is hanging by a thread (at its superior center point)

The pelvis is facing up (the belly rotate upward) and the abdomen slightly compress

The buttocks are tightened (that's where we need to flow much of the effort) and must not be facing outwards

In no case the legs are crossed, this would compromise completely our equilibrium; ideally, the tip of the front foot and the bottom, of the back foot touch the same line (the horizontal blue one that crosses through our line of gravity)

The whole body is arranged in a as much as possible natural and fully balanced manner (after a few months, we should start to feel it as "comfortable")

As we have seen, in 6 Dragons Kung Fu we distinguish also sub-positions (we will see them):

Training gong bu (the hardest, wider opening, frontal knee more bent, frontal thigh parallel to the ground, frontal feet at 90°)

Low gong bu (hard, wider opening, frontal knee at 90°, frontal thigh parallel to the ground and frontal feet at 45°)

Practical gong bu (easier, much narrower opening, frontal knee less bent and frontal feet at 15°, as in the photo)

Final notes

Let's see now some advice and tips:

The first approach is tremendous, it will be painful and difficult to maintain this pose even for a few seconds (pain in the thighs, ankles, etc.)

Let's try to proceed gradually in order to accustom our bodies day by day

Let's use a mirror to check the quality of our bow / arrow stance

The first few times we can lean our hands on the frontal knee (but let's do not get used to it)

In the best execution, it should be possible to put a bowl of water on our frontal thigh without spilling its content

At an intermediate level is a good idea is to try to eat, study, meditate or do other things in this position; this way:

Do not be bored by the practice

Forget the feeling of pain

We can gradually transform a hurting position in a rest position

Do not waste our (precious) training time

When we improve we can start holding (in hand, on the shoulders, forearms, or thighs) weight gradually bigger (more about this later).

In-depth video courses

Basic free hand fighting techniques - The fundamental combat techniques of 6 Dragons Kung Fu

Basic 6 Dragons Kung Fu Exercises - How to develop the core capabilities of 6 Dragons Kung Fu

In-depth articles

Training for balance / rooting: feet on tires - This is a perfect exercise to improve the quality of our Kung Fu stances

The concept of Dynamic Equilibrium - The second type of equilibrium in 6DKF


Reply in the comments and share your experience:

Where are you feeling more discomfort / pain?

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