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What is the most effective fighting stance?

The most effective fighting stance for self-defense will depend on the specific situation and the individual's personal style and preferences. In general, the best stance for self-defense should allow the individual to move quickly and easily, while also providing stability and balance. It should also allow them to access a variety of techniques and strikes, depending on the situation.

Some common fighting stances that may be effective for self-defense include:

  • The boxing stance: This stance involves standing with the feet shoulder-width apart, with the dominant foot slightly forward. The hands are held in front of the face, with the elbows tucked in and the palms facing the opponent. This stance provides mobility and allows for quick punches and footwork.

  • The Muay Thai stance: This stance is similar to the boxing stance, but with the feet placed farther apart and not quite as long. The hands are held in front of the face, with the elbows extended to provide protection. Usually this fighting stance will have you position your hands higher than a boxing stance to protect yourself from head kicks. This stance provides stability and power, allowing for powerful kicks and punches.

  • The grappling stance: This stance is used when grappling or grappling with an opponent. It involves standing with the feet hip-width apart, with the dominant foot slightly forward. The hands are held in front of the body, with the elbows bent and the palms facing the opponent. This stance provides mobility and allows for quick changes in position and body control. However, this stance is vulnerable to being open to striking techniques, so it should only be used as you take your opponent to the ground or are defending against a take down technique.


Here's the thing, when you take up a fighting stance or position you put yourself at a serious disadvantage.

First, it reveals to your opponent that you may know some kind of martial arts or that you have had some previous training.

Next, taking a fighting posture shows that you are willing, committed and prepared to fight. Consequently, the opponent is ready for the fight as well. Taking up a fighting posture may also lead to your opponent becoming even more aggressive.

The most effective fighting stance for self defense is the  surprise attack stance

In facing an aggressive adversary you should remain formless most of the time. Do not take up a typical fighting stance with your hands up like a boxer

Instead, when confronting a possible adversary, take a non-aggressive, normal, standing posture with the hands lightly resting on the front part of the hips. Keep in mind you are not just standing there, waiting to get punched, rather you are in a mode of readiness. You can move instantly and with full force from this posture.

This stance is the most common and practical of all the various stances for pure self defense. To assume the best stance for self-defense in the street, enter the ordinary boxing stance, with one big difference, your palms should be open, facing away from you. To visualize this stance think about someone would do naturally when saying "I don't want to fight" Under these circumstances, taking up a natural formless posture will permit you to use the element of surprise to its maximum advantage.

Foot sweeps

The element of surprise

If the fight is unavoidable, and you decide to move from this formless posture, it will be a complete surprise to the criminal or aggressor. The element of surprise is indeed a powerful fighting strategy. Your opponent will react differently when taken by surprise then if they were ready.

For example, when someone is expecting a force to come in contact with their body, they tend to naturally brace for the impact. This makes any strike to that braced area less effective.

Whenever a strike hits unexpectedly, it feels like it has twice the power.

You should definitely devote some of your training time to practicing self defense from the various sttance listed above. However, taking a fighting stance should only be done if the element of surprise has already been lost.

Ultimately, I want my students to understand that one should be ready for any situation.

All self-defense situations are inherently different. Imagine there is a thug / criminal / drug addict who is prowling about inside of your house. Subsequently, you come upon him in the middle of the night. In this situation remaining formless and trying to surprise the criminal would be useless.

The element of surprise has already been lost. This is a perfect time to take up a "fighting stance"

However, when someone being belligerent and trying to provoke a fight, for example, in a bar, this formless posture will allow you to use the element of surprise. The element of surprise is one of the kung fu practitioners' greatest weapons. This is one weapon whose power should never be underestimated.