Saturday, January 17, 2009

Basic Stances

A note of concern. We have allowed the world to tell us that there are differences that matter. I'm taller so I'm better. You're stronger so you are better. We have become a fractioned Goju world. And while I am not saying that this is going to be a big "kumbya" moment, we must study our past and come to grips with it. Someone said "you can never know where you're going if you don't know where you came from." (If someone knows who said that tell me so I can give credit where credit is due). 

These are basic stances that we have taught and learned to date. Yet most are unaware that there are stances within stances. Slight changes and shifts in focus and intent can change form one stance to another:

There are two varieties of horse stance:

Kiba Dachi - Horse Stance: 
The feet are parallel and wide, weight is central and low, with the back straight and the knees and feet pointing slightly inwards. This stance is not used in all styles because of the strong tension is requires in order to keep the feet parallel and knees spread wide. This is the horse stance that USA Goju practitioners have been taught.

Shiko Dachi - Horse Stance : 
Same as Kiba-dachi but the toes face out at about 45 degrees. You have often heard us say that this is the "Okinawin" type of horse stance.

Sanchin-Dachi or Boxing/Three Battles Stance: 
The stance is fixed and tensed with one foot moved forward until the toes of the rear foot are on the same horizontal line as the heel of the front foot. The legs and buttocks should be tensed upwards, while keeping the weight low and the knees bent inwards. This stance has strong tension in the legs and is the basis of the kata Sanchin Breathing kata.

Zenkutsu-Dachi - Front Stance: 
This is a long frontal stance where the weight is mostly on the front leg. It has the exact same height as shiko-dachi, but the rear leg is completely straight at the knee and extended back. The front foot is placed frontal (toes facing forward), the rear foot is turned out 30 degrees, never 90 degrees as seems natural to newbies because this precludes any forward motion. The heel of the rear foot rests on the ground. Zenjutsu-dachi is one of the most common stances in kata. 

Nekoashi-dachi - Cat Stance: 
All weight rests on the back leg, which is bent. The rear foot is turned at about 20-30 degrees out and the knee sits at the the same angle. Only the toes of the front foot rest on the ground, positioned in front of the back heel at about the same distance as the front foot of moto-dachi. There is no weight on the front foot, and there is no bend in the ankle joint - front knee, front shin, and the rise of the foot (but not the toes) form a single line.


Julieanne said...

Hi John

this brings back memories of my Zen Do Kai days. I am sure I don't have the stamina anymore but you are making me think that I might well have it still. I loved Zen Do Kai and always felt so great afterwards.

Good Luck with your Tournaments!

PS Am sure it is ok to use article.


John Lyons-Sensei Universal Goju Karate School said...

Thanks Julieanne. If you start at the back of the room no one will notice that you're back at it. By the time they realize it you will be back in form.

Don't fold, don't quit!