The Back Stance Mistake that Ruins Karate!

Karate Back Stance!

The big karate back stance mistake is that nobody uses it. This means that they don’t understand it, and this is one reason why Karate takes a back seat to other arts.

I was at a tournament a few years back, and one of my students was pointing the shotokan stylist he was fighting. He kept hitting him and hitting him, and the refs wouldn’t call the point. Why? Because he was in a back stance.

taekwondo back stanceCommon opinion is that you don’t have power if you don’t shift into a front stance and drive the weight forward. Common opinion is that the back stance lacks power. Common opinion is wrong.

In the Kang Duk Won we trained extensively in the back stance when sparring, and the reason was that it worked. And, when my student used it against a shotokan ‘must hit out of the front stance’ fellow, it still worked.

And my student could break a brick with a punch out of the back stance, but he was polite enouhg not to break a few ribs.

And, you can move forward, shuffle, if you want to commit more weight to the technique. Though you normally don’t have to because if he is close enough to hit you, you are close enough to hit him.

And, on top of all that, the fellow in the back stance can move away easier, and he has a ready and efficient front kick just rarin’ to go.

So why do so many people insist on the front stance when punching?

Because basic training methods instill it. Because they don’t understand how to sink the weight in the back stance and create power. Because the smaller bodies of the Japanese needed to throw the weight into the front stance to generate enough power. Because…because of a dozen other reasons.

And, here is something interesting, if you examine such arts as Bak Mei, which is likely one of the big influences behind Pan Gai Noon, which is the art behind Uechi Ryu and, again, a major influence on Karate…they work out of a back stance.

Go on, find one of the basic Bak Mei forms. You’ll see some very interesting back stance work.

Of course, to start using the back stance as a fighting standard would require some retooling of the current methods, and a lot of things that have been lost over the years would have to be regained, but it is all possible. Just requires an open mind willing to look at the potentials.

At any rate, check out the Matrix Karate course at, it’s got a lot of stuff, including the house forms, on the karate back stance.

karate back stance

4 thoughts on “The Back Stance Mistake that Ruins Karate!

  1. LewisM

    You know? as i read this, i look at my workouts, and understand some of the mechanics of my motion. Because I kept “correcting” my stance. Trying to “not make the mistake”. Obviously something was NOT wrong, because the Form worked… and now you told me WHY. Thank you Sensei.

  2. LewisM

    I just realized something, after re-reading the article. Al, I have seen the back-stance shown in fighting scenarios in movies… and it always looks VERY powerful and effective. Seeing the style, society teaches the attacker to consider the ARTist weak… and to attack! Interesting… …

  3. wavewarriorjournal

    Al – I have always found it to br interesting that the Brazilian Kyokushinkai and K-1 superstar of the late 90’s, Francisco Filho, not only always fought out of a “back stance” (which made him virtually unhittable by smaller opponents), but he used it throughout “both” of his successfull “100 – Man Kumite” trials ( one in Japan, and one in Brazil )! You can see a number of his Kyokushinkai title fights and exerpts of his 100 man Kumite trial on YOUTUBE. He finally got whipped soundly by a huge boxer who had boxing footwork and punching strategy that flummoxed, baffled, and overpowered him in a K-1 Final title match (I think it was his match with Ray Sefo). Not one Kyokushinkai stylist I have discussed his career with has noticed how important the “back stance” was to his success in competition.

    1. aganzul Post author

      Good points, interesting tale. I have always wondered how somebody could hope to survive the 100 man kumite by going into the front stance constantly. I would think the motion, the constant moving of mass, would exhaust. Take care and thanks. Al


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