Long/exaggerated/deep stances... unhealthy?

Kung Fu Wang

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A lower stance (usually deeper) is better for making throws than an upright stance.
Agree!

For a period of the time, I believed in "train as you fight". I only training high stances. I soon realized that that I lose a lot of flexibility and endurance.

Also. the more stretching that you do, the less shrinking that you will be when you get old.

If you can do "hip throw" solo drill like this, your "hip throw" will have very strong foundation.

hip-throw-solo.gif


If you do this 20 times daily, you won't have low back problem.

left-right-bow-arrow-stance.gif
 
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_Simon_

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Thanks all for the great responses, very helpful. I still see mixed stuff around, and I just stumbled onto this video which is sort of what i mean!


I really should have explained what I meant by exaggerated haha. I guess a stance that is pushed almost as long/deep as possible. So forward stance pushed really far is the thigh is parallel to the ground, whereas a shorter one would have a bit of of an angle in the thigh.

On this reddit thread they discuss the vid too with some insights...

Reddit - karate - Controversial thoughts on unhealthy karate stances
 
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_Simon_

_Simon_

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If this was really an issue, nobody would take Yoga.
Ah yeah, in the thread above someone mentions yoga:

"The funny thing is I go into the same stances in Yoga for health reasons.
Zenkutsu Dachi is essentially a wide Warrior 1. Kiba dachi is often used in transitions."

And the response is:

"There is a difference between doing it for a bit as a stretch, and holding it for long periods of time or moving in it frequently while trying to exert force. As for kiba-dachi being used in transitions, I would have to see that--it doesn't happen in our style"
 
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_Simon_

_Simon_

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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.

Yes see that's what I was taught too... to train larger more exaggerated moves and you get really good at smaller ones. But I question its usage in stances now and whether that's a good idea...
 
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_Simon_

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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.
Yeah, and that in itself is so damaging! For example my feet are naturally turned out quite a bit (duck footed), so I worry when I'm in say kiba dachi and get told my feet should be facing straight ahead, the outer edges of my feet need to be straight.

If I do that, it means my knees are gonna want to cave inwards to compensate, unless I really force my knees out, into a position that is just not natural for my body.
 

skribs

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Agree!

For a period of the time, I believed in "train as you fight". I only training high stances. I soon realized that that I lose a lot of flexibility and endurance.

Also. the more stretching that you do, the less shrinking that you will be when you get old.

If you can do "hip throw" solo drill like this, your "hip throw" will have very strong foundation.

hip-throw-solo.gif


If you do this 20 times daily, you won't have low back problem.

left-right-bow-arrow-stance.gif

I'm already short, I don't think I can shrink!
 

Flying Crane

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Yes see that's what I was taught too... to train larger more exaggerated moves and you get really good at smaller ones. But I question its usage in stances now and whether that's a good idea...
Well, it depends on how it is used. I gave an example of how we do it, I feel it is very useful.
 

dvcochran

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Thanks all for the great responses, very helpful. I still see mixed stuff around, and I just stumbled onto this video which is sort of what i mean!


I really should have explained what I meant by exaggerated haha. I guess a stance that is pushed almost as long/deep as possible. So forward stance pushed really far is the thigh is parallel to the ground, whereas a shorter one would have a bit of of an angle in the thigh.

On this reddit thread they discuss the vid too with some insights...

Reddit - karate - Controversial thoughts on unhealthy karate stances

To keep the focus narrow I will speak to the two stances shown in the video.

As you mentioned in your OP I think, correct form and technique are paramount for a stance to be effective and work as intended without causing injury.
I wish the video had more than one angle and showed a perpendicular (straight on) shot of the stances. In the front stance shown he had his front foot Super loaded. I assume this was to allow him to hyper-extend the rear leg. From my experience this is Not good form for many reasons. I do think this could be a source of injury. It would be like stretching under weight. If a person is not adequately warmed up and flexible, it may cause injury.

I know it varies from style to style but I will use our front stance specifics as an example:
The feet are as wide or Slightly wider than your shoulders.
Draw a straight line on the floor that passes through the right foot. The back leg/foot will be two shoulder widths back on the line.
Your weight is evenly distributed 50/50 on both legs.
The front knee is bent. Looking at your front foot, you should just see your toes. A person's anatomy can affect this where some see more foot, some see less.
The knee of the back leg is pointed down, toward the floor.
Both feet are pointed forward.

When first starting to working out, getting the rear foot correct is tough for some people. Sometimes this is caused by the ankle itself being stiff and sometimes the calf is tight. Both are usually remedied pretty quickly.

A front stance oriented this way is very strong against a frontal attack and strong against angular attacks up to about
20-25 degrees off centerline from either side.

I see zero value in hyper-stretching a stance as shown in the video and Yes, I do think doing it the way shown could cause injury especially if doing drills and such where the leg/joints are going to be stressed in that position.

In kibi dachi (juchum seogi) the feet are two shoulder widths apart and the toes are pointed forward. I have read where medical experts say the knee should be in line with the foot but have read just as many articles that say it doesn't greatly matter within reason. It the toes were pointed inward for example the would greatly strain the tendons/ligaments that support the ankle.
In the video, his second horse (riding) stance posture (I forget what he called it) doesn't really make functional sense to me because as soon as you start turning the feet out like he was you loose all your leverage and can be easily knocked over. Some is ok, but not too much.
Think of how you set in a chair (in good posture). Back straight, knees bent, thigh close to parallel to the floor, feet pointed forward and as wide or a little wider than the shoulders. Hold your weight enough to remove the chair. Widen the feet a little more and this is the correct posture for juchum seogi (kibi dachi).
This is an incredibly strong stance from a side or angular attack. When a person gets acclimated to the stance, it is strong against a frontal attack. In regards to practicing the kibi dachi, it is excellent for strengthening all muscle groups in the legs and lower back.
We widen our horse stance slightly to create additional base. As with any type of conditioning, it takes most people time to get their body acclimated to these stances in the correct position. Then additional time to find their full strength in the stance. Especially for western culture they are not necessarily 'natural'.
I hope this answered the question.
 

Dirty Dog

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I'm already short, I don't think I can shrink!

You almost certainly will. It happens to the vast majority of us with age, due tom a combination of disc compression and bone degeneration.
 

dvcochran

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You almost certainly will. It happens to the vast majority of us with age, due tom a combination of disc compression and bone degeneration.
Most definitely. I wore a 34 inseam pant when I was in high school. Now there are some 32 inseam pants that are long on me.
 

skribs

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You almost certainly will. It happens to the vast majority of us with age, due tom a combination of disc compression and bone degeneration.

Well until I was around 16 I grew up. Then starting at around 20 I grew out. Managed to stop that around 24 when I went back to TKD...
 

jobo

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Most definitely. I wore a 34 inseam pant when I was in high school. Now there are some 32 inseam pants that are long on me.

you legs shouldnt srink two inches !!! what has changed is the cut of trousers, now it fashion to have them bunched up on the ankle so they are all two inches longer, than they were when i was a lad

get in fashion and stop wearing half mast pants
 

dvcochran

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you legs shouldnt srink two inches !!! what has changed is the cut of trousers, now it fashion to have them bunched up on the ankle so they are all two inches longer, than they were when i was a lad

get in fashion and stop wearing half mast pants
My doc says between loss in the hip, knee, and ankle joints I have lost about an inch. I agree the cut has a lot to do with it.
My left leg is shorter from a bad break and reconstructive surgeries.
My doc also says I will get a little taller after the knee replacements. About 1/2".

Overall I have went from 5' 11-1/2" when I graduated high school to just under 5' 10". I could believe someone shrinking 2".
 

Kung Fu Wang

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to train larger more exaggerated moves and you get really good at smaller ones. ..
This is not true.

- A long fist guy may not know how to close. If you are used to have 180 degree shoulder, you don't feel comfortable with 90 degree shoulder.

- A WC guy may not know how to open. If you are used to have 90 degree shoulder, you don't feel comfortable with 180 degree shoulder.

If you can do larger, it doesn't mean you can do small (the other way around is also true). It may not be realistic, if you are used to do this,

large-circle.gif


and assume you can also do this.

small-circle.gif
 

Flying Crane

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This is not true.

of course it is. That is part of the training.

- A long fist guy may not know how to close. If you are used to have 180 degree shoulder, you don't feel comfortable with 90 degree shoulder.

or he may know how to close and he may be perfectly comfortable with the 90 degree shoulder. It depends on how he has trained, but if trained properly, he should have no trouble. Why would you assume anything else?

- A WC guy may not know how to open. If you are used to have 90 degree shoulder, you don't feel comfortable with 180 degree shoulder.
or he may know how to open and he may be perfectly comfortable with the 180 degree shoulder. It depends on how he has trained, but if trained properly, he should have no trouble. Why would you assume anything else?

If you can do larger, it doesn't mean you can do small
certainly it does, if you've trained it properly. Why do you assume nobody trains it properly?

(the other way around is also true).
This I agree with. If you've never trained the full range of movement, I find it unlikely that you could simply do it when needed. but then again, it comes down to how you train. If you do it properly, then ultimately you train the full range, even if the methodology is founded on shorter movement.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Yeah, and that in itself is so damaging! For example my feet are naturally turned out quite a bit (duck footed), so I worry when I'm in say kiba dachi and get told my feet should be facing straight ahead, the outer edges of my feet need to be straight.

If I do that, it means my knees are gonna want to cave inwards to compensate, unless I really force my knees out, into a position that is just not natural for my body.
My instructor was of the "everyone uses the same stance" camp, and I have the same issue you have (duck feet). I started paying attention to knees, instead, in those stances, and now teach students to select the correct stance/usage, rather than dictating the stance. In fact, in testing, if I see a stance other than what I normally teach, I ask why they used it. If they have a reasonable answer, then I allow it. If they don't (whether the stance is acceptable or not), then they're not ready yet.
 

Gerry Seymour

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This is not true.

- A long fist guy may not know how to close. If you are used to have 180 degree shoulder, you don't feel comfortable with 90 degree shoulder.

- A WC guy may not know how to open. If you are used to have 90 degree shoulder, you don't feel comfortable with 180 degree shoulder.

If you can do larger, it doesn't mean you can do small (the other way around is also true). It may not be realistic, if you are used to do this,

large-circle.gif


and assume you can also do this.

small-circle.gif
I see that some places in the aiki arts. It is my belief some of the movements taught are exaggerated to emphasize certain principles. They needn't be that large to be effective, but I see some instructors correcting smaller, faster, more efficient movement, because it doesn't match the teaching form.
 
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_Simon_

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To keep the focus narrow I will speak to the two stances shown in the video.

As you mentioned in your OP I think, correct form and technique are paramount for a stance to be effective and work as intended without causing injury.
I wish the video had more than one angle and showed a perpendicular (straight on) shot of the stances. In the front stance shown he had his front foot Super loaded. I assume this was to allow him to hyper-extend the rear leg. From my experience this is Not good form for many reasons. I do think this could be a source of injury. It would be like stretching under weight. If a person is not adequately warmed up and flexible, it may cause injury.

I know it varies from style to style but I will use our front stance specifics as an example:
The feet are as wide or Slightly wider than your shoulders.
Draw a straight line on the floor that passes through the right foot. The back leg/foot will be two shoulder widths back on the line.
Your weight is evenly distributed 50/50 on both legs.
The front knee is bent. Looking at your front foot, you should just see your toes. A person's anatomy can affect this where some see more foot, some see less.
The knee of the back leg is pointed down, toward the floor.
Both feet are pointed forward.

When first starting to working out, getting the rear foot correct is tough for some people. Sometimes this is caused by the ankle itself being stiff and sometimes the calf is tight. Both are usually remedied pretty quickly.

A front stance oriented this way is very strong against a frontal attack and strong against angular attacks up to about
20-25 degrees off centerline from either side.

I see zero value in hyper-stretching a stance as shown in the video and Yes, I do think doing it the way shown could cause injury especially if doing drills and such where the leg/joints are going to be stressed in that position.

In kibi dachi (juchum seogi) the feet are two shoulder widths apart and the toes are pointed forward. I have read where medical experts say the knee should be in line with the foot but have read just as many articles that say it doesn't greatly matter within reason. It the toes were pointed inward for example the would greatly strain the tendons/ligaments that support the ankle.
In the video, his second horse (riding) stance posture (I forget what he called it) doesn't really make functional sense to me because as soon as you start turning the feet out like he was you loose all your leverage and can be easily knocked over. Some is ok, but not too much.
Think of how you set in a chair (in good posture). Back straight, knees bent, thigh close to parallel to the floor, feet pointed forward and as wide or a little wider than the shoulders. Hold your weight enough to remove the chair. Widen the feet a little more and this is the correct posture for juchum seogi (kibi dachi).
This is an incredibly strong stance from a side or angular attack. When a person gets acclimated to the stance, it is strong against a frontal attack. In regards to practicing the kibi dachi, it is excellent for strengthening all muscle groups in the legs and lower back.
We widen our horse stance slightly to create additional base. As with any type of conditioning, it takes most people time to get their body acclimated to these stances in the correct position. Then additional time to find their full strength in the stance. Especially for western culture they are not necessarily 'natural'.
I hope this answered the question.
Thanks dvcochran, appreciate the thoughts :).

Yeah I guess as always it depends... on the individual body, how often the stances are used, the technique of the style etc..

I just want to be training for longevity, and instructors can often teach how they were trained and not be aware of long term implications. And often these things are accumulative, even if stances don't look super extreme, it's possible how they're done can be damaging..

I'll just not go crazy with my stances then :p.
 
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