Fighting Stance

Hands Guard Position

With my shoulders facing my opponent, I keep my lead foot pointing forward and my rear foot angled to my right. My hands are up to protect my face, my elbows are tucked to my sides to protect my ribs, and my knees are slightly bent.

standard stance

With my shoulders facing my opponent, I keep my lead foot pointing forward and my rear foot angled to my right. My hands are up to protect my face, my elbows are tucked to my sides to protect my ribs, and my knees are slightly bent.

This is the stance that I will usually assume when striking with an opponent. It is important to notice that although my hips are angled away from my opponent, making it difficult for him to shoot in for a double-leg takedown, my shoulders are facing forward. This allows me to better defend against takedowns and throw quicker punches. While in this stance, I remain relaxed and balanced, throwing strikes whenever I see an opening. I am also prepared on a moment's notice to drop into a crouched stance to defend against a takedown or shoot in on my opponent. It is important to mention that even though I am laying out two distinct stances (standard and crouched), your level will most likely rise and fall regularly due to the erratic nature of battle. For this reason, it is important to learn how to maneuver and acquire balance no matter what position you end up in. For example, when slipping a punch you won't always have time to step to the side. Sometimes you'll only have time to move your head out of the way. If you can't find your balance in this new and sometimes awkward position, it will be very difficult to launch an effective counter-attack.

crouched stance

I'll assume a crouched stance when preparing to shoot in on my opponent for a takedown, defend against a takedown attempt by sprawling, or evade a strike such as a hook. Sometimes I will also drop into a crouched stance to trick my opponent into thinking that I'm going to shoot in for a takedown. When he sees my level go down, he will usually drop his level (and sometimes his hands) to sprawl. Instead of shooting in from the crouched stance, I'll immediately pop back up into the standard stance and unleash with more strikes, catching him off guard. You can even unload with strikes from the crouched stance. Although this might take some time to get used to, mastering striking from all levels is a great way to increase your versatility.

To drop your level all you have to do is relax your legs and let gravity bring you down. One common mistake people make is that they bend forward rather than crouch down. This will not only hinder your maneuverability, but it is also a good way to get your head kicked off. You want to maintain tight posture, but not so tight that it hinders your movement. Keeping your balance and utilizing proper form will allow you to explode in any direction or come right back up to the standard stance with ease.

Standard Stance
I achieve the crouched stance by dropping my hips and squatting straight down. My legs are now bent at a forty-five degree angle, and my head is aligned over my lead knee. I keep my hands up by my face, my chin tucked, and my shoulders slightly shrugged to protect my jaw.

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