Heisoku-dachi (Closed-foot stance)

Feet together, parallel with toes pointing forward.


Musubi-dachi (Open-foot stance)
Chokuritsu-fudo-dachi (Formal attention stance)

Heels together with toes pointing outward forming a 60° angle.


Heiko-dachi (Parallel stance)

Feet shoulder width apart, parallel with toes pointing forward.
This is a Goju-ryu stance.

Soto Hachiji-dachi

Soto Hachiji-dachi (Open natural stance)

Feet shoulder width apart with toes pointed out at a 45° angle.


Shizentai-dachi (Natural walking stance)

Heels about one fist (or foot) width apart. Step forward a natural distance, about one foot length + one fist width. Turn back foot outward so the toes point out at a 45° angle.


Nekoashi-dachi (Cat stance)

With back foot pointing straight ahead, put front heel touching back toes. You may move front heel forward and sideways up to one fist width. Turn back foot outward so the toes point out at a 45° angle. Shift all weight onto back leg and lift the heel of front foot leaving the ball of foot on the floor. Lower hips until front knee is directly over the front toes and back knee is directly over back toes.

Shiko-dachi, Jigotai-dachi

Shiko-dachi, Jigotai-dachi (Wide open-leg stance)

Shiko-dachi Video

Point toes outward at a 45° angle. Lower hips until knees are directly over toes. In Matsubayashi-ryu the thighs slope at about 45° rather than 90° in Goju-ryu in which they would be parallel to the ground.

The proper distance between the feet is determined by kneeling on one knee with that foot’s heel pointing straight up. Place the other foot one fist distance in front of the knee. Stand up without letting feet change positions by simply rotating both feet on the balls of the feet until they point outward at about 45°.

Naihanchi Dachi

Naihanchi-dachi (Straddle-leg stance)

Same as Shiko-dachi, only feet parallel, pointing forward.

Naname Zenkutsu-dachi

Naname Zenkutsu-dachi (Slanted front-leg-bent stance)

From a Shiko-dachi, straighten one leg and turn that foot parallel to the other foot.


Zenkutsu-dachi (Front-leg-bent stance)

Zenkutsu-dachi Video

Straighten the rear leg and bend the front leg until the knee is directly over the toes. Outer edge of front foot points straight ahead. Turn the rear foot outward to form a 45° angle and turn the hips forward. Distance is measured the same way as Shiko-dachi.

Kokutsu-dachi (Back-leg-bent stance)

Formed the same way as Zenkutsu-dachi, except that the back leg is bent and the front leg is straight.


Kosa-dachi (Cross-leg stance)

Balance on one leg. Bend the leg and turn the foot to a 45° angle. Cross the other leg behind the balancing leg and press the knees together. Place the ball of the foot on the floor in line behind the balancing foot’s heel.


Ippon-ashi-dachi (One leg stance)

This one-leg stance can be used to block kicks. Ippon-ashi-dachi is formed by balancing on one leg. Turn the balancing foot outward about 45°. Raise the other leg off the floor. Keeping the thigh and foot of the raised leg parellel to the floor and the other foot.


Iaigoshi-dachi (Kneeling stance)

This kneeling stance is typically used to strike an opponent that is lying down. It is formed by kneeling on one knee with the toes of that foot on the floor. The other foot is about a fist width in front of and to the side of the knee on the floor. The upright knee is directly over the toes of the front foot.

Kihon (Basics)