Buddha Belly: the secret to shooting a 12 gauge shotgun while standing balanced on one leg

The 2nd Edition of Martial Art of the Gun is now available and contains two short additions that were not in the 1st Edition: Chunking and Buddha Belly. If you have the 1st Edition and read both this blog on Buddha Belly and last weeks blog on Chunking, you will be brought up to date.

Here is what has been added to page 55 of the 2nd Edition:

Buddha Belly

When shooting a 12 gauge shotgun while standing and balancing on one foot (which is considered to be impossible), a key concept is what Kent calls “Buddha belly.” It is performed as an integral part of the Turnipseed Basic Stance. High-level martial artists will recognize that we are shooting with chi.

In traditional Chinese culture chi is a term that means “life-force” or “energy flow.” In Asian martial arts chi, ch’i, qi, or ki, is a somewhat esoteric term associated with one’s internal power and ability to perform remarkable feats of physical prowess. The Turnipseed Technique alternatively explains the use of one aspect of chi by means of body mechanics, by the use of the structure and function of the human body.

Kent will instruct a student to “Let your belly drop.” Further elaboration would be to mentally think of your relaxed belly (lower abdominal area) as being heavy and allow gravity to pull it downward. Visualize a statue of the serene Buddha with his belly hanging out, and relax your body as much as possible. No muscle tension is involved other than the minimum necessary to stay standing and balanced, and to shoulder your shotgun. By letting your belly drop, you thereby lower your center of gravity and increase your stability.

Your support knee should be slightly bent just as it would be while you are walking and maneuvering, and you will be an inch or two shorter than when standing at attention. Some martial artists refer to this as low balance or lowering your center (of balance). When you become proficient with Buddha belly, integrating it with your Turnipseed Basic Stance will enable you to remain balanced on one foot while shooting a 12 gauge shotgun. This is unparalleled recoil management.