TSD vs TKD stances


Master Black Belt
Apr 1, 2002
Reaction score
Rochester area, NY
Hiya all.

I've done Tang Soo Do. Now I do TKD. Besides the forms, the major difference between the two are the stances. Tang Soo Do has deep stances. TKD has more up-right stances. I still use my deep stances at times. I either get "told" about it ( for having my stances too deep), and others say it looks good in forms. With that said, I'm getting mixed signals. Should I use the more up-right stances for TKD or no? Comments?
First you must understand the difference between deep and long.
TSD and Shotokan have, over the last 15 yrs or so, lenghtened their stances to almost silly proportions.It is common to see front stances that that are so long that the rear foot can no longer be kept flat on the floor.
A deep stance is another matter. In a deep stance the length is the traditional distance.However the knees are bent more, dropping the stance down creating depth.This is very hard on the muscles and many have trouble with it, the easy answer is to lenghten the stance giving the impression of depth.
Compounding the problem you are having is the lack of depth most TKD dojang allow to pass as correct form.
In my opinion deep is good, and thats what I do!But as I have stated to you before, you are playing the role of student so you don't have the freedom that I do.Having said that, I find it hard to beleive any instructor would have too big a problem with a student making thier training harder on themselves!
You do have a point there, fissure :) I have a bad habbit ( urrrr... I wouldn't say bad) of using TSD techniques in TKD a lot, still. Deep stances is one. Hand techs during sparring is another (which is a big no no in WTF sparring). I miss TSD, but I wanna do good (or try) in TKD, so I'm trying to find a "happy medium".
In my training in TKD, we have both deep stances and upright stances. It isn't limited to art really, maybe your school just uses this and that.

For deeper stances, you can get more power and more stability. Upright, you are faster and more agile.
I train itf style hyung with a very traditional master, and he always emphazises deep and strong stances. Most of the high or "standing" stances come from wtf style poomse. I like to train both as much as time allows.
i'm not too familiar with TKD but i think that if your instructor requests you to perform a stance a certain way you should do what he asks. i know it is very hard to re-train your body to do things differently.

when i began TSD i needed to re-train my body from shotokan. then when i switched TSD schools, i needed to re-train my body again to perform the moves how my current instructor required me to. it is definitely a pain in the a$$. all in all everything you learn makes you a better martial artist. i'm sure your instructor know this and sees how much effort you put into your training. i don't think that he thinks you are doing anything wrong, i just think he wants everyone on the same page.
Good point, Shinzu. I guess if I switched to another TKD dojang that taught WTF TKD (I do WTF TKD), the instructor would teach it different, eventhough it's the same art, right?
TKD stances have had a wide range of dept and distance. When I studied it back in the early 70's our stances where extremly low and long. Other Tkd schools had higher and shorter stances, while some of the TSD schools had even higher stances back then. So there has been a evolution in both systems and it also depends on the instructors.
yeah, it's all gonna depend on the instructor. even if it is the same style. when i studied kung fu for a while the instructors front stance was different in that he taught you to angle your front foot 45 degrees so your knee would protect your groin.

talk about re aranging everything you learned... that was very hard.

just do you best :)
there are differences in tang soo do stances. we do have the long stance. tkd uses much shorter stances which are quicker for tournament and sport karate but by speed you lack power. in a sport situation you want a point quick and get out of there! its not a real life threatining situation your faced with. let me explain the tang soo do deep stance! has your car ever ran out of gas? have you ever helped push a car ? go over to the wall, pretend its a car and you need to push it to the curb! now look at your stance, you cant put your entire body into an attack from a short stance! you can punch from a short stance! and punch,and punch and punch! but from the tsd long or deep stance one punch is all you need the power behind the punch is the same power and force as pushing a car! the fight is over! no points awarded! this is real life! life is not a game or spectator sport.

MASTER ZACKER/ TANG SOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hiya Dave.

I did TSD and I loved it. I like the deeper stances better, but I now know that the TKD stance is for sport :(
i havn't done TSD but i hav done deeeeep i mean way deep stances in Taichi(my teacher called it conditioning of legs:D) so they both hav it's purposes... deep stances gives u idea about good root, power generation n high stance gives u idea about mobility, stability while moving,
in TKD we do we hav very high stances(ie for horse riding or sitting stance the distance b/w legs is about 1.5 shoulder) this gives u very good mobility. L stance or cat stance is same way very high...

<you cant put your entire body into an attack from a short stance! you can punch from a short stance! >
Master Dave in TKD basics the first stance is standing stance n even from there TKD teaches to punch IMO it's not about deep stance generate power, proper body mechanics that generate, deep stances just facilate them.
power is generated from legs controlled by waist n used by extremeties this is simple theory. it works with uprite stance
for ex if u watch boxer who hav highest stance but when they punch they hav best punch ever found...they even generate lots of power.

Laurie when u r learning TKD then u should be learning TKD not TSD, i know TSD is ur first art n u like it very much but this way u'll not be able to learn TKD rite. i hav to stop thinking about MT n learn TKD when i started TKD, but don't forget wat u hav learnt in TSD, unforutnately there's no "happy medium". even i hate to unlearn something learnt in TKD for taichi...
Originally posted by karatekid1975
, but I now know that the TKD stance is for sport :(
ah i hate to disagree with this...it's u who'll hav to use...chances r that u'll hav to learn TKD for life then wat u'll do? it's a decent MA not a sport... it depends how to want to use it...use i as a sport or MA...think again, think wise
My Advice practice both styles of stance(deepers n higher) they hav their places...i do both
Master Dave, I fully understand the power aspect of TSD stances. But I don't believe I will ever see a TSD player drop into a full front stance in a street situation.
Again I refer to the point I made in my first post, i.e., TSD (and its parent art Shotokan) have favored increasingly long stances over the last couple decades. As a Master, you have seen this change for yourself. In the same manner TKD has placed its interest on kicking tech., sacrificing deep stances along the way.
Again long as opposed to deep is always going to be a key issue. It is easy to make a stance low by increasing it's length. Unfortunately a long stance does little to increase the angle that ones joints are positioned at, and it is this angle that builds tension and power in movement.
Real life, as you say, is far removed from the dojang - TKD or TSD.
deep stances were not intended to be long. this defeates the purpose. a deep stance is supposed to increase your balance and your center of gravity.. a long stance may be good in certain situations but it has a tendency to leave you more open and off centered.
TSD (and its parent art Shotokan) have favored increasingly long stances over the last couple decades.

Just how long have they evolved to in TSD? I do TKD, and our walking/front stance is 1.5 shoulder widths long. My mate who did Hapkido before TKD had a similar problem with the shorter TKD stances.

Having said that, I do tend to make my stances longer than they should be.....
Just how long have they evolved to in TSD? I do TKD, and our walking/front stance is 1.5 shoulder widths long. My mate who did Hapkido before TKD had a similar problem with the shorter TKD stances.

You always beat me to the threads i read!

Anyway, good point about the TKD stances. In ITF TKD aren't all stances meant to have a set form of dimensions like Andi says or more accurately as is taught by ITF?

I was also told in a WTF class that the stances are more upright so that the kicks can be done from a natural walking movement.

How much do you lot agree with this?
the fact is that every association is going to do things a bit different in the dojang, but on the street you have to do what works for you. so practicing kicks without deep stances has it's advantages also. the best way to adapt to things is to train many different ways with the same techniques.

it just makes you the better in the end!

Latest Discussions