View Full Version : Let's talk about the horse stance

08-09-2000, 03:31 AM
Hey there,

I would like to hear from other people about the horse stance. I have a friend who wants to join my kung fu school, but he is worried about his knees. I used to get quite a bit of knee pain, and I still do from time to time. It seems to me that the key is keeping your thighs nice and spread out, and conditioning your leg muscles with weights etc. A good warm up seems to help. I went to a phyisiotherapist, and she simply said "don't do the stance, there is too much torque on your knees." I notice in some kung fu books that the horse stance is shown with the feet pointing 45 degrees outwards, while my school asks me to point my toes directly forward. The physiotherapist said if you must do it, them point your toes outwards, to lessen the torque.

Overall, I feel ok about my horse stance, and the knee problems seem to be going away, but I would like to hear others experiences with it.

08-09-2000, 04:33 AM
Our school has always done the 45 deg out point with the feet. Stupid idiot that I am, I started listening to a guy whom I considered more knowledgeable because he was one of my heroes. (He's a hell of a fighter, but on this one thing I believe he's wrong with a capital W) He had learned our way, but went to the straight foot forward stance since he said it provided better balance. I tried it on his say so and immediately beginning noticing not only knee pain but pain in the arch of my feet. I continued because I figured it was me and not the method, but it got so bad I went back to my instructor's and his instructor's and so on back about three hundred years method. Guess what. The pain is going away and my techniques are back to full speed. It's nice to know my body agrees with your physiotherapist.

Paul Skrypichayko
08-09-2000, 10:59 AM
Martial arts training should make your whole body healthy. This is even true with your knees and horse stance.

Some people train the horse stance with the knees out, some train with them in. Some people train the stance with feet splayed outwards, and some train with them parallel and pointing forwards.

Get your friend to do lots of warmup, take care of his joints, and do horse stance, duck walk, squat jumping, and any other safe exercises. Make sure he watches out for any potential injuries. After 3 months of good training, his knees and legs should be much stronger.

08-10-2000, 03:37 AM
Thanks for the info... I have found, however, that I can build enough strength in my thighs to do the stance with my toes pointing forward, so I use that method. I do point them slightly outwards, and I make sure that I spread my legs as wide as possible.

The fellow who teaches me my forms says that in Hong Kong, they used to make all the students stand in the horse stance for fifteen minutes, and if they moved, they would get whipped in the back of the leg with a stick.

We only do the stance for 5 minutes in class, and I try to do it for 10 minutes myself at home.

How long does your class do the horse stance?

08-10-2000, 04:38 AM
At the beginning of just about every class, we have 30-45 min. of stancework, but we are not just in horse stance. We have stancework in gung bo and back stance as well. It at least makes it seem like you're getting a break, but in reality, it's working different muscle groups. And uhh yeah sifu is carrying around a bamboo rod that he smacks you with if you're trying to get away with breaking stance while his back is turned /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif I had a lot of trouble with my knees the first year with hung gar,but as I have grown stronger, I don't seem to have as many problems. I keep my toes either pointed forward or slightly turned in. And practice stance in little ways, like when watching tv or whatever.

08-10-2000, 10:49 AM
To pass our gradings we must finish with 1/2 an hour of horse stance. In my first lesson I had to show that I could hold it for 10 minutes (it nearly killed me /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif) From what I have read, I dont think that our stance is as low as others.... What is the angle of your thighs to the floor?

Blessed Be,

08-10-2000, 10:57 AM

[This message has been edited by Bastet (edited 08-11-2000).]

08-10-2000, 09:56 PM
In answer to your question: Our class does the horse stance so that the thighs are almost parallel to the ground. One of our teachers used to place a staff across everybody's lap, so that if they stood up a bit, it would roll off. We do other stances as well -- ten basic ones.

08-10-2000, 09:58 PM

[This message has been edited by LION (edited 08-14-2000).]

08-10-2000, 10:30 PM

[This message has been edited by MaFuYee (edited 08-14-2000).]

08-11-2000, 02:01 AM

[This message has been edited by LION (edited 08-14-2000).]

08-11-2000, 12:16 PM

[This message has been edited by MaFuYee (edited 08-14-2000).]

08-12-2000, 10:56 PM
that was funny

08-13-2000, 06:12 PM

08-13-2000, 09:52 PM
Ion Swamp,

Yes, I agree that the stance is more than ceremonial. It helps to build strength, endurance, flexibility, and protects you knees by strengthing them. It's funny, I was playing frisbee a while ago, and I found the horse stance allowed me to do some incredible jumps for the disk, because I could land with perfect balance. I can accomplish way more in daily life as a result of training it.

Somebody on the main board suggested that all fights end up on the ground, and the whole thing turned into a huge debate. I am not sure about the statistics on this matter, but I know that if I keep working on a low horse stance, I will be harder and harder to take down.


Buk Sing CLF
08-14-2000, 08:11 AM
This is my first posting in this newsgroup. I practice Buk Sing Choy Lay Fut (as my name suggests).

We do horse stance (say ping ma) with the toes pointed forward. The knees must be above the feet, both forwards and sideways.

The desired 'look' is one of complete centrality and strength. Weight should be evenly distributed along the feet, not on the front or toes.

If the knees are directly above the feet then most of the pressure should be taken off the knees, as you are using the shin bone as support from the knee down, not knee strength. All stress for the stance is held in the thigh and groin regions.

Also, if your knees are hanging in, imagine the protection there is if a kick came to the side of your leg. There is none. Horse stance should be strong enough to withstand someone kicking and pushing your legs from every angle. The shape of the stance naturally gives this.

I have had trouble with my knees, due to other exercises and training, and I find a good warm up is to do a crane stance (dook lok ma), close your eyes and try to stay balanced. The simple corrections you do to stay upright exercise the medial and lateral areas of the knee.

For me the horse stance gives balance and strength to hold that balance. It also gives me a good connection to the ground that enables me to throw my techniques with power and sureity. Plus the mind over matter when it comes to the pain.

I have seen hundreds of people come and go at our school in Perth, Western Australia, over the years and I have never heard of an injury from a correct horse stance.

I hope my two cents worth has been interesting.

[This message has been edited by Buk Sing CLF (edited 08-14-2000).]

08-14-2000, 03:24 PM
The general feeling I get is that everyone thinks that the horse stance is a good thing.
From my personal experience the horse stance is trained deep so you can use it high. I've
found that the strength you get from training it deep results, in you having increased mobility when you use in a 'standing horse stance postion'. As for the toes being in or out. I believe you should keep them in. The reason why, is that the structure is weeker when your toes are splayed out. It makes you liable to lose your structure if you are swept.

As for horror stories my instructer had to sit the horse stance 'deep' for half hour then had to do crane stance for a half an hour on each leg.

Wah Ren Jie
08-15-2000, 10:59 PM
In my opinion, horse stance is the least of you worries when it comes to knee problems. The scissor stance and the one legged stances put way more pressure on the knees. Things I have found that help: Ace bandages lightly wrapping the knee area, Hindu Squats to warm up the knee area, Lots and lots of tiger balm and wrapping with a cloth overnight after your workout. The direction of your knees definately effect the structure of your horse stance. Trying to keep your shins pointing straight up as opposed to leaning them out over your feet is much better.

Crouching Tiger
08-17-2000, 07:15 AM
the horse stance is dangerous. Too much stress on knee joints, also, leave the crouch open to kicks!

Bruce Lee said to be natural - never tensed, but always ready and flexible.

"ease and comfort and body feel" - use the "spiritual stnace"

08-17-2000, 09:02 AM
"All stress for the stance is held in the thigh and groin regions."


08-17-2000, 08:31 PM
feet shouldn't be even 45degrees forward on sei ping ma, because when you get kicked to your knee, your knee joint might straighten out and break.

but if the feet point forward the knee just bends down to the floor. a bit like in kneeling horse stance. (lok gwei ma)

just another way to look at it.

08-23-2000, 09:38 AM
Excellent post Buk Sing CLF. By the way do you learn fromt he Generation Grandmaster Of CLF? Grandmaster Sun of 8 Step Praying Mantis said that he is one of the few Generation grandmasters of a complete system. Another thing to consider is the feeling. you should feel all your weight going through the centers of your feet. Another thing to consider is your breathing. If your breathing is fast and forced its easy to do a "billy blanks" toes out horse stance. WHen you breathing is low and steady and you hips are sunken and relaxed you can stay in a horse stance for a long time. 10 minutes in a low horse stance with 10 rings was part of my 4th grade testing and it taught me a lot about horse stance. For maintinence workout I usually do a horse stance while I take a shower or have to wait somewhere. Another way to practice horsestance is to take the weight off you legs when your sitting at a desk.

Buk Sing CLF
08-27-2000, 12:48 PM
Hello 8StepSifu
In answer to your question, no my Sifu is not the Jeung Mun (or Keeper of the Style) of CLF.
Our school mainly follows Gong On. He was one of the top disciples of Tarm Sarm, the founder of the art.
Gong On was one of the disciples that were sent by Tarm Sarm to train in Northern Shaolin and Iron Palm under Ku Ye Chern.
He was also a master in Jow Gar before he met Tarm Sarm.
So our lineage is basically BSCLF but we have Northern Shaolin (Sil Um) and Jow Gar training as well.
Gong On's son, Gong Hing, is still alive in Hong Kong today. He taught the Lacey Brothers, Dave and Vince (now in Fredmont, Calif.), who then brought the art to Perth, Western Australia, in 1966. That's where my Sifu started his training.
I hope that answers your question.