The body shield is used when practicing with a partner to allow a student to kick or punch with full-power without harming the partner. Body shields may be filled with foam or contain an air bladder to absorb the force of a kick or punch. The shield spreads the impact forces over a large area so the holder is not injured. However, these forces must still be dissipated into the holder's body, so the way the holder holds the shield is important. Shields are constructed differently by different manufacturers (sizes, location and number of handles, etc,) so these instructions are general.
Grip the shield. Most shields have handgrips. Sometimes, when the grip are on the sides of the shield, a kick may missing the shield and strike a hand. Some people prefer to hold a shield by the back edge of the opposite top and bottom corners so the hands are protected.
Hold the shield against the body. If you have ever fired a shotgun, you know the end of the stock must be held tightly against the shoulder as your fire, so the body may absorb the recoil. If you hold the stock a little in front of the shoulder, when the gun fires, the stock will slam backward into the shoulder and it will hurt. The same holds true when holding a body shield. Hold the shield tightly against the body so you are one with the shield. If you hold the shield in front of the body so that it is a separate object, when the shield is struck, it will slam backward into the body and hurt.
Stand in a solid front stance. Stand in a solid, low front stance facing the attacker. The front stance allows the holder to absorb tremendous force from the front without being knocked down. Instead of being knocked down, the holder's stance will merely be shifted backward.
Settle into the shield. Stand vertical and do not lean into the shield. Instead, settle the body's mass into the shield.
Keep chin back or look toward the side. Do not let the chin rest on or above the top of the shield. If the shield is struck at an upward angle, it will suddenly move upward. If the chin is over the top of the shield, the shield will strike the chin, similar to being struck with an uppercut punch.
Resist or flow. When the shield is stuck, the holder may stand in a stationary stance and resist the force. This means all the force will be dissipated into the body with a jolt. For very strong kick attacks, this jolt may be substantial. When the shield is stuck, the holder may also stand in a flexible stance and let the body flow with the force. This means the force will shift the stance backward allowing some of the force to be used to move the mass of the body. This means the jolt from the force will be much less.