Zenkutsu Dachi

This stance (also commonly called a Hard Bow Stance) is a mid-level stance that places one leg forward of the other. The feet are spread at least shoulder width apart (usually wider, up to a 45° alignment on the Octagon). The front leg is bent and the back leg is straight (often rigidly straight). Both heels must remain on the floor for maximum rigidity. The hips and shoulders should turn to face local octagon angle 1 and this is what necessitates a wide stance width. Ideally the hips and shoulders should be aligned along the local 3 and 4 octagon angles. The front foot is generally facing forward, and the back foot either faces forward or about 30° off of forward position.

To adopt this stance either move your front foot to local octagon angle five or move your back foot to local octagon angle six. The toes of both feet should now rest along an imaginary line stretching between local octagon angles five and six (along the octagon angles five and six axis). This allows your center line to be focused directly toward local octagon angle one. Weight should be equally distributed along the bottoms of both feet. If you feel more weight on your front foot then shift your torso and hips back to better equalize your weight distribution.

Care must be taken when bending the front leg to not let the knee go forward of the ankle position. Doing so puts greater stress on the knee joint and can lead to damage to the ligaments, tendons, or muscles of the knee. The shin should be in a generally vertical orientation, but should be pressed forward more than 90° from the floor.

This is a very rigid and strong stance when focused along octagon angel one and is often used to deliver back hand strikes. It is also useful in some cases for thwarting pushes or pulls or for aiding in your delivery of these same actions. This stance is quite effective at maintaining stability along the octagon angles one and two axis.

The stance is not particularly effective at resisting pressures (bumps, pushes, pulls, etc.) coming from an angle other than angles one or two. In the picture above a push coming from the direction of local octagon angle seven would set the practitioner onto his or his heels causing the stance to fail. Pressures from other angles cause somewhat different but similarly disruptive effects.

Practice this stance at low, medium, and high elevations so that any elevation within this range can be quickly adopted when required. Just do not violate the knee positioning rule when doing lower level stances.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.