Training In Long Low Stances

PhotonGuy

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Some martial arts styles make good use of long low stances and other styles don't. For me, I think its better, particularly with kata, to train in long low stances instead of short high stances. Even if you're not going to fight using long low stances its best to train heavily with them.
 

skribs

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I see the pros and cons of it. My school trains with the low stances. I feel they train your legs better, because they demand more strength and flexibility to maintain those stances (and for each stance it's not a big deal...for the whole form, it is). Also, they simply look better.

In practice, we don't use the low stances as our starting point in our defense drills, but almost every single drill has us step into or through a low stance at the moment we want the most power. It's kind of like a lunge in fencing (but for a different purpose).

But if your style has footwork that is not supported by the low stances, such as with boxing (to my knowledge), then the stances would be counterproductive. At the very rudimentary level you could use front stance and back stance to symbolize how you turn your hips, but to my knowledge the basic fundamental of boxing footwork is to always have the same stance. You always want your strong leg back, always a shallow stance, and as you shift and slide and turn, you want to maintain that position. If you slide forward, both feet will slide, there is no "step" like there would be. These kinds of motions don't really work from a deep stance.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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One time I sparred with a TKD guy. I used a low stance that my head was on his waist level. Since he could not use his favor high kick on me, he refused to spar with me after that.

Low stance means that you have less area to cover. You can move in slowly like a tank. It's called "earth strategy".
 

Flying Crane

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There are a couple reasons to use low stances. The obvious one is that they make your legs work harder and you develop strength and endurance in your leg muscles.

However, this is not the only reason and in my opinion, is not the most important reason.

Stance training is less about the stance itself, and more about the transitions from one stance to another. This transition is where you do the actual work of creating power for your technique. It is the change from one position to the other that matters. The stances themselves can be seen as simply beginning or ending postures. With some exceptions, they generally arent terribly useful all by themselves. But as I say above, the transition from one to another gives you an opportunity to accomplish a task and to do so with a great deal of power.

That transition is where you connect the lower body with the upper body, and deliver your technique with the power created by that union.

Using low stances exaggerates that connection for purposes of practice and development. In a real fight you do not need to use those low stances. However, having learned to develop your power by using low (exaggerated) stances, you can still generate similar power with higher, more relaxed stances because you have learned how to effectively unify the upper and lower body into a unified movement.

Stance training is about transitions, and low stances with transitions is a great training method. Simply doing everything in low stances without paying attention to the transitions is missing most of the point.
 

skribs

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One time I sparred with a TKD guy. I used a low stance that my head was on his waist level. Since he could not use his favor high kick on me, he refused to spar with me after that.

Low stance means that you have less area to cover. You can move in slowly like a tank. It's called "earth strategy".

I'm surprised he didn't go for a lower, faster, more powerful kick. That's what I would have done.
 

wab25

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I agree 100% with the transition training idea. The only part I would add is that you don't need to change stances... just walk forward and backward in a front stance... here you are transitioning from left front stance to right front stance...

If you watch people walk, many people walk by leaning their upper body forward, then catching themselves with their feet. You can see them tip forward slightly when they walk. Others will rock their upper body to shift the weight and lift their foot. If you train these people to fight, with high narrow stances, like you spar and fight in, it is very hard to get them to change to a more efficient way of moving. Get them into a low stance and it gets interesting. The lower the stance, the harder they rock their body and the quicker they have to move their feet to catch the fall. If you teach them proper low stance transitions, they learn how to pull with the forward foot, push with the back foot, how to move their center to stay on balance throughout the whole transition. They can eventually do it slowly and the rocking / tipping goes away. Now they move much better, stronger, quicker, faster and on balance... even when standing straight up.

Get a low enough stance, and its not possible to rock / tip your body forward enough to fall into that forward step. You have to take the step properly.

(and yes, this also develops muscle...)
 

skribs

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I agree 100% with the transition training idea. The only part I would add is that you don't need to change stances... just walk forward and backward in a front stance... here you are transitioning from left front stance to right front stance...

If you watch people walk, many people walk by leaning their upper body forward, then catching themselves with their feet. You can see them tip forward slightly when they walk. Others will rock their upper body to shift the weight and lift their foot. If you train these people to fight, with high narrow stances, like you spar and fight in, it is very hard to get them to change to a more efficient way of moving. Get them into a low stance and it gets interesting. The lower the stance, the harder they rock their body and the quicker they have to move their feet to catch the fall. If you teach them proper low stance transitions, they learn how to pull with the forward foot, push with the back foot, how to move their center to stay on balance throughout the whole transition. They can eventually do it slowly and the rocking / tipping goes away. Now they move much better, stronger, quicker, faster and on balance... even when standing straight up.

Get a low enough stance, and its not possible to rock / tip your body forward enough to fall into that forward step. You have to take the step properly.

(and yes, this also develops muscle...)

An art that teaches footwork using slides and skips instead of steps also does this.
 
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PhotonGuy

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One of the main reasons I think its a good idea to train primarily in long low stances is because if you get used to using long low stances and you get good at using long low stances it is much easier to transition to high short stances than vice versa.
 

Flying Crane

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One of the main reasons I think its a good idea to train primarily in long low stances is because if you get used to using long low stances and you get good at using long low stances it is much easier to transition to high short stances than vice versa.
Ok, to test your theory, why would someone want to transition from one to the other? Either way?
 

Kung Fu Wang

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Have you ever trained the low stance walking? Your 1 hour low stance walking can be harder than your 3 hours regular walking.

low-stance-walk.jpg
 
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skribs

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Ok, to test your theory, why would someone want to transition from one to the other? Either way?

We do this all the time in both the Taekwondo and Hapkido curriculum at my school.

In Taekwondo, we start almost all of our defense drills from a neutral position (feet shoulder width apart, hands down near our belt), with the assumption that if someone sucker punches us we'll need to be able to react. So we explode from that neutral position, usually into a deep stance. Our next step is usually into a shallow stance, such as pulling one foot back so our feet are together (to explode out again), or to pull forward to be in close for a strike to the chin or neck, for example. The same happens with foot sweeps, using a small step to position ourselves for the big step to sweep the leg.

In Hapkido, most of our circular steps are short-long or long-short. I might do a long step followed by a short step to get behind someone, or a short step followed by a long one to get more leverage into a take-down. Transitioning from low-to-high or high-to-low can also give great leverage on several of the joint locks. For example, locking the elbow from underneath on a low-to-high step, or using the lower stance to put more weight into pretty much 90% of the locks we do.

During one of our Taekwondo tests, our Master (who teaches Taekwondo and Hapkido) explained he prefers the Palgwe forms that we do at our school to the Taegeuk forms that are the current Kukkiwon curriculum, because of those deeper stances. He explained that his experience as an instructor in Tuk Kong (the Korean Special Forces martial art) showed that with a deep stance, you can go up or down. With a shallow stance, you can only go down, and that limits your options.

The lower stance is generally more rooted to the ground, which gives you more power, more straight-line explosion, and better balance. The higher stance is generally lighter and more nimble, which conserves energy and is easier to dart in and out. Being able to go back and forth gives you a good balance of strength and speed when you need it.
 

_Simon_

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There are a couple reasons to use low stances. The obvious one is that they make your legs work harder and you develop strength and endurance in your leg muscles.

However, this is not the only reason and in my opinion, is not the most important reason.

Stance training is less about the stance itself, and more about the transitions from one stance to another. This transition is where you do the actual work of creating power for your technique. It is the change from one position to the other that matters. The stances themselves can be seen as simply beginning or ending postures. With some exceptions, they generally arent terribly useful all by themselves. But as I say above, the transition from one to another gives you an opportunity to accomplish a task and to do so with a great deal of power.

That transition is where you connect the lower body with the upper body, and deliver your technique with the power created by that union.

Using low stances exaggerates that connection for purposes of practice and development. In a real fight you do not need to use those low stances. However, having learned to develop your power by using low (exaggerated) stances, you can still generate similar power with higher, more relaxed stances because you have learned how to effectively unify the upper and lower body into a unified movement.

Stance training is about transitions, and low stances with transitions is a great training method. Simply doing everything in low stances without paying attention to the transitions is missing most of the point.
Got alot of your post, thanks, really informative :)
 

Kung Fu Wang

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I wish the whole Martial world fought in long low stances.

At least I can dream.
Something like this?

What's wrong with the following picture? The guy on the right can use his right hand to pull on his opponent's left ankle. A free "single leg" is offered.

Taiji-PH.jpg
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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I'm thinking about it even more, and those people would have really strong legs if they fought like that. So it would be low stances, high kicks, and the ability to jump. Practically an anime fight.
 

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