By Kurt Folsom
Being an effective stalker requires balance, and improving this will improve your
stalking ability. One of the best ways to improve your balance is to fox walk, not just in
the woods, but as your normal mode of travel. This way of walking exercises and
strengthens the muscles needed for stalking, and centers your weight. With your weight
centered, it allows you to break the habit of watching your feet by enabling you to lift
your eyes off the ground. This is an absolute must for splattervision and stalking.
As your walk and balance improve you can bring your feet from their itched out
"white man" step to a narrower path with your toes pointed straight ahead. You
will find that in doing the fox walk right your pace will naturally slow down to a more
relaxed, calming, soft step.
|Another simple exercise to improve your balance is to stand on one
foot with a slightly bent knee. Now close your eyes. Any balance exercise you can do with
your eyes closed is excellent. Without the aid of your eyes as a reference point to fix
upon objects, your sense of balance shifts to your inner ear. With surprisingly little
practice this sense can be developed. Practice stalking blindfolded, or at night. The less
you depend on your eyes, the more you will find your noise and motions level diminish.
Another useful balance tool is a homemade tightrope, it forces concentration on
balance. If you don't have the space for a rope, a simple 2 x 4 laid down flat on the
narrow side will also do wonders.
Stalking also demands some degree of strength in your lower body and legs. The weasel
walk can be used as an intense exercise form for this part of the body' Bend your knees
until your thighs are just about parallel with the ground and move up on your toes for
balance. Arch your back slightly so you can look up and around easier. I like to carry a
rabbit stick or hold my hands like a weasel to really get into the weasel awareness. Try
to look through and around things, stepping softly and not spinning or grinding the feet,
but picking them up to turn. You should really feel it, especially in your upper legs.
Five minutes of weasel exercise a day equals the same workout as jogging 13-15 miles.
Of course, the best teachers are our brothers whose daily lives depend on the stalk.
Take advantage of a chance to watch a heron or fox. You can also learn a lot by watching
your own or a neighbor's cat.
Everything is a teacher. All the separate skills which we practice blend into each
other, producing an awareness and appreciation for our connection with the earth and all
life we share it with.