“Stop slouching!”, “Walk straight!” Your parents and your teachers probably would have told you a million times and, believe it or not, there is a good reason for it. Slouching not only makes you look less attractive, it can also affect your health. Your parents and teachers intuitively knew of the health and psychological benefits people with proper posture enjoy.
Having a proper posture is not about looking like a stiff piece of board. Many people overcompensate for bad posture by standing too straight, thus eliminating the natural curves of the spine. It is about having a relaxed appearance and when our posture is correct, the ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles should align in one straight line.
In Martial Arts, having a good posture will translates to power, balance, good health and assist in natural body movement.
Like what Forrest Morgan said in his book “Living The Martial Way” – “Some say the eyes are windows to the soul. This may be true, but posture is most assuredly the reflection of one’s spirit. It tells a story, more eloquently than words ever could, of your strength, your resolve, and your confidence. Posture is an essential element of warrior bearing.”
The basic natural standing posture in the Japanese Martial arts is called shizentai where, in a relaxed state, the head is held erect with the shoulders pulled back and the knees are comfortably bent with feet shoulder-width apart. The soles are flat, and the weight of the body is supported above the toes (meaning that the heels can lift off the ground but the toes cannot). The postural requirements of the kneeling form, called seiza or correct sitting, are the same as the standing form with the exception that in the kneeling form, one or both legs are tucked beneath the hips.
Posture is key to maintaining a strong foundation, yet few athletes take the time to work on their posture. Improving your posture will improve your martial arts. Good core strength helps keep your abs in, shoulders back, and back straight, all of which are part of good posture.
So when your parents, teacher or anyone tells you to stop slouching, maybe it is time to take their advise.