Taekwondo 101: Basics for Begnners: Starting With Stances: Front Stance

Front Stance

Please note that all stances, strikes, walks, and kicks are described way that we teach them at our school. Your school may teach them a different way — and the way that your school teaches them is correct. There are many flavors martial arts, and in each flavor the techniques will vary slightly. Always do your techniques the way your instructor has taught you when you are practicing your forms — but learning other styles and other techniques will expand your knowledge of martial arts.

To begin our style of front stance, start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart, with your weight resting on the balls of your feet. For a right front stance, step forward with your right foot. Your right foot should be one to one-and-a-half foot lengths ahead of your left foot and your feet should remain shoulder width apart. It is important to keep your feet pointing to the front, so check the position of your feet frequently.

From this position, look at the toes on your right foot. Keeping your eyes on your toes, begin to bend your right knee; as soon as you cannot see your toes, stop. At this point your knees should be just over your heel. This should result in about 65% of your weight gain over your front foot. While you will feel the quadriceps in your front leg working, you shouldn’t feel pain in your front knee. If you do feel pain, you are probably bending your front knee too far. (You want to be able to move forward easily from the front stance into another stance or into a kick; if you have too much weight on your front foot, you will have to shift your weight back before you execute the next technique, which will slow you down.)

Your back leg should remain straight. Take care not to let your back foot turn outwards. If this happens, it usually means your stance is too long — your front foot is more than a foot length ahead of your back foot, or too wide. (As you gain experience and practice, you may be more able to take a wider stance while keeping your back foot pointing straight ahead. However, stability and balance in the stance is more important than width or length; if you feel balanced and able to move forward easily, then stay at that stance width and length.)

Even though we want to keep our weight on the balls of our feet, don’t let your back heel come off the ground. This happens when you lean forward, and your shoulders and head are in front of your hips. Keep your weight centered over your hips.

While in the front stance, keep your shoulders positioned over your hips: don’t lean forward or backwards. Take care to make sure that you don’t stick your head forward, either. The simplest way to do this is to keep your eyes forward, rather than looking down. (If you feel any discomfort in the back or your neck or in your shoulders, then you are probably sticking your head forward.) When you are just starting work on your stances, you may have to make a conscious effort to keep your head straight, rather than leaning forward or looking down; practicing good body position now will help make it an automatic action as you progress too higher ranks.

Bring your hands up in a guarding position. Your hands should be between your head and waist, with the arms bent and protecting the chest area. Keep your hands in fists, making sure the thumb is wrapped in front of the fingers; don’t put your thumb inside your fist, and don’t put your thumb next to your fist — both ways can result in injuring your thumb when you block or punch. Don’t place your hands too close to your body; you want to have far enough in front of you so that they can block a kick or punch before it gets close to your body. Similarly, don’t put your hands out too far in front; keeping your elbows bent will help protect your chest and allow you to respond faster.

The left front stance is done in the same manner, but with the left foot in front.

Even though we teach the front stance as the first stance, it is not the easiest stance to learn or execute. Getting into the front stance and maintaining good position takes practice. You can do this by stepping forward into a right front stance 10 times, checking your body position and foot position each time, then stepping into a left front stance ten times. If you find that your back foot is turning out, try this technique: start with your feet shoulder width apart, then step BACKWARDS with your right foot, letting your toes touch first, then letting your foot roll back to your heel. If you feel your weight shifting from your front leg to your back leg, then you are turning your foot; roll back up onto the toes, and lower your heel once again.

The front stance is an important technique for executing front kicks, punches, and blocks in our forms and should be practiced regularly. Equally important, however, is learning to move from one front stance to the next. Check out some of our practice drills on moving from stance to stance!

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