Why do we practise endless stance work? The different stances gives us the ability to move our weight from one leg to the other without falling over, essential not just for fighting but also for everyday living! . If the roots of a tree are rotten it is easy to topple over, but if they are strong and healthy it is a different matter. Below are 5 common stances used in Chinese Martial Arts;

  • Ma or horse, weight normally 50/50
  • Gongbu or bow & arrow/front, weight normally 60/40
  • Xu or empty/cat ,weight normally 90/10
  • Duli or crane/one leg, weight always 100% on one leg.
  • Pubu or slanted, weight normally 70/30





If stances are the foundation then step work is what gives you agility. Step work allows you to retreat and advance quickly. To dodge to the side, to bob and weave without losing your balance. You can cross, slide, hop, jump, shuffle etc in all points of the compass (which in itself is simply a circle intersected with straight lines).



If stances are the foundation and step work is about agility then the 'Art of Kicking' is all about balance. Balance?? Yes balance, after you unleash a kick unless you have kept your balance you generally fall over. Why, because you have put too much weight on your kicking leg!!

  • Basic kicks = knees,front, side, back, hook, axe, stamp, cresent and sweep/roundhouse (etc).
  • Basic heights = ground, kneeling/squatting, standing upright, one foot of the ground and feet completely of the ground.
  • Fancy stuff = jumping, spinning, flying, cartwheeling and handstands (etc).




Hand postures are fairly simple; open hand, claw, hook and fist if you break it down (in Tai Chi Chuan they are more hidden).

  • Zhang = palm, open hand
  • Zhao = claw, open hand that resembles an eagle's talon or a tiger's claw
  • Gou = hook, arm of a praying mantis
  • Quan = fist, closed hand sometimes with knuckles protruding.



Forms / routines / drills are an approach used in martial arts to teach individuals and groups of people techniques not just for fighting, but for meditation, body building, breathing, confidence, callisthenics e.t.c. Bear in mind names often change from one generation to another,so yesterday's drill is today's routine and tomorrow's form!


People can do the same form, yet it will look different depending what level of understanding they have, if you train a form for stretching it will look different to someone doing the same form for fighting. The same form will also look different depending on your age, injuries and even if you are male/female. (don't believe me, go on the internet).
Some forms allow you to train both sides of your body, some are only right or left hand orientated, (scissors for left handed users are different to the ones used by right handed) and some tell a story, hence the phrase 'Shadow Boxing'.



  • Kicking or striking with the leg / foot
  • Strikes with the hand / forearm / arm
  • Takedowns
  • Seize / hold / lock



Contact details for Alan;


Mobile tel:

+44 (0) 7947 009 888

Voice or text messages



TaiChi classes:

Mondays 7pm

Fridays 6pm

For Adults (over 18yrs) beginners & long time students

Usually no classes on UK Bank Holidays




St Hilda's Church

(Entrance is on Brockley rd, facing the bus stop, access via buzzer on wall)

Brockley Rd (Courtrai Rd)

Crofton Park

London SE23 1PL


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