Stances are the foundation on which every technique is built. If the stance is weak or incorrect, then any technique will be weakened or may even become ineffective. When performing a pattern at a competition this will result in lost points; when using Taekwondo in a real life situation this could result in defeat.

There are many different stances in Taekwondo, each with its own purpose and application. We practice these stances during patterns where the purpose of the stance is shown. For example Walking stance (gunnun sogi) is used for strong forward or backward techniques. Sitting stance (annun sogi) is used as a strong base for lateral strikes and forward techniques. L stance (niunja sogi) is our primary fighting stance. Agility, balance and flexibility are the controlling factors in the correct use of all stances.

It is extremely important to learn the correct posture for each stance at an early stage in your Taekwondo career. This is because we develop ‘muscle memory’ and once a movement is learned it becomes automatic. Therefore if a stance is practiced incorrectly then the resulting muscle memory will also be incorrect. As Patterns become more complicated, or in sparring when we are under pressure, we rely on muscle memory to produce the correct stance. This is why it is essential to practice each stance correctly. We need to understand how a correct stance ‘feels’ so that eventually we just know we are performing it correctly without needing to check.

We suggest that you check your stances whenever you have an opportunity – in line work, or when performing patterns in Instructor’s time. Just a quick glance down to check foot position, spacing, correct weight distribution etc. If anything is wrong, correct it but also try to understand why it was wrong, and how you can get the stance correct next time. If you know what a correct stance looks like and feels like (so that you can correct your stance when you check it) but you still find that a stance is incorrect when you first check, then the only explanation can be an incorrect movement into the stance or application of incorrect muscle memory. The good news is that these can be corrected with your Instructor’s guidance and practice. However you must make it your responsibility to work at perfecting your stances.

Most stances are measured in terms of shoulder widths. A useful exercise is to measure your actual shoulder width, then use this to measure your stances – this will tell you if your stances are the correct length/width.

Basic principles for a proper stance are:

  • Keep the back straight with few exceptions.
  • Relax the shoulders.
  • Tense the abdomen.
  • Maintain the correct facing. The stance may be full facing, half facing or side facing depending on the application (e.g. block or punch)
  • Maintain balance (equilibrium)
  • Make use of the knee spring properly when moving.

To help understand the correct position for each stance, which must be the starting point, please use the instructions below.

Remember, practice makes perfect, but only when you practice correctly!

 

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Attention Stance

Charyot Sogi 차렷 서기

Heels together with feet forming a 45 degree angle between them.

Weight is distributed evenly on both feet with the legs straight.

Arms are held out at the sides and slightly in front of the waist, with elbows partially bent and the fists lightly clenched, facing downwards.

The eyes are facing front and slightly above horizontal.

Bowing motion – bow from waist moving about 15 degrees forwards, continuing to look forwards (or maintain eye contact with opponent. When bowing to a senior grade, you must not raise your head before they raise theirs.
Always say “Taekwon” when bowing.

Parallel Ready Stance

Narani Chunbi Sogi (Chunbi Sogi) 나란히 서기

The stance is 1 shoulder width wide measured from the foot-swords. The feet are parallel.

Weight is distributed evenly on both feet with the legs straight.

The fists are clenched slightly and 5 cm apart. There should be approximately 7 cm between the fists and the abdomen and 10 cm between the elbows and the floating ribs.

The upper arms are forward at 30 degrees while the lower arms are bent upward at 40 degrees.

Walking Stance

Gunnun Sogi 걷는 서기

The stance is 1 shoulder width wide, measured between the center of the insteps of the feet.

It is 1.5 shoulder widths long, measured from the big toe of the rear foot to the big toe of the front foot.

The weight is distributed evenly between the feet.

The back leg is straight and locked with the back foot pointed outward up to 25 degrees.

The front leg is bent with the kneecap directly over the heel with the front foot pointed straight forward.

The foot muscles of both feet are tensed as if to pull the feet together.

Sitting Stance

Annun Sogi 앉는 서기

The stance is 1.5 shoulder widths wide, measured from the big toes.

The feet are even and parallel.

The weight is distributed evenly on both feet with the knees bent over the balls of the feet.

The chest and abdomen are pushed out and the hips are pulled back.

This stance is performed full or side facing.

L Stance

Niunja Sogi 니은자 서기

The stance is 2.5 cm wide, measured from the inside heel of the front foot to the back heel of the rear foot.

It is approximately 1.5 shoulder widths long, measured from the foot-sword of the rear foot to the toes of the front foot.

The weight is distributed 70% on the rear foot and 30% on the front foot.

Both feet are turned inwards by 15 degrees

The rear leg is bent so that the knee-cap is over the toes of the rear foot.

The front leg is bent proportionally.

The rear hip is aligned with the inner knee joint of the rear knee.

This stance is named for the rear foot, and is always performed half facing.

Fixed Stance

Gojung Sogi 고정 서기

The stance is 2.5 centimeters wide, measured from the inside heel of the front foot to the back heel of the rear foot.

It is 1.5 shoulder widths long, measured from the big toe of the rear foot to the big toe of the front foot (therefore 1 foot width longer than L Stance)

The weight is distributed evenly on both feet (50/50)

Both feet are turned inwards by 15 degrees

The rear leg is bent so that the knee-cap is over the toes of the rear foot. The front leg is bent proportionally.

The rear hip is aligned with the inner knee joint of the rear knee.

This stance is named for the rear foot, and is always performed half facing.

Rear Foot Stance

Dwit Bal Sogi 뒷발 서기

The stance has the heel of the rear foot slightly beyond the heel of the front foot, and therefore has no width.

It is one 1 shoulder width long, measured from the small toes of the rear foot to the small toes of the front foot.

The weight is distributed mostly on the rear foot.

The rear leg is bent so that the knee-cap is over the toes of the rear foot and the rear foot turns in 15 degrees.

The front leg is bent with the ball of the front foot slightly touching the floor, the heel of the front foot slightly off the ground, and the foot pointing in about 25 degrees.

The back of the heel of the rear foot extends just past the outside edge of the heel of the front foot.

This stance is named for the rear foot, and is always performed half facing.

Bending Ready Stance

Guburyo Chunbi Sogi 구부려 서기 (A & B)

This stance is performed standing on one bent leg and therefore has no length or width. 

The weight is all distributed on the bent supporting leg with the sole of the non-supporting foot placed on the knee joint of the supporting leg and the footsword of the non-supporting foot parallel to the floor. 

Type A: The knee of the non-supporting leg faces 45 degrees in from front. 

The fists form a guarding block. 

Type B: The knee of the non-supporting leg faces to the front (as if in preparation for a back kick).

The fists are held out from the thighs about 25 centimetres with the elbows bent 30 degrees (similar to Charyot sogi)

This stance is named for the stationary leg and is performed full or side facing.

X Stance

Kyocha Sogi 교차 서기

This stance is performed standing on one leg with the ball of the other foot touching the floor next to it with the feet almost parallel; therefore it has virtually no length or width. 

The weight is distributed on the stationary leg with the ball of the other foot touching the floor slightly and with the non-supporting leg crossed either in front or behind it (usually crossed in front when stepping and behind when jumping) with both legs bent. 

This stance is named for the stationary leg and is performed full, side, or half facing.

Low Stance

Nachuo Sogi 낮춰 서기

The stance is 1 shoulder width wide, measured between the center of the insteps of the feet.

It is 1.5 shoulder widths long, measured from the big toe of the rear foot to the heel of the front foot.

The weight is distributed evenly between the feet.

The back leg is straight and locked with the back foot pointed outward up to 25 degrees.

The front leg is bent with the knee-cap directly over the heel with the front foot pointed straight forward.

The foot muscles of both feet tensed as if to pull the feet together.

Vertical Stance

Soo Jik Sogi 수직 서기

The stance has the heel of the rear foot slightly beyond the heel of the front foot, and therefore has no width.

It is one 1 shoulder width long, measured from the big toes of the rear foot to the big toe of the front foot.

The weight is distributed 60% on the rear foot and 40% on the front foot.

Both feet are turned inwards by 15 degrees

Both legs are straight.

This stance is named for the rear foot, and is always performed half facing.

Close Stance

Moa Sogi 모아 서기 (A,B,C,D)

The stance is performed with both feet together and parallel, and therefore has no length or width.
The weight is distributed evenly on both feet with the legs straight.
The stance is performed either full or side facing

Same: Moa Chunbi Sogi (A,B,C,D)

Diagonal Stance

Sasun Sogi 대각선 서기

The stance is 1.5 shoulder widths wide, measured from the balls of the feet.

The feet are parallel with the heel of the front foot even with the toes of the rear foot.

The weight is distributed evenly on both feet with the knees bent over the balls of the feet.

The hips are pulled back.

This stance is named for the more advanced foot and is performed full or side facing.

One Leg Stance

Waebal Sogi 외발 서기

This stance is performed standing on one leg and therefore has no length or width.

The weight is all distributed on the stationary leg, which is straight with either the reverse footsword of the non-supporting foot (flat and parallel to the floor with the toes pulled back) placed on the side of the knee joint of the supporting leg, or with the instep of the non-supporting foot placed in the hollow at the rear of the knee of the supporting leg.

This stance is named for the stationary leg and is performed full or side facing.