I had to have proper understanding and use of stances before I could move on to blocks, punches, kicks, and take-downs in taekwondo. It’s essential to the necessary foot pivots needed to garner power and precision for each movement. For example, being able to punch properly is good, but not essentially the only important part of punching. When your foundation is solid, your punches become stronger. It also keeps you from throwing improper blows that would otherwise leave you open to attacks or hurt yourself with improper form.
I felt more powerful knowing that I was rooted in the correct stances. It kept me from falling forward when I wanted to apply more force. It gave me control over the punches I threw and the amount of power I exerted. Having proper form gave me the freedom to pace my opponent and plan one step ahead knowing that my form will support my actions. It gave me time to focus on my attacks and self-defense. Being grounded improved my speed, fluidity, and game plan to take my opponent down.
Surprisingly, life works a lot like the lessons I’ve gained from taekwondo. Dreams, hopes, and goals go nowhere without a solid foundation to build it on. It tends to crumble under pressure. I’ve noticed that my attempts felt half-hearted or weaker when I didn’t root myself on a base that my goals can grow from. I make conscious efforts to build from the ground up to make my decisions count. It’s comparable to the attacks or self-defense I used when I sparred or competed. Sometimes I would hit the mark, other times I completely missed it. But, it was harder to knock me off my course.
I often use this process in photography. I’m constantly having to learn proper form to make sure I root myself deeply in my goals.
Giving clear directions to the person I’m photographing was a struggle. I love the challenge of being able to capture moments derived from a perspective the model and photographer collaborated about. I had to learn (still am) how to communicate what I see and convey instructions so that the person I’m photographing understands clearly. Angles, lighting, and good equipment can only do so much. I wouldn’t be able to convey what’s necessary to bring our perspective to life without working on my communication skills. Foundation matters.
Work tirelessly on your foundation. It’s difficult, but worth it. Having a clear understanding of your starting point will help guide future decisions.