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Of all of our stances the Goat Stance, Y.C.K.Y.Mah, is the least stable and the least suited for accepting force

What do we mean by stability.

To most students stability is the ability to stay still or remain in place, such as maintaining our Y.C.K.Y. Mah stance {Goat Grabbing Stance or Goat Stance} against pressure while playing Chi Sau, this is very much the IDEA that comes through when training in the First Form.

But is this the only way to look at stability, is it even the correct way when we are talking about dynamic, antagonistic situations?

Stability is also defined as “the property of a body that causes it when disturbed from a condition of equilibrium or steady motion to develop forces or moments that restore the original condition”.

From a dynamic antagonistic perspective “to come back to the original position from a condition of steady motion” begins to make stability look a great deal more like a product of Chum Kiu than a product of the First Form.

Sometimes looking at what we do from a purely mechanical perspective can give us a clear indication of what we should be doing instead of just doing what we have been told or what we think we are meant to do.

What are the requirements for stability?

The things that have a great impact on stability are the height of the Centre of Gravity {CoG}, the size of the base of support {in our case the width of the feet}, the orientation to the line of force and the weight of the object.

We cannot do much about our weight { we can of course borrow weight from our opponent / partner but that is a different topic} but we can easily and readily adjust the height of our CoG, the size of our base of support and our orientation to the line of force.

The lower the CoG, the larger the base of support {width of the feet} the greater the stability, the higher the CoG, the smaller the base of support stability is diminished.

If we compare the Goat Stance of the First Form with the Front Stance from the Chum Kiu we find that the Goat Stance has a higher CoG and a much smaller base of support than the Front Stance of Chum Kiu, the obvious result is that the Goat Stance is  less stable, even without the implications of orientation to the line of force.

If we follow the progression of our training on to the Horse Riding Stance from the knives and pole we are bringing in even more stability, but this is not how much of mainstream Wing Chun explains itself.

This is science not opinion and it is independently verifiable so there is no need to take my word as truth, Google it.

Of all of our stances the goat Stance, Y.C.K.Y.Mah, is the least stable and least suitable for accepting force, but this is the opposite of what is most often taught. 

As I pointed out in an earlier post the Y.C.K.Y.Mah comprises of 2 rear leg positions and is how we are introduced to the mechanics of Chum Kiu movement through activation of the adductor muscles, it prepares for movement, not how to stand still.

Allowing the physics to just be physics what we should be thinking is whether we wish to be still or be mobile, how to move from a position of stillness or how to achieve stability from movement and what is the best way to accomplish this. 

This is of course one of the two the central learning objectives of Chum Kiu, the second being how to support our arms with our body which is another aspect of bringing in stability.

This leads us on to weight shifting {which is expanded and refined through studying the Biu Gee Form} and understanding what is actually doing the work, where we want that work done and what we hope to achieve through the work, in this instance I am talking about work in a purely mechanical sense, as in work and load.



Every Middle School kid in the world understands that stability is the cornerstone of power production, stability is the cornerstone of force absorption, why is it then that most of our training is done from the least stable of our stances?

There is a reason, a good reason, Wing Chun is a very clever martial art, but here as in so many instances in Wing Chun the messenger is getting mistaken for the message.

Would you try to push a stalled car from the position of the Goat Stance, and if not why not if it is such a good stance?




Articles, In Response to comments

Fighting in Chi Sau -Reprise


Firstly thank you Jamie, this comment forced me to pay a bit more attention to what my Students were doing and it also made me educate myself on the workings of the Shoulder.

On with it.

I have a couple of Students that are just finishing Single Chi Sau and moving into Doubles so last night myself and my Senior Student spent a bit of time teaching them Lok Sau, we where both on the look out to see if there where any indicators for JU JITSU CHI SAU, both guys are quite ordinary People without overt Ego tendencies so I thought they would be good test Subjects.

Long Story – Short, at first everything was as good as can be expected for first Day Rolling, but as their Arms started to Fatigue and they began to close down their Angles they began to use more force, as soon as they reached 90° it began to become an Arm wrestling match.

This should not of surprised me, I had just not brought it to Students attention during Chi Sau,  I talk about it frequently when addressing contact with a Strike but had failed to bring it into Rolling.

From the position with the Arm Angle at 90° when you keep Wrist contacted with your Partner your Elbows are so far out of alignment with your Torso that you simply cannot take the Force into the Shoulder Joint and on into the Body, the upper Arm is now being pushed backwards past the Shoulder Joint instead of inwards and through the Shoulder Joint.

The Shoulder Muscle Group.
The Shoulder Muscle Group.

From this position the rotation of the Shoulder is Out – In and not Forwards, it becomes more of an Elbow Strike than Chi Sau, when the Partners Force or Resistance starts to apply pressure it is  in the direction that would result in a dislocation if it was magnified, so your Body naturally starts to engage Muscles to prevent dislocation, lifting the Arm instead of rolling the Shoulder, this action over activates the Deltoid,  in response this causes Subscapularus and Supraspinatus  to increase Effort to prevent your Humerus from popping out of the Shoulder Joint and it pretty much becomes impossible not to use Force.

With beginning Students it pays to make sure that their Elbow remains significantly beneath the level of the Shoulders { it is easier than telling them to  be level with the Shoulder line}, once the Elbow is above the Shoulder line you are once again pushing the Arm backwards past the Shoulder Joint and toward dislocation and not into the Shoulder Joint to enable absorption of Force, only once you are competent in Bill Gee can you deal with an Elbow above the Shoulder line without engaging the Shoulder Group.

Ensuring that everyone Rolls with their Arms extended fully into the Ultimate Angle  should help prevent the Physical aspect of JU JITSU CHI SAU simply because it takes away the ability to engage the Shoulder Muscle Group.

Sifu jim Fung {R} Bong Sau over 90.
Sifu jim Fung {R} Bong Sau over 90.
Sigung Chu {L} Bong Sau over 90.
Sigung Chu {L} Bong Sau over 90.

As for stopping the Ego drive the only really effective way is to simply “Beat them Senseless” as punishment and terminally damage the Ego itself.

Just kidding here.

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