The middle stance, often called the horse stance or riding stance, is one of the easiest stances to learn and practice. However, because the body is well balanced front to back and left to right in this stance, it’s not really a good stance for blocking attacks or countering attacks with punches or kicks of your own. It doesn’t take much of an attack to throw him off balance; Similarly, without being able to shift your weight, you cannot add weight to a punch or kick.
However, the horse stance helps a martial artist find their center of balance as well as develop good strength and endurance. For this reason, many martial artists and teachers encourage students to study the intermediate stance and then have them hold it for increasingly longer periods of time.
Begin your intermediate stance by placing your feet one and a half to two shoulder-widths apart, with your feet pointing straight ahead. (Turning your toes out shifts your center of balance and shifts the tension from your large thigh muscles to your inner thigh muscles that aren’t as strong.) You need to keep your hips centered evenly between your legs so that you are well balanced; you don’t want to lean to the left or to the right. Bend your knees slightly (imagine you’re riding a horse), but don’t let your knees come too far forward over your feet. Your butt should stick out slightly behind you: your shoulders should be evenly positioned with your hips, and your head centered on your shoulders. Be careful not to stick your head out in front of you – this will throw you off balance and give your opponents and enemies an easier target.
Make fists with both hands (remember to keep your thumbs in front of your other fingers, not under them or next to your fists) and bring them to a high reaction force (close to your armpits, palms up). In our style. In Taekwondo, we strike in a straight line, so that the hands are kept closer to the upper body, rather than the hip position as in other martial arts.
To build strength and endurance, take a middle stance, then lower yourself slightly, bending your knees a bit more, while making sure you’re still centered. If you feel yourself falling forwards or backwards, push yourself up a bit: the point of this pose is to achieve good balance. Try to hold the pose for at least a minute, then evenly (using both leg muscles at the same time) squeeze your hamstrings and glutes to return to standing. Rest for at least a minute before repeating the exercise.
When you feel comfortable with the pose and can hold it for at least a minute, change the practice by practicing punches. Begin by pointing your left hand at an imaginary target at waist height. (If you’re not sure where you are, stand in front of the mirror and draw an imaginary line from your belt loop to the mirror. Aim for the mirror image of the loop. DON’T HIT THE MIRROR!) Perform a right punch at the point target while pulling the pointing hand back to the reaction force position. Once your right hand has reached the imaginary target position, it will serve as the target for a left punch. Continue striking left, then right, executing each strike carefully and slowly. (This is also a good opportunity to practice your punching technique. We’ll go over basic punches in a future article.)
Be careful not to rock your hips and shoulders as you throw your punches; the purpose of this practice is to increase the strength and endurance of your muscles; swinging your hips and shoulders will shift your weight and foot position, detracting from the work your legs do.
As your legs get used to the strain of holding the position, you can sink a little deeper into the pose. However, unlike many schools, we don’t teach horse stance too low. Because the body is well centered in this stance, it takes energy and time to move from a deep horse stance to another position, and when you’re training or defending, you don’t want to waste time or energy shifting your weight back. and forward so you can throw a block or execute a kick. Movement from any posture should be fluid and controlled. Practicing extremely deep middle stances can also be difficult on your knees.
A second intermediate posture exercise you can practice is “Touch Together.” Take a good middle stance, then contract the muscles in your right leg and move it to the left until it reaches your left leg. Touch your feet together (your knees should be slightly bent when they touch), then move your right foot back to the starting position. Repeat the same movement with the left leg. Repeat for at least one minute. Make sure you’re not using your foot to push yourself up, but to contract your muscles; your shoulders need to stay level as your leg moves. Practicing in front of a mirror will help you see if your shoulders go up and down when you move.
As you get better at Touch Together, you’ll be able to modify the movement that will prepare you for a side kick. Start in a middle stance, then look to your left; contract the muscles of your right leg, lift it slightly off the ground and move it toward your left foot, but as your right foot moves to the left, rotate it so that the heel of your right foot is near the center of your foot. left foot, and the toes are turned away. When you put your foot down, both of your feet will be in the shape of the letter “T”. Make sure your knees are still slightly bent, then face center and return to your starting position. Repeat facing right and moving your left foot in a “T” shape. (Practicing looking in the direction of your kick will help you keep your balance when you kick! Make it a habit now, and your kicks will be stronger and more accurate later.)
This pose works your leg muscles a lot, so remember to warm up before practicing and stretch those muscles after your practice session. Remember: practicing a little every day will give better results than practicing a lot once in a while!