Graham Butcher – Stav Teacher
How to Train in Stav
There are three aspects to Stav training and practice.
All three aspects are represented in this video of Stav Training which was recorded in the USA.
The Sixteen Stances at their most basic are breath, posture and relaxation exercises. Everything in Stav relates to one of these aspects or a combination of them.
The stances are a daily moving meditation and should be performed daily if you are serious about being a practitioner of Stav. However the Stances also provide the basis for Martial Arts training in terms of basic postures, ways of holding a weapon and postions to work from and to. You can also see Martial Training as a way testing and proving your knowledge of the stances and ability to use them. There is of course a great deal more to the Stances than Martial training including health benefits and knowledge of the runes but the Martial Training is a very good place to start.
The Web means the way that everything is connected together in time and space. When training we learn to see those connections and work with them. Seeing apparently direct connections seems relatively easy. In Stav we are learning to see the indirect connections too. We also discover how to avoid being connected when it suits us not to be.
The Five principles are different strategies that can be used depending upon the situation we find ourselves in. The Trel principle applies for example when a particular situation really isn't our problem and we can simply detach ourselves. The Karl is when we need to protect our space and the Herse when it is necessary to take control for our own sakes or the sake of others. Each principle requires a different mind set and a different way of working within the web.
In the video above you will see how we train in Stav with the Stances, Staff, Axe, Cudgel and for Close Quarter Combat. The Stances are used as different postures for holding the weapons, all strikes and footwork relates to the Web in some way and each drill is an application of one of the five principles.
Stav is far too challenging for most people, not because it is physically particularly demanding, rather because it changes the way you see the world and how you relate to other people and the situations you find yourself in. We hear a lot of talk about going out of your comfort zone but for most people that just means physical discomfort. If your idea of being challenged is doing a couple of extra pushups then Stav will be of no interest to you. If you are willing to engage with a different way of seeing reality then Stav might be the way for you.
The only way you are going to know is by actually training with an open mind. There are opportunities if you have what it takes.