Uprooting Exercises

This exercise begins with two partners facing each other at arm's length while standing in a moderate Horse Stance (feet shoulder width apart and, in the beginning, each person is double-weighted). The idea is to push, pull, or lure the other person into being obliged to move their feet without the "doer" moving their feet. Using this stance limits how much you can cheat by using your leg muscles to compensate for a lack of use of the waist and hips to control the knees, or for failing to shift from side to side properly to help your upper body efforts.

Uprooting should be approached as a game in which you try to help each other to fall over or move the feet. The idea is not to force the person to move, but to guide them into such a position that they would move their feet or topple over. Ideally, both partners should be of the same sex, height, and weight until some real yielding and redirecting skills are formed.

It is also useful to have one partner do all of the attacking while the other can only redirect the incoming force and not counter-attack. Then they can switch roles for an equal amount of time.

It is also useful to practise uprooting while using a short stick. Rattan escrima batons make good sticks for this exercise. They are the correct length and light enough so that you don't have to worry as much about accidental contact.

Practising this way, the idea is to get possession of the stick while ideally making the other person lose their balance and move his or her feet at the same time. As long as you move relatively slowly, it is good practice to try to use the stick as a lever in locking out your partner's arms if you can do this safely. Practising with a stick is a quick way to learn how counterproductive it can be to not be able to switch grips quickly and smoothly.

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