Techniques>Stances>Attention stance

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Attention stance


The standing attention stance or closed-leg stance is a posture of respect and alertness. Coming to attention when spoken to by a senior is a means of showing respect. You are indicating that the person who gave the command has your utmost respect and that you are ready for instruction or further orders. The stance is common in most military, paramilitary, law enforcement, and firefighting organizations throughout the world. It has been adopted by other organizations requiring a loosely military structure such as Scouts, Cadet programs, sports teams, marching bands, and the Salvation Army.

Some martial art schools start and end classes from a kneeling attention position.

Standing attention stance


  • Width. Zero.
  • Depth. Zero.
  • Front and back foot positions. Both the feet are touching and pointed straight forward.
  • Leg position. Both the knees are slightly bent.
  • Shoulder position. The shoulders face forward, parallel to the heels.
  • Hip position. The hips face forward, parallel with the shoulders
  • Weight distribution. The weight is distributed equally on both the feet.
  • Center of mass. The center of mass is centered over and between the feet.


  • Stand with the body vertical and straight with the chin up, chest out, shoulders back, and stomach in.
  • Face forward with head erect.
  • The head and eyes are locked in a fixed forward posture. Ideally, the eyes are unmoving and fixated on a distant object.
  • The face has a blank expression.
  • The arms and hands are held straight down the sides of the body with the palms against the legs.
  • The fingers are held straight down. 
  • There is no speech or facial or bodily movements except in response to commands.


  • Hands. A variation has the hands held in tight fists with palms toward the body.
  • Feet. Sometimes, both the feet are angled outward 45 degrees in a V position.

Kneeling attention stance

  • From the standing attention stance, lift the left leg and lower the left knee to the floor beside the right foot, extending the left foot toes straight backward.
  • Lift the right leg and lower the right knee to the floor beside the left knee, extending the right foot toes straight backward, with the right foot toes overlapping the left foot’s toes.
  • Sit back on the feet, keeping the body erect. Place the hands fingers together, palms down, atop their corresponding thighs, with the fingers pointed toward the inner thighs.
  • With hands in this position, the arms will form a circular position. Remain erect but relax and let the weight rest on the legs.

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