Balance: Without proper balance, the fighter cannot move gracefully, punch properly, or avoid getting hit. He is at the mercy of his opponent. Most people think of balance in horizontal terms, right and left, forward and back, but that is merely the way it appears when a fighter is off-balance. It is better to look at balance from a vertical perspective. The goal, after all, is to remain upright. Standing upright does not mean standing tall. A fighter's legs are never completely straight. They are always bent, in a crouch, but not too deep. Each fighter must find his own stance, that best suits his or her particular physique. A proper stance requires vertical balance. The heart is the center of a fighter's balance. Then, when a fight moves horizontally, left or right, forward or back, the heart must remain at the center. Proper balance, combined with proper footwork, allows the fighter to move gracefully, with the least amount of effort, almost like he is floating. He never has to regain his balance after stepping to one side or another. He is always in balance. His movements become fluid and there is no need to pause between stopping to punch and moving to avoid a punch. There is more to balance than just being balanced physically. The fighter must have a balanced training regimen, a balanced diet, and balance in his life. The key to balance in all things is remaining centered.