ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Assume a Horse Stance in Karate

Updated on August 15, 2014
Horse Stance
Horse Stance | Source

by Christopher Peruzzi

Let’s talk about fundamentals.

If you decide that you want to follow the path of a martial artist and learn the art of karate, you’ll have to learn a whole lot of things that don’t seem to make sense at first. Eventually though, some of the exercises reveal themselves. Those of us who have seen the original Karate Kid with Ralph Macchio and the late Pat Morita thought that it was Mr. Miyagi’s plan to get Daniel Larusso to build him a new extension to his house. It wasn’t until later that “sand the floors” and “wax on, wax off” made sense.

This brings us to the horse stance in karate and kung fu. To this day, I still don’t see a practical reason to assume the horse stance in combat. It does not provide mobility or real maneuverability. Yet it is a staple to every version of karate out there.


Well, there is value. It’s just very well hidden. The horse stance, which is one of the first positions a student learns in any school, requires balance, coordination, and discipline to execute properly. If done properly and if done long enough, it will strengthen your legs, ankles, knees, and hips. It will also give your blows a modicum of power from the stable stance you are assuming.

My experience has been that it’s a great exercise and is used in many katas (a dance-like performance that uses various kicks, blocks, counters, and punches that tells a story). When doing a kata that involves a horse stance, form is crucial.

Here’s how to do a basic horse stance.

Steps to Execute a Horse Stance

The best thing to do initially is to imagine yourself riding a horse. Picture a saddle between your legs and that you have your legs bowed around the horse’s mid section. That’s essentially what you’re doing.

No, I’m not kidding.

Here’s how you start.

  1. Spread your legs approximately a little greater than shoulder width apart.
  2. Point your toes approximately forty-five degrees out – meaning your left foot should be at 10 o’clock and your right foot should be at two o’clock. There is some debate as to what direction the feet should be facing. Some styles say that your feet should be pointing straight ahead. Either method will accomplish the intended goal.
  3. Bend your knees so that your glutes are almost in a sitting position (without a chair or horse), while your back remains upright. Ideally, if you are wearing a gi (karate uniform) with an obi (belt), the knot of your obi should be balanced in the middle. That is where your weight should be. You should feel the stress on your thighs and hamstrings.

Now, stay in this position for a million jillion years. No, it’s not fun.

Final Words

As I said, this is an exercise and it is done in kata. It will help you in your leg strength, discipline, and balance. It is not something that is regularly used in kumite (sparring, fighting).

I recommend to any new student of the martial arts to get used to this position. It will help you in the long run. Really, it will. It can also be used as a good meditative device if you can do it and breathe regularly.

As I said (and will say to most white belts that begin this road), “There are a lot of things we do in this class that won’t make any sense at this point. But, trust me; you’ll get it soon enough in time.” This stance is one of them. You’ll be able to execute all of your basic movements from this stance. It requires balance, strength, and form to do something that requires balance, strength, and form.

Before you run, you must walk. Before you walk, you must crawl. Before you crawl, you must fall. Everything good needs a foundation… and that’s what you’re building.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • cperuzzi profile imageAUTHOR

      Christopher Peruzzi 

      5 years ago from Freehold, NJ

      It's been a while since I read this article. It still holds firm - although after talking to a former comrade regarding the practicality of this in kumite (sparring and real fighting), he argues that it's perfect for fighting in rooms with low ceilings.

      Should I find myself fighting for my life in an unfurnished basement that is less than six feet high, I'll certainly keep that in mind.

      The horse stance for me will forever be a staple for any serious martial arts student to help build strength, endurance, and discipline. There's a lot of power to be found in it and I recommend it highly as part of any class regimen.

    • Michael Smathers profile image

      Michael Smathers 

      7 years ago from LaGrange, GA

      Not so awesome if the penny drops^^;; Then you get to do 10 knuckle pushups. Those aren't fun.

    • cperuzzi profile imageAUTHOR

      Christopher Peruzzi 

      7 years ago from Freehold, NJ

      A penny? Awesome!!!

    • Michael Smathers profile image

      Michael Smathers 

      7 years ago from LaGrange, GA

      Good overview of it. There's an exercise we used to do called the penny drill. Basic gist: assume kibadachi (horse stance) and place a penny on each knee, then practice alternating straigh punches. The object is to keep your legs still and stable so the pennies don't fall off.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)