Stances, Ground Positions, Postures

Basics 1-of-6


This section is an attempt to define those movements considered essential in building a system adaptable to every individual. These are the foundation on which to build; and, without which, success is not assured. While the list is as complete as possible, there is bound to be some omission.


Stances are very important in technique application. They provide the balance and alignment necessary for proper execution of the technique. They are ephemeral, a moment frozen in time. Normally, you are passing through the stance on the way to somewhere, or thing, else. "The naming of stances is a learning device to enhance your understanding of your physical passage through space and time."


The feet are pointing 45° out with the heels together, weight is evenly distributed 50-50%. Another Attention stance is the same except; the heels and toes are together. It is normally used in kata


Feet are shoulder width apart and parallel (on the outside) with the knees slightly bent, toes gripping the ground. The Naihanchi stance is basically the same; just one and a half to two shoulders wide, both knees bent out over the insteps. With the Fighting stance the feet are parallel, pointing 45° forward, shoulder wide, with the front toe and ball of the back foot on the center-line. Both knees are bent with the front knee pointing forward, 50-50%. The Fighting Horse stance is identical except; it is two shoulders wide or more. All, of these stances are 50-50% weight distribution.


Short for Bow and Arrow. The front foot is pointed, at minimum, 45° forward, the back foot is straight pointing forward, both feet are centered on the center-line. The front leg is bent with the knee over the instep, the back leg straight, 70-30%. The Neutral Bow is the same except; the back leg is bent with the knee pointing down, over the center-line, with the foot's heel in the air, ball on the ground, 70-30 to 30-70%. When the back knee touches the front knee, it is called a Knee to Knee stance. The exact reverse, of the Neutral Bow, is the Dropping stance sometimes called the Reverse Neutral Bow. The front leg is bent to the rear, knee pointing down; foot, heel in the air, ball on the ground.


Legs are crossed, knees are bent, 90-10 to 10-90% weight distribution. Sometimes referred to as the 'Twisted' stance.


Both feet are placed flat on the ground; one foot's distance between them. The back foot, points 45° forward while the front foot is straight. Both feet are on the center-line, knees bent and pointing forward, 10-90 to 20-80% weight distribution. The 'T' stance has the feet flat on the ground, back foot 90° to and centered on the center-line, front foot straight ahead, on the center-line, both knees are bent, 10-90 to 50-50%. The Extended version is created by moving the front foot forward.


One legged stance, Front Crane: support leg foot points same direction as the raised knee; Side Crane: raised knee is 90° to support leg foot; 0-100%.


The normal stance used in Kobudo. The feet are parallel and pointed 45° forward with the toes on the center-line. They are one to two-plus shoulder widths apart. The front knee bent is over the instep, the back leg straight, the hips and shoulders twisted 90° to the front, 60-40, 70-30%. Almost the exact reverse of the Weapon stance is the Kusanku stance. The difference lies in the weight being on the rear leg, the toes pointed 45° rearward, the back leg bent along the center-line towards the rear and the front leg straight, the major difference with the torso is, the hips and shoulders being straight along the center-line.


The feet are parallel, shoulder wide, pointing to the front, one to two-plus shoulder widths long, front leg is bent with the knee over the instep, the back leg straight, 60-40%.

Ground Positions


Sitting on the butt, one foot is tucked in; foot flat on the ground, leg bent, knee up and pointing forward, your other leg is straight forward; Your hand opposite the bent leg is flat on the ground supporting your upper body; other hand guarding to the front. A variation has the normally straight leg loosely tucked in towards your groin.


Laying on the side, the bottom foot is tucked in; front leg bent, knee up and pointing forward, the foot is flat on the ground, knee and foot on the center-line, hands in a Fighting position.


Laying on the back, one hand is extended alongside the body to protect from kicks; the other bent (elbow forward, hand covering your ear).


One knee on the ground; front foot minimum 45° forward, back knee two hands distance from front heel, both feet and rear knee on center line; back foot, heel in the air, ball on the ground, 50-50.


Legs are crossed in front, feet and butt on the ground.


Postures cause us to project an image to our adversary be it benign, fearful, competent, threatening or whatever. They should rarely be a true reflection of our inner state of mind. They should project the image that you want him to see.

Self Defense:

The hands are 45° forward, shoulder high, and open, the arms bent 90°, the elbows one hand's distance from the ribs.

I give up:

The same as the Self Defense Posture; except, the hands are positioned at the sides.


Feet parallel, 45° forward, shoulder wide, front toe and back ball of foot on center line, both knees bent, front knee pointing forward, 50-50; hands closed, front arm, bent 90°; elbow, one hand's distance from the ribs; hand shoulder high; back arm, vertical, elbow against the ribs hand by the cheek bone.