The H Stance

This week, our Bando minute updates will focus on the three basic combative stances: the N stance, the L stance, and the H stance. Each of these has a Low, Middle, and High expression of the stance. A good stance establishes a balance between stability and mobility; depending on the context you may want a stance that’s more weighted to one or the other.

The H stance can be either an offensive or defensive stance. It’s characterized by having the feet be parallel along the (imaginary) line that is just under the hips.

The “classic” H stance has one’s attitude (the direction of gaze) be forward; this is the stance we often use for drills. Note that the feet are approximately double shoulder-width apart; outside edges of the feet are parallel. Knees are over the feet (don’t let them fold in and risk your joint health).

For a fighting situation, however, Jim and I teach an H stance with an attitude to the side. This has a smaller cross-section of the body that’s exposed to the opponent. Here’s the same Low H stance in a fighting application. The tradeoff here is fewer weapons are accessible, but also there’s fewer vulnerabilities.

The middle H stance has the feet closer together, approximately under the hips or shoulder-width apart.

In the high H stance, feet are close together.

H stances (in fact, all of the stances) require strong leg muscles to be stable; strong quadriceps also protect the knee joint. Practice all three stances today; see if you can hold each one for 60 seconds.

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