Rest Stance (歇步, Xiē Bù) is a basic step not only in Shaolin but in many different styles of Kung Fu that involves the twisting of the body. It is both an advancing and retreating movement which can be combined with striking (for example, a spinning back fist), or wrestling (for example, when executing a body throw). Because it is a twisting movement, its benefits in training translate to a more flexible posterior chain, improved ankle mobility and an increase in core strength, balance and stability.
Rest Stance/Xiē Bù is also an important foundational training method for kicking. Two of the key components of good kicking technique are power and flexibility in the core. This stance helps in both regards, building stable and strong core muscles as well as stretching your waist, back and glutes. The stance is also a vital setup for spinning kick techniques; for example, the spinning back kick and spinning wheel kick both require transitioning through Rest Stance in order to initiate the movement properly. In application, the stance is a transitional movement used from a higher angle than during training, however, the same body structure and movement principles apply.
Rest Stance is also a fundamental movement for animal forms, especially Snake (蛇拳, Shé Quán), as it is for the Luóhàn Quán (罗汉拳) family of forms. Training this stance not only helps to build a foundation for Shaolin's martial arts training, but can also help to open the meridians for meditation practice. Even if you have no wish to pursue martial arts training, the stretching and strength-building benefits of the movement can be of great use to those who lead sedentary lifestyles.
Today's training teaches three fundamental Rest Stance/Xiē Bù movements. This class begins to introduce further complexity into the movements, adding in more detailed hand movements such as Cross Hands (十字手, Shízì Shǒu) and slightly more intricate footwork patterns. Follow each movement slowly at your own pace whilst maintaining precise technique and coordination between your lower and upper body, then slowly begin to speed each movement up until you can follow along with the group practice in the video.
When you're confident with performing each movement by yourself, try the following plan:
12 Rest Stance Straight Punch
12 Rest Stance Grab and Press
12 Rest Stance Block and Tiger Claw
And then rest and repeat as many times as you're comfortable with. Good luck - train this stance well, as you'll be using in a few classes to learn your first combination…