How to do a Horse Stance in the Martial Arts
The Horse Stance is designed to maintain balance from the side, develop focus, peripheral vision, and lower body stamina.
The Horse Stance is one of many stances that are used throughout all Martial arts. In simpler terms, its just the way we stand or position our body that represents riding a horse or elephant (which you can do with us in Thailand).
In the Martial Science, we also use the horse stance to attain an appropriate state of mind. It also represents the element earth.
The Horse Stance is important for any Martial artist to gain a basic foundation physically and to gain strength – endurance and stamina.
In combat, this stance is utilized for performing side kicks, shuffling maneuvers and sweeping techniques. The stance can be used to lower one’s center of gravity in close quarters.
When not in combat, holding the Mind, Body, Spirit position for long periods of time can develop more personal characteristics.
How to perform the Horse Stance:
- Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulders width apart.
- Feet are straight, pointing forward.
- Knees are bent forward then pushed to the side.
- Arm and Hands in the Mind body spirit position, hands out forming a triangle.
You would use the horse stance when you are required to stand in a position where it was advantageous to be in a side stance.
Horse Stance Basics and overview
Horse Stance by Sensei Rick Tew
Horse Stance bear hug defense application
Mobile Defensive Application
When attacked from the rear with a bear hug, you could drop into a horse stance and lower your center of gravity. This makes it hard for your opponent to throw you around.
Mobile Offensive Application
The offensive application is that of a side kick and side stance. This stance offers good balance when force is coming from the side. However, it is very poor when force is coming from the front. It is a great stance for applying side kicks.
Horse Stance Sweep Application
If you end up in a position where your back is to your opponent, you can perform a rear leg sweep. This would buckle your opponent over and give you a good position for a shoulder lock, takedown, knee to face and more.
Feel free to come up with your very own unique applications for the technique, in fact we do encourage that.
Mind, Body and Spirit Position Application
Before class begins, all the students will line up from left to right (left being highest rank) and hold the Mind, Body, Spirit position until class begins. When you are standing in the mind, body, spirit position and looking through the triangle, you are checking to see that all is in balance. All the while, you do not focus directly on one problem or thought, (you do not dwell), you look through it. You are stable and you endure. This is the way of the Total Warrior (practitioner of the Martial Science).
You hold this position until the instructor is ready to begin class.
The idea is to stand in horse stance while focusing on your goals through the triangle you have positioned with your hands. You create your goals and picture them in the triangle.
What can you do mentally, physically and spiritually to enhance the realization of this quest?
Usually, students are visualizing their next rank as a goal. However, you can use this technique for any goal you create.
This stance or position is a form of meditation. Your stance symbolizes your life; secure and strong, yet there is enough pain to offer a challenge and help you grow. This is felt through the legs and arms and transmitted to the mind.
As you look through the triangle you are looking past it and not actually focusing on any one thing. I know we call this stance the Focus stance, but you need to understand that we mean focus with the idea of how to stay focused on your goals. Staying focused means that you don’t direct your attention to very small details only to be hit from something you should have seen. By looking through and open, while keeping your focus (what we call open focus), you are more likely to be aware of your surroundings during your quest. This will leave you open for opportunities and warn you of impending danger.
For example, while in the Mind, Body, Spirit position, focus in on the finger tips of your hands. This is detailed focus, now focus through the triangle without actually staring at any one thing. This will keep your focus open. You are still looking in the right direction, but you are more aware of what will come into your view. Think of trying to drive while looking only a few feet in front of your car. You will not be able to see what is going on around you. You wouldn’t have time to avoid any obstacles and if you need gas, you won’t see the station or know when to pull off the road.
You will also need to develop your peripheral vision. This is seeing things out of the corner of your eyes without having to actually look directly at the subject. When keeping your focus open, this is very easy to do.
The Mind, Body, Spirit position exercise is a representation for life. Stand strong, keep your focus open and work on your goals using Mind, Body and Spirit.
The concept is to develop your strength to not only focus, but to strive for your goals and take on the challenge. You will begin to understand this once you have stood in Horse stance for more than 5 minutes thinking about how you can be the best you can be.
In class it is key to remember you do not look at the instructor speaking to the class while in this stance. Again, you are looking forward and using your peripheral vision.
Horse Stance Application: Climbing Ninja Stealth Wall Spider Drill
Horse Stance Bridge Application
Students stand in a horse stance next to each-other and hold. Another student crawls across the bridge from one student to another without touching the ground.