Long/exaggerated/deep stances... unhealthy?

_Simon_

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Just something that keeps popping up from time to time, you know, talk around the watercooler!

Just curious as to everyone's thoughts on styles that frequently use alot of deeper, exaggerated stances, and whether this is healthy in the long run or detrimental.

I've now heard opposite sides to this... that:

a) Doing long, deep exaggerated stances strengthens everything (ligaments, tendons, musculature) so that you won't get injured.

b) Doing long, deep exaggerated stances causes more injuries LONG TERM than benefits (puts joints in precarious positions they shouldn't constantly be in)


And I'm talking about doing the stances properly with good technique, obviously doing them incorrectly very frequently over the years won't be the best idea... (knee caving inwards on forward stance etc)

Anyone have any thoughts or even experience with linking an injury of your own to this? (Obviously, it's a little difficult though to say with 100% certainty and knowledge that doing horse stance or long stance too much caused knee problems...)
 

jobo

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Just something that keeps popping up from time to time, you know, talk around the watercooler!

Just curious as to everyone's thoughts on styles that frequently use alot of deeper, exaggerated stances, and whether this is healthy in the long run or detrimental.

I've now heard opposite sides to this... that:

a) Doing long, deep exaggerated stances strengthens everything (ligaments, tendons, musculature) so that you won't get injured.

b) Doing long, deep exaggerated stances causes more injuries LONG TERM than benefits (puts joints in precarious positions they shouldn't constantly be in)


And I'm talking about doing the stances properly with good technique, obviously doing them incorrectly very frequently over the years won't be the best idea... (knee caving inwards on forward stance etc)

Anyone have any thoughts or even experience with linking an injury of your own to this? (Obviously, it's a little difficult though to say with 100% certainty and knowledge that doing horse stance or long stance too much caused knee problems...)
yes probably, anything done to excess is unhealthy in the long term, as soon as your using the terms '' long'' and '' exaggerated '' in the same sentence then the alarm bell should be ringing, if you change long to short or exaggerated to modest it sound distinctly more healthy

ask the hard question,,, '' why exactly are we doing this ''? vague claims that it good for you should be treated with suspicion
 
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Tez3

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I don't have any experience of long or exaggerated stances as we do quite short stances in Wado Ryu. I find them comfortable and practical, just looking at very long stances I'm sure I wouldn't be able to use them being a shorter person.
 

jobo

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I don't have any experience of long or exaggerated stances as we do quite short stances in Wado Ryu. I find them comfortable and practical, just looking at very long stances I'm sure I wouldn't be able to use them being a shorter person.
i think shorter people have an easier time with them, they were designed for the shorter oriental body after all

having long legs has the effect of increasing the leverage on the knee and hips making them more painful/ more injuries, at least in my long legged experiences
 

Tez3

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i think shorter people have an easier time with them, they were designed for the shorter oriental body after all

having long legs has the effect of increasing the leverage on the knee and hips making them more painful/ more injuries, at least in my long legged experiences


My instructor, long legs, says Shotokan is for tall people, Wado for shorties. I'm beyond deep stances now though, my knees aren't so much painful just don't work as they used to, I can get down as in sitting on the floor etc but my knees won't work to get me up, I have to lean on something or someone to get myself up. Grappling is fine just the getting up bit.
 

jobo

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My instructor, long legs, says Shotokan is for tall people, Wado for shorties. I'm beyond deep stances now though, my knees aren't so much painful just don't work as they used to, I can get down as in sitting on the floor etc but my knees won't work to get me up, I have to lean on something or someone to get myself up. Grappling is fine just the getting up bit.

perhaps taller people, it was designed around the typical body type of 1920s japan, who wernt over whelmed with 6.2 people with a 34 inch inside leg
 

skribs

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Just something that keeps popping up from time to time, you know, talk around the watercooler!

Just curious as to everyone's thoughts on styles that frequently use alot of deeper, exaggerated stances, and whether this is healthy in the long run or detrimental.

I've now heard opposite sides to this... that:

a) Doing long, deep exaggerated stances strengthens everything (ligaments, tendons, musculature) so that you won't get injured.

b) Doing long, deep exaggerated stances causes more injuries LONG TERM than benefits (puts joints in precarious positions they shouldn't constantly be in)


And I'm talking about doing the stances properly with good technique, obviously doing them incorrectly very frequently over the years won't be the best idea... (knee caving inwards on forward stance etc)

Anyone have any thoughts or even experience with linking an injury of your own to this? (Obviously, it's a little difficult though to say with 100% certainty and knowledge that doing horse stance or long stance too much caused knee problems...)

If this was really an issue, nobody would take Yoga.
 

jobo

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If this was really an issue, nobody would take Yoga.
yoga has been discovered to have significant health problems if taken to extremes.

i posted an aritcle on the bbc a few months ago, that there an epidemic of yoga teachers with significant and irreversible damage
 

Flying Crane

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It depends on the context, and definitely the form needs to be correct in order to avoid injury.

Deep stances definitely develop strength, but there is more to it than that. When you have a systematic method of full body engagement, the deep and long stances can act as an exaggerated movement that helps train the body for full engagement.

As example, in the method I train we drive a punch from the feet and legs. One of our forms, Lok Lik Kuen, has a variation where every step is done with a deep sweeping stance. It is taxing on the legs, but also trains you to drive up and forward from the legs rather than heaving yourself around from the shoulders. Its a little difficult to accurately describe in writing. At any rate, in developing the skill from a deep stance, you can then apply the technique from a narrow stance or from any stance at all, because the exaggerated deep stances taught you how to do it. It is a training and development mechanism. One thing we say in Chinese martial arts: you move big, to learn to move small. This is a good example of that concept. Large, exaggerated movements train us to ingrain that movement and get our power from the feet and legs. But in real application that is done with shorter, more relaxed and natural stances.
 
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My view is, so long as they dont do said deep stances and also have you do 100 squats, run about burpees etc ontop of it, its probbly a so-so decent stretching acitivty for your leg. Basically so long as they dont over do it.


But the argument to that is, if you dont do it for a fighting reason say terrain, why dont you use a normal stance and just do leg exercises to strengthen the legs? they will probbly work better in the long run. And the obvious point would be, if its for terrain, why do it if you arent on said terrain?


Also, i got squat flash backs.
 

skribs

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My view is, so long as they dont do said deep stances and also have you do 100 squats, run about burpees etc ontop of it, its probbly a so-so decent stretching acitivty for your leg. Basically so long as they dont over do it.


But the argument to that is, if you dont do it for a fighting reason say terrain, why dont you use a normal stance and just do leg exercises to strengthen the legs? they will probbly work better in the long run. And the obvious point would be, if its for terrain, why do it if you arent on said terrain?


Also, i got squat flash backs.

Is this based on your degree in human anatomy or your experience as a martial arts instructor who has seen the long-term effects of training?
 

Flying Crane

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My view is, so long as they dont do said deep stances and also have you do 100 squats, run about burpees etc ontop of it, its probbly a so-so decent stretching acitivty for your leg. Basically so long as they dont over do it.


But the argument to that is, if you dont do it for a fighting reason say terrain, why dont you use a normal stance and just do leg exercises to strengthen the legs? they will probbly work better in the long run. And the obvious point would be, if its for terrain, why do it if you arent on said terrain?


Also, i got squat flash backs.
For one example, you can go back and read my previous post, #9 in this thread.
 

isshinryuronin

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Not a kung fu guy, but I know some styles use deep stances a lot, and some, more upright. I do know Okinawan karate, and their stances are typically upright with some knee bend and 50/50 wt. distribution. Forward and back stances are not too common. Motobu Choki, the noted fighter, did not like those stances as they do not facilitate quick movement changes in actual combat.

The one notable exception is the "seiunchin", or "soto hachi" stance. Although deep by Okinawan standards, it does not rival the similar stance in Shotokan in the extent of knee bend. This is a specialized stance, and when employed in a kata, is often indicative of a grappling situation. By lowering the center of gravity balance is improved while grasping, or in the grasp of an opponent.

I do agree with Flying Crane that exaggerated techniques can be a training aid, as in combat half your form is sacrificed as you fight for survival. Deep stances also look good in form competition, and in styles like Shotokan, where the emphasis is on perfection of form and commitment in execution (at some expense of practical real life combat maneuverability.) But, as previously pointed out by others, not good for tall or older folks who need all the mobility and joint safety advantage they can get.

Deep stances or not? Depends on what concepts the style is built around, one's size, age and joint health, the specific purpose the stance is being employed for at the time, and personal preference. One size does not fit all; there is a time and place for everything.
 

Ivan

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Just something that keeps popping up from time to time, you know, talk around the watercooler!

Just curious as to everyone's thoughts on styles that frequently use alot of deeper, exaggerated stances, and whether this is healthy in the long run or detrimental.

I've now heard opposite sides to this... that:

a) Doing long, deep exaggerated stances strengthens everything (ligaments, tendons, musculature) so that you won't get injured.

b) Doing long, deep exaggerated stances causes more injuries LONG TERM than benefits (puts joints in precarious positions they shouldn't constantly be in)


And I'm talking about doing the stances properly with good technique, obviously doing them incorrectly very frequently over the years won't be the best idea... (knee caving inwards on forward stance etc)

Anyone have any thoughts or even experience with linking an injury of your own to this? (Obviously, it's a little difficult though to say with 100% certainty and knowledge that doing horse stance or long stance too much caused knee problems...)
If you speak of karate, there is some research by a subject specialist that helped me in writing my dissertation that covers this. The long stances you see in many styles of karate (I personally did a tiny bit of Shito-Ryu so I can relate) is actually a symbolism for the way that the Japanese militarised karate in its days of Japanese appropriation of it from the Okinawan folk. The Japanese teachers of karate would stress that regardless of size, body, flexibility, everyone's stances (kakutsu-dachi, zenkutsu-dachi, kibadachi etc) must be of the exact same size and proportion and width etc... The subject specialist claimed that they even carried rulers to ensure this.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Stances are to provide stability and a platform from which to deliver power. Moving between stances (transitions) has another set of requirements. My personal opinion is that there is often a tradeoff required between a very stable stance and the ability to rapidly transition between them.

As an older person, I happen to prefer the shorter and more upright stances of isshinryu, but I understand the value of deep stances.

With regard to injury, I can only say that although my shiko dachi isn't deep compared to some, I can certainly stay in it for a long time. It took a lot of training to get there.
 

skribs

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Stances are to provide stability and a platform from which to deliver power. Moving between stances (transitions) has another set of requirements. My personal opinion is that there is often a tradeoff required between a very stable stance and the ability to rapidly transition between them.

As an older person, I happen to prefer the shorter and more upright stances of isshinryu, but I understand the value of deep stances.

With regard to injury, I can only say that although my shiko dachi isn't deep compared to some, I can certainly stay in it for a long time. It took a lot of training to get there.

I think both are important. A lower stance (usually deeper) is better for making throws than an upright stance. It gets you a lower center of gravity and a stable base from which to make the throw. There's also more range and power you can put into a punch. A fencer will use a long stance for a lunge, and a baseball pitcher uses a long stance to accelerate the pitch.

Higher stances are faster, as you point out. If you're bobbing and weaving, you want to be lighter on your feet.

Even better is being able to change levels.
 

Buka

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I'm of the opinion that everyone should learn and explore any and all stances so they can find what works best for them in various circumstances. Personally, I've had my butt whooped by all kinds of stances, including deep ones. It usually has me trying to counter from the "seat of my pants on the floor" stance, which always seemed to elude me.
 

drop bear

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The advantage of long stances is it should develop flexibility in the hips enough to lift properly.

It is why I do bulk jump squats and lunges.



 
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dvcochran

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Just something that keeps popping up from time to time, you know, talk around the watercooler!

Just curious as to everyone's thoughts on styles that frequently use alot of deeper, exaggerated stances, and whether this is healthy in the long run or detrimental.

I've now heard opposite sides to this... that:

a) Doing long, deep exaggerated stances strengthens everything (ligaments, tendons, musculature) so that you won't get injured.

b) Doing long, deep exaggerated stances causes more injuries LONG TERM than benefits (puts joints in precarious positions they shouldn't constantly be in)


And I'm talking about doing the stances properly with good technique, obviously doing them incorrectly very frequently over the years won't be the best idea... (knee caving inwards on forward stance etc)

Anyone have any thoughts or even experience with linking an injury of your own to this? (Obviously, it's a little difficult though to say with 100% certainty and knowledge that doing horse stance or long stance too much caused knee problems...)
I 100% believe in your a) bullet. A 'poor mans' way to lift weights when you do not have the weights. I do think proper warmup is key (long stances or not) in preventing injury.
Where I have seen this go off the rails is when teachers do not let new people straighten their legs when they start getting gassed and stressed.
Like any lift, it takes time to increase weight or repetitions.
 

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