Techniques>Stances>Fighting stance

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Fighting stance


One of the most important characteristics of a good fighter is his or her fighting stance. Surprisingly, this is one area of training that is often overlooked or ignored. Students practice kicks and punches with little regard to the fighting stance they are using. A proper fighting stance may make the difference between winning and losing so it should be given proper attention.

Fighting stances are a personal choice, there is really no right or wrong stance to use when sparring. One must experiment to find the fighting stance that best fits his or her fighting style.

A front stance presents a large frontal area to your opponent but permits attacks with either of the arms or legs. A back stance presents a small frontal area to your opponent and permits quick leading hand or foot attacks, but it limits rear leg attacks. A sitting stance is stable, protects all vital/scoring areas, but it limits both hand and leg techniques.

A low stance has great power and stability but lacks mobility and speed. A high stance gives greater arm reach but weakens kicks. A flat-footed stance helps to generate power but impedes mobility and increases the amount of telegraphing of an attack. A stance that is on the toes and always moving permits quick techniques, but the techniques lack the power of a flat-footed stance. A modified boxer’s stance, similar to the Okinawan sanchin stance, permits one to use hands, feet, knees, and elbows with ease but it presents a large frontal area to the opponent.

Most of the fighting stances being used are modified front stances. Why? Because the front stance permits you to do most movements and techniques effectively and efficiently.

Ultimately, the choice of a fighting stance up to you. Don’t use a fighting stance just because another good fighter uses it. Objectively test different stances and choose the one, or ones, that work best for your blocking and attacking style.


A fighting stance should be strong enough to absorb impact shock without a loss of balance; however, it should also enable you to respond quickly and in harmony with a technique or a change of direction. Important points of a fighting stance are:
  • It should be very soft, not too low.
  • The center of gravity should be over the midpoint between the feet.
  • You should keep continuous pressure on the floor using proper breathing. Never apply equal pressure to both legs that will cause heaviness in movement, always apply pressure to one leg at a time without changing the center of mass.
During technique execution
  • Both the feet should be rooted in the floor.
  • Use the widest stance without losing muscular control.
  • Keep the center of gravity at its lowest point practical.
  • Use upper legs and hip muscles to apply twisting tension from the inside to the outside or from the outside to the inside to keep the power of the legs connected to the torso and to maintain potential energy for quick changes of movement.
  • Apply a strong downward pressure to the floor at the time of impact.

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