The foundation of every fighter's stand-up game is his stance. It's good to find a stance that fits your style, but it must be conducive to both the striking and grappling aspects of the sport. If you can throw excellent strikes from your stance but have a difficult time dropping your level to shoot in or sprawl, you have a serious weakness. If your stance is well suited for shooting and sprawling but not for striking, you also have a serious weakness. It's fine to tailor your stance to make the most of your strengths, but you can't leave any holes as a result. In MMA, it is imperative that you cover all bases.

As you work to develop your stance, it is important to keep a few requirements in mind. The most important of these requirements is that you keep your hands up at all times. It doesn't matter if you grossly outclass your opponent in the striking department; the moment you drop your hands, you give your opponent a puncher's chance. To protect your face when throwing a punch, you want to keep your opposite hand up, tuck your chin, and shrug your shoulders slightly to guard your jaw.

Maintaining balance is also crucial. If your feet are spread too far apart or too close together, your opponent will be able to topple your base. And when your base gets toppled, you're pretty much a fish out of water. The general rule of thumb is to keep your feet spread roughly a shoulder's width apart. This holds true even as you move about the cage. If you want to move to the left, step with your left foot and then follow with your right. If you want to move to your right, step with your right foot and follow with your left. You never want to cross your feet or get too spread out.

However, due to the erratic nature of combat, you won't always be able to maintain a perfect stance. No matter what position you should be forced into, it is important to always be balanced because that balance is what allows you to attack and defend. If you only feel comfortable and have balance when in your traditional stance, every time you are pushed or knocked out of that stance, your entire offense and defense goes straight out the window. Acquiring balance and mobility doesn't always come easy, but it is worth your time and attention. A dangerous MMA fighter is one who can attack and defend from any position.

Key Concepts For Stance

^Keep your feet roughly a shoulder's width apart. ^Never cross your feet. ^Knees slightly bent. ^Hands up. * Shoulders shrugged. ^Chin Tucked.

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