A Stance is where to put your legs and feet to give a strong base for the self defense techniques. They have a great impact on the ability to move as well as the strength to deliver and withstand strikes. It is therefore important to ensure your stance is correct before you study blocks and strikes. A firm base is critical for the techniques you will learn throughout your training.
The main stances described in this section include Ready Stance, Forward Stance, Back Stance and Sitting Stance. These are the main stances required for all the Basic defense techniques, but each one is used for specific reasons.
While each will be discussed in detail, there are a few things standard for all stances:
1. Your back is always straight. Once you bend over, your balance and the strength of your stance is eroded. If you are too high for the technique you are applying, bend your knees
Your back is always straight when performing a movement
Never bend during a movement, you will lose balance and power
Bend at the knees if you need to get lower in the stance
2. With the exception of the Ready Stance, you should never present a straight leg closest to the opponent. Their leg is their longest weapon, and your knee will be unprotected. When your knee is straight, it takes little force against it to hyper-extend it backward and either strain or break it. Even a strain will mean you cannot put much weight on it, and you will have little ability in your stances to either move quickly or apply full force to your techniques. This risk for you, however, is also a risk for your attacker if they do it.
3. Whenever you face forward, your feet should be shoulder width apart. Too close and you will have little balance sideways, too far and it will be difficult for you to step to the next position.
Incorrect width - too close and you will have little balance sideways
Correct - feet are shoulder width apart
Incorrect - feet are too wide apart, preventing you from moving easily
4. In forward and back stance, feet are a comfortable step forward. Too close and you will have no balance sideways, too far and it will be difficult for you to step to the next position.
Incorrect - feet too close and you will have little balance
Correct - feet a comfortable step forward
Incorrect - feet too far apart, and will make moving difficult
Advantages and Disadvantages
As mentioned in the Yin Yang section, everything has advantages and disadvantages. This includes the stances. To choose what stance you need in a given situation depends on what you wish to do, and what disadvantages that stance will present to you.
One disadvantage all stances have is based on the fact that humans only have two legs. What this means is that one direction the stance will always be strongest, and the opposite direction it will be weakest. You will choose the stance to be strong for the technique you wish to do and to withstand the strike your opponent is likely to do, while at the same time aiming for the weak direction of your opponent’s stance. Much energy is wasted by striking the opponent in their strong direction, so they can easily absorb it.
Often students will find a particular technique is not working for them – mainly against a larger opponent. Generally this will be because the student is not in their strongest stance, and/or they have let their opponent maintain their stance. When the ‘Art’ is not applied to these techniques, it always comes down to wrestling your opponent, and the strongest will always win. Understanding the stances is the first weapon you have in outsmarting your opponent.