What are the ankles good for? What is their most efficient use? I posited, somewhere else, that they are good to absorb the energy generated from moving out of a stance.
In martial practice, how can the ankles be used to maximize benefit?
Note - benefit is defined as minimum energy usage and maximum result in speed, power, mobility, and precision.
For instance - if doing a front-kick with the ball of the foot, if you chamber your leg (bring up the knee, keeping the foot down and tight) and keep the toes straight forward, when you extend the leg, the simple act of "keeping the foot facing forward" and raising the toes up to open the ball of the foot will increase leverage (like a pulley power multiplying system) and give the kick some more power, because you're activating the joint of the ankle.
Now, specifically, relating to being in a stance. For the purpose of not having to leave anything to the imagination, let us imagine this very, VERY specific situation:
Say I am in a horse stance. That is, my legs are approximately two to two-and-a-half shoulder-widths apart, my knees are approximately bent to 90 degrees, my back is approximately 90 degrees from my thighs (which are, of course, parallel to the floor), my lower back is relaxed, my hips aren't tight.
Oh, and I forgot a very important point, since we are talking about ankles - the feet are facing straight ahead, they are parallel to each other, and the shins are approximately vertical (that is, the knees are not "over the toes" or "past the toes"). The weight is distributed approximately equally between the front and the back of the foot.
Now, let's say I need to jump three feet forward and land in the same stance. Is there a particular way to use the ankles to get maximum efficiency, that is, use the minimum energy while providing maximum speed, balance and mobility?