Thursday, 9 December 2010

Building Stability With the Law of Base

The law of base states ‘the tallest buildings need a deep foundation’ and this foundation is our base. It is the place of safety where we only leave from carefully and retreat to when necessary, it is the turtles shell, the rabbits burrow and the warlords fortress. It is the point from which all attacks are launched and defended from and should accommodate the widest range of weapons without comprising the safety that base provides. 

Base covers the position of our feet (stance) and the position of our hands (guard) and from our base we should be able to withstand assaults and deliver them. The law of base links closely with the laws of leverage, alignment, balance and also supports the laws of lead, timing, proximity, priority and guard. In the Aegis system our stance portion of the base consists of us standing on an imaginary square with our lead foot on the left hand front corner and our rear foot on the back right corner. Feet should be no less than the width of ones own shoulders for the standard base position and creates what we call the ‘balance platform’. The balance platform allows us space to move our upper body forwards, backwards and sideways without moving our feet and there is an optimum point for each upper body movement to maximise ones leverage from that position. This point of maximum leverage works like this: a tall building is stable only when its base is equal to or wider than its base. Now I know modern architectures can break this rule because of the range of new technologies but in the main this basic rule still applies.

In our martial arts terms this rule definitely applies and in basic terms it means that ones shoulders cannot lean outside of the width of ones feet otherwise balance and stability is compromised. More of this later but remember this rule as it will apply very often to both ones martial arts and ones daily life.

How does the law of base apply to ones daily life? Well, as I mentioned in the first part of our discussion our base is our fortress or you could say it is our home. Isn’t our home the place where we feel most secure? Of course and for good reason, it becomes our symbol of security as in the old saying ‘an Englishman’s home is his castle’. But how else might we use the law of base in life to get us more of what we want from life? Imagine taking a loan; you wouldn’t take out a loan without first making sure that you had the ability to make the monthly repayments would you? If you did you would compromise your base as in the caveat that accompanies any financial advertisement ‘your home may be at risk if you fail to keep up your payments’ literally you could lose your home, your base! Or if you make a purchase or investment you don’t use every penny you have, no, you keep some in reserve for a ‘rainy day’ in other words you don’t ‘over extend yourself’, an analogy that directly applies to martial arts and financial risks.

Before we move forward in martial arts or life we first secure our gains, this is why we have limited companies so that we can limit an entrepreneurs’ exposure to risk, to ensure that he or she doesn’t over extend themselves. Our economy revolves around business people setting up business to support people and provide jobs to their workers. If the business people cannot strengthen their base by limiting their risk they will be less likely to set up new enterprises and consequently the world economy will suffer. Get the idea? And the same concept applies to martial arts so that when we attack in combat we do so from a secure position or base to limit our opponents’ ability to damage us. In fact in combat one of our key goals is to destroy our opponents base, in warfare this means leaving and army stranded without anywhere to retreat to and in single combat it means to destroy the opponents’ balance and position so he is unable to launch effective attacks. So if we learn from our understanding of the law of base we should always work to make sure our base is strong enough to both launch and withstand our attacks/movements.

Thank you for reading today and I look forward to speaking to you again tomorrow when we will discuss another of our laws of combat

Best wishes

Tony Higo
Chief Instructor
National Martial Arts College
0800 0920948

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