5 Benefits of Regular Horse Stance Training

Horse stance training, what is it? The horse stance is a beginning martial arts posture or stance that can be found in nearly every martial art style and is thousands of years old. It creates a firm foundation upon which all other martial arts techniques can be built.

Beginning through advanced martial artists “assume the position” and then hold the position for as long as they can. Beginners usually find that their legs start burning and their muscles stop cooperating after only a few seconds. For this reason many teachers suggest that students practice holding a this stance for fifteen minutes everyday with the promise that after two years they will have a decent horse stance.

The horse stance is done by spreading your feet apart approximately double your shoulder width. Then the knees are bent. Some styles bend their knees until the thighs are parallel with the floor, others bend their knees until they can just see their pinky toes as they look down toward their feet. Regardless, the idea is to have the feet wide and the knees bent.

Benefit #1 – Better Balance

Regular horse stance training allows you to develop a strong base and gets you used to having your feet really wide. Then, when someone pushes you, instead of taking a small step, losing your balance and falling down, you will take a wide step and remain on your feet.

Benefit #2 – Lower Center of Gravity

Along with balance, regular training also helps the student develop a lower center of gravity. This is known as “changing levels.” Many martial art styles use tripping and throwing techniques in order to defeat an adversary. With a well practiced horse stance a student finds that their center of gravity is nice and low and their opponent has a much more difficult time knocking them to the ground.

Benefit #3 – Powerful Leg Muscles for Kicking

Another benefit of regular training is the strength that develops in the leg muscles. Later in a students training they will learn kicking techniques. The regular horse stance training done earlier will give them more powerful kicks.

Benefit #4 – Yin and Yang

Most students find standing in a horse stance to be very dull and boring. In order to spice things up, blocking and punching drills are practiced while standing in a horse stance. With every punch or block students will give a spirit shout, known as a kiai. This shout helps the student to breath which provides the needed oxygen for the muscles to work. It also helps the student learn to be supple but well rooted and is a beginning teacher of yin and yang.

Benefit #5 – Energy, Awareness, Health

Along with all of these benefits many students are taught to do “boulder pushes” while standing in a horse stance. Boulder pushing is a breathing and strengthening exercise that increases “chi”. Chi is universal energy. By increasing their chi energy students begin to experience increased mental awareness and improvements in their health.

The road to great kung fu or karate or jujutsu begins with the horse stance. It is a rite of passage. There are many other benefits to regular stance training but you can only learn them if you start your stance training today. Find an experienced teacher, if you don’t already have one, and experience the many benefits of this timeless exercise.

Nicole Thomas

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