In Iron Mantis Martial Arts, the fighting stance is called Hou Shi (monkey position).
Its emphasis is on mobility and security.
Proper execution of this position will determine the effectiveness of your defense, offense and mobility. It can move you to a position of advantage.
Distance, timing and rhythm are manipulated by your footwork. Footwork should always to rooted yet alive, fluid and mobile. Like my wrestling coach says, “light as a tank.”
The weight distribution is 50/50 to allow the quickest movements forward, back and to the sides.
The knees are bent to lower the center of gravity and make you a smaller target. The front foot is flat on the ground and is turned in 45 degrees, the knee over the toes.
This causes the leg to be turned at an angle to prevent the enemy from attacking the knee. The knees are over the toes to ensure the weight is over the foot, creating a strong foundation. The foot is turned in so the bend of the knee protects the groin from a straight-on attack.
Turning in 45 degrees is a compromise between protection of the groin and forward mobility. The rear leg points directly at the enemy and is off-set a few inches from the centerline. This allows stability as well as access to the enemy without having to move the front leg out of the way. The knee is bent and the weight is on the ball of the foot for better forward mobility.
The body is bladed about 30 degrees; this allows you to use both arms with effectiveness for offense and defense.
If you are too squared up, it makes the body a larger target and positions the arms in a location that makes zone defense difficult. When your body is squared to the opponent, you expose your centerline. There are many major targets on the centerline such as the eyes, nose, throat, solar plexus and groin. Controlling the centerline also allows you to control the balance, position and leverage of your opponent and their ability to attack you.
If you are too bladed, it makes your back almost impossible to defend. Being overly bladed also places your rear hand back so far that it makes it difficult to use, offensively. The hands are both held up at shoulder height and width, elbows are dropped. The hands are up with the lead hand as high as the head and the rear hand around your cheek with your elbow protecting your liver.
Keep the head straight to maintain the field of vision and proper perspective.
The shoulders are over the hips to maintain balance and mobility. The body must remain relaxed. It’s important that the stance does not break down once footwork is added.
Always maintain your balance with a solid stance when blocking, evading, and striking. With a strong stance it’s harder for your opponent to take you down. With strong footwork it’s hard for your opponent to strike you.
Hit but do not get hit, throw but do not get thrown.
Thanks to my brother Master Tony Puyot for his teachings on the fight stance.
Train hard, train smart and finish healthy.