The Kung Fu Horse stance

At Casa Martial Arts in Waterdown when we teach the horse stance as a fundamental stance, it is not to mean lowest level but almost most important. The Horse Stance is an important posture in Asian martial arts and takes its name from the position assumed when riding a horse. This stance can not only be integrated into fighting but also during exercises and forms. We most commonly use the horse stance for practicing punches or to strengthen the legs and back.

The ideal horse stance in most northern Chinese martial arts will have the feet pointed forward, thighs parallel to the floor and the back straight with hands tucked by your waist. In Northern Shaolin, the distance between the feet is approximately two shoulder widths apart.

How to perform a proper Kung Fu horse stance:

  1. Stand up straight then put your legs apart making sure that your feet are facing forward.
  2. Be aware of your torso, make sure that your spine is straight and your posture is flat.
  3. Bend your knees and lower the upper body as if you were sitting on horseback.
  4. Make sure your feet are still facing forward, your body is still straight and your hips are loose.
  5. To train yourself further with using this stance, first find a stick, assume the horse stance and then place the stick on top of your knees.
  6. Be mindful of your posture and don’t let the stick fall.

How to train for a strong horse stance?

The way all masters have practices their Kung Fu is through hard work, the horse stance applies just the same. If you are not ready to put in hard work everyday for at least a few months, you have a hard time achieving a strong foundation.

Of course you should aim to stay in your stance longer, but the increase of time must be gradual. We cant expect to move mountains in a day. If you can aim to remain in your stance for 15 minutes, you would have done well.

Here is some advice, which has been passed down that may make your hard work more pleasant. Initially most people find practicing the Horse-Riding Stance tough work, but over time, the few who persist and succeed in overcoming the initial pain, will reap the benefits for their whole martial arts lifetime.

Most important of all you must relax — physically and mentally. If you can relax you will have removed the most significant obstacle keeping you from the ability to stay in your stance longer.

It is important to have your form correct, and remain at this correct form throughout the exercise. See that your body is upright, knees bent, and your fists held firmly at your waist. Your eyes may be open or closed when training the horse stance. Breathe naturally and gently. Aim to have your mind at ease. One of the ways we practice the horse stance is by counting our breath. Using our breath to keep track of how long we have stayed in the stance and increase that over time. By focusing on our breath we also give our Monkey mind something to focus on apart from the pain we may feel. Over time you will also find that your breathing has become deeper and longer.

By performing horse stance training it does not merely give you a solid stance. More significantly it builds your internal force and gives you mental clarity and freshness. You should also complement your stance training with leg stretching exercises, so that your footwork is not only solid but also agile.

If you have any questions about the horse stance or Kung Fu in Waterdown or Burlington, let us know.

Practice with focus

Sifu Erkan

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