Footwork & Stances

Other Positions
Footwork Zones


Cat Stance: Practitioner stands with inside of rear foot facing the opponent (toes point at 90◦ angle away from the opponent). This foot bears 90% of the practitioner’s weight. The other foot is drawn up till just the toes and the ball of the foot rest on the ground; the heel is up, the foot is pointing towards the opponent and bears 10% of the practitioner’s weight.

Flat Cat Stance: Almost identical to a cat stance, but the heel is on the floor.

Crane Stance: Balance on one foot with the opposite knee raised so the upper leg is parallel to the floor, foot flexed and next to knee of standing leg. Knee of standing leg should be slightly flexed to aid in maintaining balance. This stance is the one from which almost all kicks are delivered, and the stance to which one should return after delivering the kick and before returning to a two-footed stance.

Elbow Position: Hands are in back punch position (fists closed, palms up), positioned at the bottom of the rib cage, elbows back and tucked against the sides. This is the basic hand position when the practitioner assumes the horse stance.

Forward Stance: A fighting stance with one foot forward and the other back, slightly deeper than a half moon stance. This stance, when positioned with the left foot forward and right foot back, is called an orthodox stance. The mirror image stance, with right foot forward and left foot back, is called a southpaw stance.
forward stance

Front Position: Feet together, knees very slightly flexed. Left open palm (peace) covers right closed fist (combat). This is the attention position in Kempo. It is based on the tree stance.

Horse Stance: Stand with weight evenly balanced on both feet, slightly over the toes. Feet should be shoulder-width apart, toes pointed forward or slightly outward, knees flexed. Back should be straight, with shoulders over the hips and hips over the ankles. Head should be up and hands should be at elbow position.

Half-Moon Stance: Similar to a horse stance, but one foot is forward. The heel of the forward foot should ideally be in line with the toes of the rear foot. Weight remains balanced evenly on each foot, slightly over the toes.

Ready Position: Left fist at right shoulder across body, right fist near left hip across body. Generally assumed from a tree stance.

San Chin Stance: A pigeon-toed stance, utilized in Ping Shen Tao for turning in a forward direction.

Set Position: This is the closing position of attention at Pence Self-Defense Academy. The practitioner stands in a tree stance, hands fisted, positioned on either side of the belt knot and tilted towards one another at a 45° angle.

Tree Stance: Feet together, knees very slightly flexed.

Twist Stance: Foot positioning is the reverse of a cat stance. Lead foot is parallel to opponent, presenting the inside of the foot and bearing 90% of the practitioner’s weight. The other foot is positioned perpendicular to the opponent, heel up, directly behind the lead foot, bearing 10% of the weight.

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Half-Moon Footwork: Also called “half-mooning”, this is a method of movement by which the practitioner sweeps the ground in an inward crescent-shaped arc, to the standing foot and back out to a new half-moon stance, as he steps forward.

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Other Positions

Cup Over Saucer:The hands are positioned one on top of the other, at the hip. The bottom hand is fisted, palm up, to create the saucer, and the top hand is set on top of it, fisted, palm down, to create the cup. If the cup-over-saucer is on the right hip, then the right hand is on the bottom, and vice versa.

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Footwork Zones

(click to enlarge)

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