If you are in a sparring competition, there’s a classic way the match will start. The head referee will stand roughly between the two competitors, and then with a signal, each fighter will move into their stance, ready to spring into action once the match officially starts.
If, on the other hand, you’re in a self-defense position, you don’t get any warning that a fight is about to start, and the other person certainly isn’t going to wait for you to find your fighting stance before they make their move.
In our Piedmont Bando class, Jim Sheeran and I emphasize that a fighting stance should be something you can very easily enter, and it may not start with your favorite foot forward. We often suggest a variation of the middle “N” stance, in which the feet are not too different from where they might be when you are walking. (Shout out: In addition to this note, you might also like to read Jim Sheeran’s post on stances from our Piedmont bando blog.)
To work on your fighting stance, start simply by finding a middle N stance with your strong side forward. (If you’re right handed, right foot is forward.) There’s a tradeoff between mobility and stability, and we like the middle N as finding a good balance between these two. Then start working that stance for yourself. So, while keeping both knees bent – can you hold that for two minutes? Can you step into any other stances from there? What mobility can you discern from that position? How many blocks can you do from it? How many different strikes?
Play with it, and see how comfortable you can get in a basic fighting stance. Once you’re there, we’ll start to refine it.