Karate Kata - 5 Tips To Improve Your Stances

Stances are the very foundation of good karate katas. Not only are you training your body as a self defence weapon, you are also training it to be a delivery system and platform from which your weapon is launched. You may have a strong punch or kick as well as the speed to deliver the technique but unless you have a strong platform to support the delivery then things might not go your way when the time comes.  
Here are five “tips” to help you improve your stances and strengthen your “battle platform”. 

1.  Identify the Importance of Improvement 

It is not your level that is important. What is important however is the understanding that you can improve your stances today by taking on an attitude of growth. That you can become better than you already are. As with anything you do there is always room for improvement. To think otherwise is limiting your capacity to grow to say the least. 

2.  Start Small 

Good Kata wasn’t built in a day! It takes time to develop good quality. Desire is a positive thing. Nothing happens without it. Work on the fundamentals. Foot position, weight distribution and overall balance are all fundamental qualities of a good stance. Learn to develop a “feel” for the stance whilst standing still before introducing movement. At all cost avoid unnecessary foot and upper body movement. Think of your entire body when executing a strong stance. 

3.  Improve Flexibility 

Do not limit your potential by limiting your mindset. So many potentially good students let themselves down by not adopting an attitude of “I can”. We all have the ability to improve our flexibility. Tight tendons, muscles and joints will only hinder your stances. A proper warm up and more importantly a warm down and stretch will go a long way toward lowering and lengthening your stances. A key point to remember is that the more flexible you become the lighter your legs will feel allowing you to move faster as well as improve consistency and stamina not only in stance work but other areas of your karate as well! 

4.  Improve Leg Strength 

You don’t need to develop your legs like a weight lifter however you can condition and tone them to absorb more through extra exercise like lunges, squats and leg lifts. You can increase power and stamina through introducing movement. In other words Kata. Nothing conditions your legs for karate like “more karate” which brings us the last tip and that is… 

5.  Practice 

The only way, and I mean the only way you are going to improve your stances is through conscious effort. Kata is a great way to develop your stances. Focus on the fundamentals. Be aware of what your feet are doing. Develop a strong mental picture of the desired stance before you execute it. Not only should the stance look good it should also feel good. If it’s worth doing, it’s got to be worth doing well. Repetition is the mother of skill.  


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