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#174518 - 08/02/05 04:44 PM Kung Fu Horse Stance
18lohans Offline

Registered: 01/16/05
Posts: 321
I hear that a lot of long term MAs get bad knee problems if they continue to practice horse stance incorrectly. (To the point of surgery). So I thought it'd worthwhile to learn what a correct horse stance is.

In class, I hear that for kung fu you keep your knees inward (protect the groin area). Feet are parallel, toes facing front. Thighs should be parallel to the ground. Back is straight. (Perpendicular to the floor). Knees should be covering your toes as you look down.

This sounds great, but in practice is so different. First of all, I can't seem to go very low when my feet are pointing straight ahead. This means my thighs won't get parallel. My toes will point out as soon as I start to push lower. Not to mention that my back will start to bend. Even if I keep my back straight, my upper body will be tipping forward. I believe this adds more pressure to the knees.

I could probably get the parallel thigs and toes pointing forward if I get into a super wide stance. But this is impractical. And at this point, my knees won't seem like they're in line with my toes, because my knees are supposed to be inward right?

So I'm not sure if this is lack of strength and flexibility on my part, or that I'm getting this all wrong. I've tried to google some pictures of horse stance. All I found were karatekas in a horse stance. Theirs seem very different from kung fu. Their toes are facing out a lot, knees are out. They do have the parallel thighs and knees lining up with the toes though.


#174519 - 08/02/05 10:06 PM Re: Kung Fu Horse Stance [Re: 18lohans]
Da_Man Offline

Registered: 03/05/05
Posts: 105
I can't stress enough the importance of NOT having your toes point OUTWARD as you found in the many google images. However I also disagree with a low stance being a "practical" device. It is very good for training however. I believe the horse stance is used to condition yourself so that you are better to move around in all sorts of stances when in true combat. It is comparable to slow movements in TaiChi that condition your body isometrics. However in practice is done at full speed.

#174520 - 08/02/05 11:35 PM Re: Kung Fu Horse Stance [Re: Da_Man]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Perhaps you should try horse riding and learn to "sit" first...

Seriously, the basic premise of "gripping" the horse gently with the adductors is the same as if you're standing - except you should be "sitting" into the stance. It's kinda like sitting on an imaginary horse. Or a real one... and then remove the horse - with you remaining "seated".

As to how wide? How fat is your horse?

#174521 - 08/03/05 01:44 AM Re: Kung Fu Horse Stance [Re: 18lohans]
ButterflyPalm Offline

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 2637
Loc: Malaysia

The horse stance, or most other MA training practices, were originally intended and meant for young people / children, not adults. Those of us who started before the age of ten have no such problems as our tendons / muscles were still supple / flexible and the angle / knee / pelvis / back regions were strengthen as we grew.

Traditionally in the chinese systems, the toes are parallel to each other, the thighs are parallel to the ground, back / neck / shoulder straight and the fists chambered at the waist and stay there till the pain gets too much.

Ths horse stance is also an internal training device as with the legs far apart and low center of gravity, it is easier to 'sink' your chi and breathe 'down' to your tantien area and up your spine.

When you can circulate and spiral your chi into your legs, the pain disappears (much like a self-administered acupuncture effect) and you can meditate while doing the horse stance.

For added torturous effect, lift up your angles an inch off the ground.

As a preliminary internal practice and to overcome the initial pain, children were taught to make the sound "yhaaaaaaaaa" in a strong vibratory manner and spread the vibration created down into the legs.

For overall one-stop non-equipment-centered strengthening of the legs, waist, back and shoulders with internal training thrown in, this stance does the best job.
I'll rather be happy than right, anytime.

#174522 - 08/06/05 06:40 AM Re: Kung Fu Horse Stance [Re: 18lohans]
etaks86 Offline

Registered: 04/14/05
Posts: 161
i'd rather just run a few miles a day or week with weights on my hands and feet. i think that would strenthen your legs to. i don't do low horse stance it's to hard forget that. i could improve my mobility better just by runing everyday.

#174523 - 08/06/05 01:48 PM Re: Kung Fu Horse Stance [Re: etaks86]
18lohans Offline

Registered: 01/16/05
Posts: 321
I agree that running improves leg strength. (I did run track for 6 or so years, afterall). However, I have to say I think stance training is really important. My main concern in this thread was proper form, for the sake of avoiding injury due to strain in the wrong parts of the knee. Second, I think proper stances are side by side with making martial art techniques work.

#174524 - 08/08/05 09:17 AM Re: Kung Fu Horse Stance [Re: 18lohans]
etaks86 Offline

Registered: 04/14/05
Posts: 161
yes your right. but i'm more of a boxer in a fight. i practice wing chun. but i study the concepts of jkd. i like to mix boxing and wing chun in a fluid way. that's my fighting style for now.

#174525 - 08/11/05 07:11 AM Re: Kung Fu Horse Stance [Re: etaks86]
BaguaMonk Offline

Registered: 12/18/04
Posts: 404
The concept of training in a horse stance doesn't have much to do with boxing or fighting, but its beneficial. Its good to try and have your toes slightly gripped, butt tucked in, spine straight and aligned with your head (straight), chin slightly tucked in, and tounge on roof of mouth. The type of strength developed from horse stance is very different, and makes you VERY rooted. Grapplers will have a hard time taking you down to the ground. Mix that with something like Taiji push hands, and youve got good sensitivity and rooting.
Truth comes from the absolute stillness of the mind...

#174526 - 08/11/05 03:03 PM Re: Kung Fu Horse Stance [Re: BaguaMonk]
etaks86 Offline

Registered: 04/14/05
Posts: 161
i prefer wing chun chi sau for sensitivity training but i'm sure push hands work to. but i think if you take chi sau and combine it with mobility and maybe you can add some push hand type drills to your chi sau and do so in stillness and do so while moving around than i think that would be a very effective way to train in sensitivity.

#174527 - 08/11/05 06:14 PM Re: Kung Fu Horse Stance [Re: etaks86]
Da_Man Offline

Registered: 03/05/05
Posts: 105
Chi Sau is supposed to be done with mobility and footwork. Incorporating different stances and also the kicks. Chi Sau while standing is just one of the steps toward the pinnacle of Chi Sau.

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