Tuesday, 26 May 2009

How to make a back stance or Hugul ja sae

Back stance or fighting stance (hugul ja sae) is used extensively in Tang Soo for kicking techniques. This is formed by turning out your back leg so it is perpendicular to the front leg, aligned heel to heel. Effectively your feet form an L shape with your back leg bearing most of the weight and your front foot touching the ground only with the toes and the ball of the feet. Naturally the body tends to therefore be side on to the opponent which shows less target area for point-sparring. It also lends itself to kicking (off the back leg and) with the front leg for stopping shots but also facilitates higher head kicks off the front leg as the rear foot is already half turned out. Spinning kicks come easier too from this stance as pivoting on the front leg is easy. The reverse kick or straight kick is, of course, a different matter: the front kick has to bear the weight shift adding in a step into the sequence (weight shift, bear weight on front leg, kick off rear leg). But I find this fairly seamless really and not a deal breaker. My main point to work on is when we're practicing mostly straight kicks with the rear leg. When I return to hugul ja sae I find my back foot has drifted inwards and makes less of an L shape with the front and more of a wonky V. This back leg naturally wants to be in a walking stance with both legs more facing forward but the trouble (for executing techniques in Tang Soo Do) is that when this happens my leg bends at a funny angle and doesn't bear the weight straight up, vertically. It suddenly adopts a kink in it, more like a dog leg than a human one! 

Tonight I aimed to keep returning to the L shape.

Of course there's nothing to say we shouldn't change from one stance to another according to circumstances. Walking stance (or front stance) is much mmore natural for those reverse kicks-  I'm not advocating a complete back stance policy here! I just want to keep working at it so that my legs bear the weight in a more natural manner. 

Note: Korean back stance is much shorter than Japanese back stance! Photos to follow.


Sue C said...

You seem to really like the back stance. Did it take you a long time to feel comfortable with it? I find it really difficult to do. The main problem for me is that we step forward into back stance which seems really unnatural to me, I cannot get the weight distribution right without shuffling around. It would make more sense to me to step backwards into it but I'm told that's not the correct way to do it. Any tips on how to get into the back stance quickly and easily?

Littlefair said...

Yeah I like back stance. Like kit or loathe it Korean martial arts with their emphasis on (high) kicking means that we're in back stance quite a lot of the time.

I'm composing a blog article now in answer to your question.