Practicing balance exercises challenges the nervous system and helps keep the mind-body connection sharp. It also helps to keep the mind and body sharp in the case that balance has to be regained. It happens to us all at some point — tripping over a parking block or missing that last step. Without any balance practice your response to regaining balance is slow. In the instance that you may be falling, it is crucial to be able to regain balance quickly.
In a martial arts or self-defense setting, you may find that you get pushed or shoved by someone who may be a threat or someone your may be training with. It’s important that you are able to regain your balance in these situations. Similarly, if you send a kick that was not as accurate as you thought it was going to be, you may find that you need to find your center and realign your body before continuing on to the next movement.
Balance training is also a great way to prevent injuries. Static balance exercises are a type of muscular endurance activity. What happens is that in order to hold a position (say on one leg for example), all of the muscles in your foot, knee, and hip are activating. They must activate in order to hold you steady. These muscles are usually the stabilizers that do the work.
Dynamic balance dictates your ability to maintain a level equilibrium while you are in motion. Most martial arts are quite dependent upon dynamic balance. A spin kick, such as you would often see in tae kwon do, can very easily throw the deliverer off balance if that person has not practiced the maneuver enough to maintain balance during its execution. Extending a kick (any kick) out and bringing it back in a continuous manner is just one method of exercise that trains your body for dynamic balance.
Dynamic balance is not only achieved through performing maneuvers with only one support leg, it can also be achieved by practicing and sharpening how you move while in a fighting stance. When in this stance, or working on shadowboxing, you may find that it can be easy to lose control of your balance while learning to shift your weight in so many opposing directions. In this case it is also necessary for you to be able to recover your balance in order to keep yourself moving. The ability to keep your center of mass over your base of support (in this case your feet) will help to maintain balance while moving.