Wednesday, 9 September 2009

The Side Facing Stance for Fighting

The side facing horse stance (kiba dachi) is one that is used some times in some karate/kickboxing schools to practise side facing techniques such the side kick and the side backfist. However, many people use it as there actual fighting stance. Is it really effective for this purpose?

In order to practise basic techniques such as the ones above, especially if one is new to them, then yes, practising them in this stance may be worth it. However, the aim is to be able to throw side facing techniques, front facing techniques and back facing techniques from a stance that offers the best balance, defence and mobility. The side facing stance simply does not do this.

Some of the reasons why include,

Limited techniques – From this stance a side kick and backfist can easily be executed but nothing much else. In order to throw jabs, crosses, front kicks etc one must first pivot there feet turn there body, and then throw the techniques and by the time this happens, your opponent will have easily reacted.

Limited cover/defence – It is possible to cover yourself and to defend slightly with your front arm, but because you are side facing your opponent, your back arm is wasted unless again, one pivots there feet and turns into a front facing position.

Limited movement – Moving back and forward, although awkward from this stance is possible. However, sidestepping, bob and weaving, and many other movements are hard to do.

Limited balance – A slight push to either side is more than enough to bring someone down who is standing in this stance.

Limited sweep defence – Because this is a wide stance and the front leg is projected too far forward, one is in danger of being swept very easily and taken to the floor. Coupled with the fact that there is limited balance to either side in this stance, this is not good.

If someone is not aware of these limitations, within two minutes of sparring using this stance, one will quickly become aware of them, so the question now is, why do people still prefer to use it when sparring? The answer being, simply because it looks good. It looks great to be able to throw a high side kick from this stance. The picture above shows Bill Wallace posing for the cameras using this stance, however, if you watch his fights, you will see that his stance is more realistic and forward facing. Being such a great fighter, he knows the best stance and all the advantages it offers over the side facing stance. One should know that realistic fighting does not look good, it looks boring to some and brutal to others, but the fact is that it works, and why, because it is basic. I quick knee strike to the groin that will hit nearly all of the time from a simple forward facing stance will always be much more effective than a high side kick from a wide side facing stance, which rarely scores.

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