Techniques>Stances>Back stance

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Back stance


The back stance offers stability, quick movement, quick kicks (with the front leg), a minimized target area to attacks, and quick changes to other stances.


  • Width. Zero.
  • Depth. One-half a shoulder-width.
  • Front foot position. The foot is pointed forward.
  • Back foot position. The foot is pointed 90-degrees toward the outside.
  • Front leg position. The knee is bent with the shin vertical.
  • Back leg position. The knee is slightly bent.
  • Shoulder position. The shoulders are angled 45-degrees toward the outside.
  • Hip position. The hips are parallel with the shoulders.
  • Weight distribution. 30% of the weight is on the front foot; 70% on the back foot.
  • Center of mass. The center of mass is centered nearly over the back foot.


The back stance is used in practically every pattern and by many martial artists as their primary fighting stance.
  • The back stance is relatively strong in all directions, but not as strong as the front stance.
  • The stance exposes less of the body to frontal assault.
  • It permits a wide range of attacks by both hands and feet but limits the amount of body mass that may be applied to a technique.
  • •Sine most of the body weight is on the rear leg, the front leg is free to move with only a minor weight shift permitting quick lead leg kicks. For the same reason, rear leg kicks are limited.
  • The back stance is more a defensive stance than is the front stance.
  • As with the front stance, the back stance is more suited for movement to the front and back. It provides more mobility to the sides than the front stance, due to the rear foot's angle to the side. However, it still takes extra time for any transition to the sides, due to the feet being aligned one behind the other.
  • Moving the weight forward or backward, moving the feet wider or further apart, angling the feet further out or in than the 90-degrees, making stance higher or lower, or having knees facing other than the same direction as the toes all affect the strength, stability, and mobility of the stance. As the feet move further from each other, the stance may become more stable (to a certain point).
  • Shifting the center of mass closer to the center of the stance adds stability to the front leg. Although this may be desirable at times, a main advantage of the back stance is the stability of the back leg. With the weight forward, the stability of the back leg is diminished. When the feet are situated closer to each other, mobility may be enhanced. With the feet angled out further, any movement to directions outside a 90-degree range become more easily attainable.


  • When the left leg is forward, the stance is a left back stance. When the right leg is forward, it is a right back stance.
  • Stand with the feet parallel, one shoulder-width apart. Step the left foot forward 1/2 shoulder width deep into a back stance with the heel aligned in front of the rear foot's heel. Imagine an "L" shape drawn on the floor. The right foot will align with the bottom of the "L" with the heel at the corner and the front foot will align along the long side of the "L." 
  • The shoulders angle 45-degrees toward the right. Keep hips parallel with the shoulders so the upper body is angled toward the right. The narrow profile and strongly turned hips limit an opponent's direct access to body targets. 
  • The hips are pulled back 45-degrees from forward facing. Any more pull back seriously restricts the movement and power of techniques. Don’t pull the trailing shoulder back too far because it opens you to counterattack and delays reaction time.
  • Keep the body erect; don’t hunch the shoulders.
  • Keep the front foot pointed toward the opponent.
  • Bend the front leg at the knee, with the shin vertical. The front foot rests lightly on the floor.
  • The distance between feet varies between styles. Longer stances allow you to pull back further whereas shorter stances permit faster movement. Longer stances curtail quick movements while short stances prevent you from bracing effectively in the face of a determined attack.
  • The rear leg is bent so 70% of the weight is on the back foot (hence the name back stance) and 30% of the weight is on the front foot.
  • The center of mass is centered nearly over the rear foot so the weight is settled mostly over the rear leg.
  • The back stance cannot effectively resist off balancing forces due to its uneven weight distribution and narrow base. A good push from the front will cause the lead foot to rise from the floor. This may be minimized by keeping at least 30% of the weight over the lead foot. The stance is also weak against lateral forces.


  • When performing successive back stances, ensure the heels in alignment so the "L" shape is maintained.
  • To move forward in successive back stances, the lead foot pivots and the back foot merely swings around. Don’t step the rear foot forward or too much weight will be transferred to the front foot and a rearward weight shift will have to be made.
  • Keep the front side of the body loose and free so all leading techniques will be quick and powerful.
  • The stance may be used in a rocking motion, bending back leg to rock body backward to increase fighting distance and to avoid an attack and then straightening back leg to rock forward to decrease fighting distance and counterattack.

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