Techniques>Stances>Cat stance

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Cat stance


The cat stance offers some stability, quick movement, very quick kicks (with front leg), minimized target area to attacks, and quick changes to other stances.


  • Width. Zero.
  • Depth. One half a shoulder-width.
  • Front foot position. The front foot is pointed forward and it rests on the ball of the foot.
  • Back foot position. The back foot is pointed toward the outside.
  • Front leg position. The front knee is bent with shin angled slight backward.
  • Back leg position. The back 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. 10% of the weight is on the front foot; 90% on the back foot.
  • Center of mass. The center of mass is centered over the back foot.


The cat stance, also known as a rear-foot stance, is like the back stance except 90% of the weight is shifted to the back foot and the front foot heel is raised so only the ball of the foot rests on the floor. The stance permits very quick lead leg kicks.
  • When the left leg is forward, the stance a left cat stance. When the right leg is forward, it is a right cat stance.
  • Stand with feet parallel, one shoulder-width apart. Step left foot forward on half a shoulder width deep into a cat stance standing on the ball of the foot 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 the hips parallel with the shoulders so the upper body is angled toward the right.
  • The front foot is pointed toward the opponent.
  • Bend the front leg at the knee, with the shin almost vertical. The front foot merely touches the floor.
  • Ensure the front knee does not lean inward and avoid bowing it outward so the groin is exposed.
  • Rear leg is bent so 90-percent of the weight is on the back foot and 10-percent of the weight is on the front foot.
  • The center of mass is centered over the rear foot and the weight is settled over the rear leg.
  • Stand erect. Don’t hunch the shoulders or stick the butt out.
  • Unlike the back stance, the hips are turned more toward the front, so both arms may be used for defense and attack. This helps distinguish a long cat stance from a short back stance.
  • The stance offers only very limited movement so only use for a quick instant as you respond to an opponent.
  • With its very unbalanced weight distribution, it is not able to resist attacks. Since you are basically standing on one leg, the stance is very unstable. You can help stability following a step by ensuring your feet never cross the stance’s center line and you bring the trailing and leading heels into one line to achieve correct width.


  • Think of a cat tiptoeing while stalking prey.
  • When performing successive cat stances, keep the heels in alignment so the "L" shape is maintained.
  • Use to withdraw a short distance along the diagonal from the line of attack. Always keep your center-line facing the opponent so you can use both arms quickly and effectively.
  • To move forward in successive cat stances, the lead foot pivots as the eight is shifted to it 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.

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