Introduction: How to Prototype a Fighting Stance Device for Feet Spread

Now, just when you thought your fighting stance is good, the coach fired you up by breaking the news—Its Lousy! And, risking your stance is risking the foundation for all fighting moves. Experienced fighters—face it—ingrained bad habits are hard to break. Wannabies—starting right with the basics is a sure way to winning fights. Now, Coach Spread 'Em is here to save you all! By barking and tugging like a bulldog, your foundation improves and so do your fights. Strap this bulldog on then start your fighting stance practice. This coach’s tension springs will tug and pull at your legs to remind you to maintain proper fighting leg spread. The further you deviate, the more pressure Coach applies. And, worse, when you are lax in practice and your stance spread too narrow or knees too straight, he barks an alarm to get back to proper stance. Only 20 minutes a day and you are on your way. And, trainers—get those laggards up to speed with the rest of the class. Keep on track and keep the class momentum going with this coach, to ensure your hard earned trainees are longterm payees. And great for those advanced guys who show up for training with a laughable stance—you don’t need to give the bad news—throw those numbskulls the Coach—and he will have them telling you that they have a bad stance getting on its way to better. Graduate from Coach Spread 'Em in less than one month then be fit for fighting for the rest of your life. Discounts on orders of five or more, trainers call for discounted pricing with our bronze, silver, and gold reseller programs.

The author has been practicing on a heavy bag in training to fight attackers, as a paying trainee to an online video trainer with pre-recorded clips.

Wow, what a coach! But just let me say the background first, I mean, it all started with me subscribing to the online video fighting course. And, having never fought since middle school, it seemed great to know that I can walk down the street confident that I can finally wallop any troublemaker coming my way. So, I am now beginning my seventh week and swaggering a bit more down the block now, but still having a bit of trouble with the basic stance.

You see, by joining an intermediate training course I am behind many students, and get a little further back each week. And, well, not used to being a laggard myself, I really want to catch up, but you know, there is only so much time in the day for this kind of practice. So, anything that I can do, within reason of course, to reduce training time or pick up on the basic moves faster is important.

After watching the basic stance video from the trainer, he showed the foot position and distance apart for the legs, as well as the proper knee bend, and told the viewers to do the same for their body size. Well, for me, watching on the video and performing in practice are two different things. And, I want to know when I need improvement, at the moment.

So, I came up with this strap-on coach to chide me back into position when I go astray. Whether my legs get too close or stretch too far, this coach is on the case. If my knees are bent properly, then good, if not he is barking. I leave the photos and steps to make this coach to tell the rest.

Step 1: Fine Print

The following instructables gives a method to develop and innovate on-the-fly. This Instructable began Saturday after lunch and was completed by the evening. The components and parts were purchased a few weeks back, with ideas simmering in the mean time. Though the same components can be utilized to fabricate your Coach, substitutes are readily available. The essence of this Instructable is to provide an effective approach to knock out the project (in this case prototype--fancy way for saying a few loose ends to clean up) on a tight budget and in a short period of time. So, feel free to scour your basement for ready substitutes, rather than putting out cash at the local stores.

Below you can find an unnecessary preface describing the author’s penetrating motivations for this project, so hit the next button to get on with the steps. This project cost me about $51 in parts with the knee braces costing the lion’s share at $22 (and not used nor necessary) and $20 for the springs and I only used the two smallest (will save the rest for future projects).

PREFACE (Remember, no one reads the fine print--hit the next button to get on with the steps).

Back when I was in the Boy Scouts of America, we learned the motto “Be Prepared.” This motto was a punishing reminder when it rained on a weekend camping trip out and nothing remained dry. I mean, wet boots, backpack (inside the tent but partially submerged), sleeping bag laid out for the night but a stream ran through the tent. It was outright painful to go through those long nights counting off the time until morning..

I learned the importance of ice in a cooler, when we went on a trip and one of our small group (we were broken into patrols that setup a fire together, one person was in charge of collecting the money and bringing the food, and we gathered wood and made our fire). Without ice on the hot day, the red meat sat all day and the next morning we were all vomiting.

Though the lessons come in many forms, it is a constant reminder to learn the basics in whatever you do, so that you can get beyond them and advance. In purchasing the components for this Instructable, I bought a variety of sizes. Simply put, if I end up missing something, then my Saturday afternoon is shot, because I cannot finish this weekly Instructable (and my ego and gut have a problem with that).

In purchasing gear, the backpack choice was paramount. A loose flapping backpack meant chafing and over several miles that translated to a lot of pain. For this device, many of the backpack dynamics are important. A frame that straps to the body, lightweight, no flapping.

In the Scouts, I won an award one year for doing the most merit badges in the troop—it was 23. That was a fairly high number and it took a tremendous effort. But the merit badge tome (really thick book), provided the detailed requirements of each and every one and I could take my pick in order to maximize the quanity.

But there was more to it. It had a format or layout that it followed. The layout was the same, though the requirements were different (e.g., Lifesaving versus Botany). Lifesaving had a lot of practicing of technique while botany was heavy on memorization. Through its many subjects and fields of study, it provided a good base of general knowledge in many areas, beneficial for the expected and unexpected in life.

Fighting was not one of the merit badges available at my time, but it should have been. Fighting is something that boys do, and should learn how to do properly. I joined this online video course later in life, but wishing that it had come earlier and boosted my self confidence, that would have reduced my shy ways and had me interact with more boys (and girls) socially.

Taking the online course is fun, but for me, very difficult to practice on my own and do it right. I make time to practice during lunch (and morning if need be) but will not join a gym or the like. This is my in decision and approach, that leads to small inventions to more effectively practice the pre-recorded clips. I hope that you learn methods of innovation from this Instructable and also how to improve your training through this novel devices.


Step 2: Mercury Switch

This simple device has been around a long time. When the mercury slides to one side, against the connector wire to set the switch to the on position. These switches have many uses, and popular today in automobile car alarms as motion detectors.

For the prototype, the mercury switch serves the purpose to detect if the tension spring is loose, or out of level. In other words, if the stance leg position is too narrow, then the spring sags and the switch turns on for the Coach to bark and alarm to correct the stance.

Step 3: Small Batteries

This bag of small batteries was laying around the shop. They carry enough power to engage the alarm. I believe the voltage is 3.5 volts, but could be 5 volts. The alarm operates on a wide range of voltages and at the electronics market the seller demonstrated with a nine volt battery and it was too loud for my liking. These small batteries do the trick without excessive volume. And, they are light weight and easily installed on the prototype without adding noticeable weight to the device.

Step 4: Simple Alarm

The alarm works from 2-24 volts DC and has two wires. Connecting the wires to the battery in any configuration seems to turn on fine. The alarm enclosure is plastic and protects it from dust, dirt, oils, and sweat.

Step 5: A Lot of Springs

The store had rusty springs and stainless steel springs. Stainless steel looks better and will last longer and not stain, like rust. I really went overboard with this purchase, as springs can be useful for many projects.

Step 6: Spring Diameters

Not knowing which spring had the right tension and the best diameter, got a variety. They were all about a yard in length (one meter). I did know that I wanted to insert them into a hose to protect the leg hairs from getting caught in them.

Step 7: Hose Types

This hose is a very flexible silicone hose that could handle the smallest diameter spring. I had this hose on the shelf, for use for water pumps.

Step 8: Elastic Banding

Elastic banding is widely used in personal sports devices, so I picked up a variety of elastic bands in about three yard lengths, spending about $3 for the whole lot.

Step 9: The Plan

The plan is to drop a stiff structure down from the back. This structure will support the springs that attach to the knees. Originally considered three springs, but two did the trick (always simplify).

Step 10: Electronics

The electronics plan is mercury switch turns on when not level, battery provides power, alarm provides chiding.

Step 11: Back Structure

Checking on the shop shelves produced an old copper pipe and a new din rail.

Step 12: Pros and Cons

Take time to consider the pros and cons of your materials and parts. A tube structure is unlikely to bend, as is the extruded din rail shape--so equal there. The copper is soft (so does not hurt to fall on it). But the din rail provides numerous attachment points--great for prototyping and designing on-the-fly.

Step 13: Lacing

First step to test is lacing the din rail so that it will be flush against the back.

Step 14: Shoelace

Rather than cut the lace, test it out with a shoelace style knot.

Step 15: Test Motion

On-the-fly designing requires testing and improving as you proceed.

Step 16: Make Longer

Din rail could be more stable if longer.

Step 17: So Long

The din rail with plastic strip is so long that it goes from head top.

Step 18: Drill Fast

Drill holes at shoulder height to attach elastic, thus spreading supporting laces.

Step 19: Loops

Looped at top of arms then tied at chest. Original lace below.

Step 20: Excellent Height

Overall, good height provides several attachment locations.

Step 21: Below Knee

Below the need is a narrow diameter, providing an excellent natural location. A tie-wrap fits for a quick setup (can be improved later with a locking mechanism).

Step 22: Tie-wrap Spring to Din Rail

Select a location on the din rail that is the same height as the two knees when bent to the proper stance position.

Step 23: Adjust Tension

The tight tension spring did not flex sufficiently when connected to the knees. A long armed pull was enough to permanently stretch the spring.

Step 24: Mechanical Prototype Complete

Visually, the mechanical prototype works. Just need to add the electronics (for me a no-brainer, but I am out of time on Saturday).