Back to basics: stances

Introduction

Some time ago I wrote the article "The role of traditional stances", however I have never attempted to describe these in any real detail (although I have previously discussed stances and stepping in stances in various articles, eg. "Northern and southern kung fu, karate and the question of range").

So following my last post about basic blocks, I thought I'd describe how to assume the basic stances of karate (and most other traditional martial arts):

Heisoku dachi (attention stance)



Feet together, weight evenly distributed.

Musubi dachi (V stance)



Heels together, feet out at angles, weight evenly distributed.

Heiko dachi (parallel stance)



Feet parallel, shoulder width, weight evenly distributed.

Hachiji dachi (figure 8 stance)



Feet angled outwards, shoulder width, weight evenly distributed.

Zenkutsu dachi / gong bu (forward stance)



Feet shoulder width, weight 70% on front foot, 30% on back, front shin vertical, outside edge of front foot pointing forwards, back foot angled outwards.

Sanchin dachi / sanzhan bu (3 battles stance)



Feet shoulder width, weight evenly distributed, heel of front foot and toes of back foot on the same line, outside edge of back foot pointing forwards, front foot angled slightly inwards.


A video on sanchin dachi

Further reading:
The naming of sanchin
Grounding
Sanchin in the Chinese arts"
Naha te and its Chinese cousins

Neko ashi dachi (cat stance)



Front foot in line with the middle of your back foot, one foot distance between the heel of your front foot and the line drawn by the toes of your back foot, weight 90% on back foot, 10% on front pointing forward, heel lifted, back foot angled outwards.

Further reading:
The enigma of tiger mouth in cat stance

Shiko dachi (sumo stance)



Feet angled outwards, 1½ to 2 shoulder widths, weight evenly distributed, shins vertical.

Kiba dachi (horse stance)



Feet pointing forwards, 1½ to 2 shoulder widths, weight evenly distributed, knees oriented naturally in line with the feet.

Further reading:
The 'naihanchi stance'",

Kokutsu dachi (back stance)



Front foot in line with the heel of the back foot, 1½ to 2 shoulder widths in length, weight distributed 60% on the back leg, 40% on the front.

Renoji dachi (tick stance)



Front foot in line with the middle of your back foot, one foot distance between the heel of your front foot and the line drawn by the toes of your back foot, weight evenly distributed, front foot pointing forward, back foot angled outwards (a "lazy cat stance").

"Open" zenkutsu dachi / bai bu



Oriented like a zenkutsu dachi except that the front foot is angled outwards.

Seisan dachi / zhan bu



Feet are one fist distance apart, 1½ shoulder widths in length, weight distributed slightly to the back leg, front foot pointing forwards and the back foot angled outwards.

Further reading:
Xingyi stepping vs. karate stepping
Sanchin in the Chinese arts"
Naha te and its Chinese cousins

Copyright © 2011 Dejan Djurdjevic